In 1895 the London & South Western Railway took up a new locomotive engineer to succeed William Adams, Dugald Drummond. Dugald who was famous at this point for his work on the Caledonian Railway, North British Railway & LBSCR, had no issue from the board of directors in stretching his legs on what he had in mind to build. The LSWR was in sore need of faster & stronger locomotives to replace the Adams designs as trains were getting longer & heavier by the year but also to compete with the LBSCR & SECR with boat trains for Victorians looking for a holiday. Four Years later, he would introduce his most famous design, the T9.
This was a 52 ton 4-4-0 express locomotive with 6ft 7in driving wheels & a top speed exceeding 80 mph & were even recorded as reaching as fast as 90-95. No wonder that these engines quickly became known as “Greyhounds”. By 1901, sixty-six T9s were in service, with 31 of them being built by “Dubs” in Glasgow. The original engines were very prototypical Scottish Victorian 4-4-0s, looking similar to the Caledonian Railway 80 Class that Drummond had designed in 1888. They were put on express passenger services in the South-West of England & Boat Trains from Southampton to Weymouth. They were very well liked by their crews for their reliability, speed & free steaming capabilities.
When Robert Urie became CME in 1912, he started rebuilding the T9s with extended smokeboxes, superheating, stovepipe chimneys & an increased cylinder bore to 19 inches. Eventually all 66 were rebuilt to this design by 1929 & it proved to do nothing but improve their performance. So much in fact, that they were still used on express services exceeding 80 mph in their old age by the 1950s. They maintained their good reputation all the way through Southern Railway & BR ownership, not only for their power & speed but also for their light weight & shorter wheelbase, which made them ideal for North Devon & Cornwall line around Oakhampton & Weybridge.
By 1959 there were still 20 T9s on British Railways books but two years later they had all been withdrawn. One T9 has been preserved by the National Railway Museum. No 120 (BR 30120) was withdrawn from Exmouth Junction shed, Exeter in 1961. In March 1962 it was out shopped from Eastleigh Works following a heavy overhaul & returned to service in LSWR Green working specials, most famously with CR Single 123 to the Bluebell Railway. After a time of moving from shop to shop following withdrawal in 1963, it was overhauled & run on the Mid Hants Railway in the 1980s, however, due to the steep gradients on the Mid Hants, it was moved to the Swanage Railway in 1991 where it has remained doing passenger trains & is currently being overhauled to mainline condition.
10% of the proceeds will be donated to the Swanage Railway Trust