The Robinson Class B9 (GCR Class 8G) 4-6-0s

Robinson Class B9 GCR No. 1113, works photo (M.Peirson)

Robinson's Class 8G (LNER B9) was based on that of his Class 8F (LNER B4), but with driving wheels that were 1ft 3in smaller. Construction of the ten B9s was started by Beyer Peacock & Co as soon as they finished constructing the ten B4s.

The B9 boiler was a 5ft diameter boiler like that used in the B1s and B4s, but with a shorter firebox like that fitted to the B5s.

Between Grouping (1923) and 1929, all ten B9s had superheated boilers fitted. These were to the LNER Diagram 17, as used on the Q4 0-8-0 locomotives. Gresley anti-vacuum valves were fitted at the same time as superheating. The saturated engines were classified as B9/1, whilst the superheated engines were B9/2. Although the classification of B9/1 became extinct in 1929, the B9/2s were not reclassified as B9 until 1937.

When No. 6109 was superheated in 1924, it was fitted with 21in diameter cylinders and piston valves. This resulted in a considerable improvement in performance, but no further locomotives were fitted. The absence of any further rebuilds is thought to have been due to their high cost, and the fact that the J11 0-6-0s were equally as good at the duties which the B9s were performing. Narrow ring piston valves were fitted to No. 6109 in May 1936.

Before Grouping, the B9s were allocated to Gorton and Lincoln. The Gorton locomotives worked the main goods duties from Manchester to Marylebone, Hull, and Grimsby; whilst the Lincoln locomotives hauled fast goods services to Manchester. By 1926, the Lincoln engines had moved to Gorton, and in 1927 four moved to Trafford Park. The B9s were principally used on goods trains throughout their lives, although they were sometimes used on stopping passenger services and race specials to Aintree and Haydock Park. After the end of World War Two, they were concentrated in the Liverpool/Manchester area, with allocations to Stockport, Trafford Park, and Liverpool. Mainly used for freight, emergencies occasionally called for them to be used to haul passenger trains between Liverpool and Manchester.

No. 6111 was officially withdrawn in 1939, but was promptly reinstated with the outbreak of World War Two. Withdrawals restarted in 1947, and the last locomotive to be withdrawn was No. 61475 (LNER no. 6111) in May 1949.

Technical Details

The boiler details are for the B9s when they entered LNER ownership in 1923.

Cylinders: (2x outside) 19x26in.
Motion: Gear: Stephenson
Valves: Slide
Boiler: Max. Diameter: 5ft
Pressure: 180psi
Heating Surface: Total: 1951 sq.ft.
Firebox: 133 sq.ft.
Tubes: 1818 sq.ft. (226x 2in dia)
Grate Area: 23.75 sq.ft.
Wheels: Leading: 3ft 6in
Coupled: 5ft 4in
Tender: 4ft 4in
Tractive Effort: (@ 85%) 22,438lb
Wheelbase: Total: 50ft 8in
Engine: 67ft 6in
Tender: 13ft 0in
Weight (full): Total: 115 tons 12cwt
Engine: 67 tons 6cwt
Tender: 48 tons 6cwt
Max. Axle Load: 18 tons


The last B9 was scrapped in 1949, and none of the B9s survived into preservation.


I am not aware of any models of the B9s in any scale.


Thank you to Malcolm Peirson for the works photograph of GCR No. 1113.