West Somerset Railway
Tim Cowen

Great Western Railway inspired 2-6-0 9351 class (WSR Mogul) No. 9351

Great Western Railway inspired 2-6-0 9351 class (WSR Mogul) No. 9351:

No. 9351 (ex-5193)
Ex-Great Western Railway

Designed by: C. B. Collett

Built: Swindon, October 1934 – converted Minehead, 2004

Class: 9351 class (WSR Mogul)

Wheel arrangement: 2-6-0

Boiler pressure: 200 psi

Owner: WSR PLC

Power Classification: D (GWR), 4MT (BR)

Max WSR load: 8

Region: Western

Total built of class (number survived):

140 (10 – 2 converted)

9351 is one of the 2 conversions

Withdrawn:

June 1962

Current Status: Under Overhaul (Minehead)

 

9351 was converted on the West Somerset Railway from a 2-6-2 tank engine to a 2-6-0 tender engine in DATE and renumbered from 5193 at the same time.

The 5101 tank engines (of which 9351 originates) were designed by Charles Collett and introduced from 1929. They were an updated version of the Churchward 31xx (later 51xx) class, the first of which was built in 1903. There were a few differences between the design of the 5101 class and their 31xx/51xx predecessors. Externally they had curved drop ends, a flanged motion plate and outside steam pipes, while the cab roof was lowered and the bunker enlarged – holding 4 tons more coal. The water capacity of the locomotives remained the same (2,000 gallons) as its predecessors. The 5101 class were fitted with superheated Swindon type 2 boilers, and were placed in power class ‘D’. The heavy maximum axle weight (17 tons, 12 cwt) limited the locomotives to main lines and some heavier branch lines, as a result the class were given Blue Route Classification. The efficient use of power and rapid acceleration with heavy loads made the Large Prairies ideal for suburban and stopping mainline passenger services, such as those out of Paddington and in and around Birmingham. Later with the emergence of new DMUs the majority of the class were moved onto piloting and banking heavy goods and mainline passenger trains up steep gradients, such as through the Severn Tunnel or the Devon banks.

5193 was built in October 1934 at Swindon Works. It was initially allocated to Stourbridge Junction shed where it was used on suburban passenger trains to Birmingham Snow Hill and Wolverhampton Low Level. It stayed here for 18 years with the exception of a brief spell at Oxley shed, Wolverhampton, between July and September 1939. At nationalisation when 5193 transferred from Great Western Railway to British Railway ownership it was still allocated to Stourbridge Junction. However from November 1952 it was transferred down to Cornwall and Truro (where it probably worked the Falmouth branch among other duties) before being moved to St Blazey in August 1953. St Blazey was the shed that provided motive power for Cornish china clay branches and it’s possible 5193 may have worked over the now preserved Bodmin and Wenford Railway. It moved to Laira in November 1954 before ping-ponging between St Blazey and Laira, going back to the former in February 1958 and staying until 5th November 1960 when it returned to the latter. Though there was a month-long allocation to Taunton shed in October 1960 in the middle. It stayed at Laira for roughly a month before transferring to Wales and Neyland shed in early December 1960. It’s unclear whether Neyland was its final shed or not. 5193 was recorded as withdrawn at Severn Tunnel Junction from the end of June 1962. It’s possible 5193 was just visiting on a duty from Neyland and happened to fail there and be deemed beyond repair – and therefore never allocated to Tunnel Junction. Alternatively, there’s a suggestion 5193 might have been transferred to Severn Tunnel Junction at the very start of June 1962 and was just withdrawn very early into its stay. Either way, 5193’s service life of 27 Years, 8 months and 1 day came to an end with withdrawal on 30th June 1962.

5193 was sold to Woodham Brother’s Scrapyard, Barry, where it remained until May 1979 when it was purchased privately.  The WSR plc purchased the lococ in unrestored condition in 1999 and it arrived on the Railway in 1st December that year. At the WSR plc AGM in June 2000 it was announced that it had been decided to convert 5193 into a 2-6-0 mogul tender loco – 9351 – this was designed to resemble a small boilered version of the GWR 4300 Class – this was something it was suggested may have been built by the GWR. So, it’s probably most apt to suggest 9351 (as 5193 is now known) is a ‘GWR inspired, WSR realised design’. This conversion, not without debate across the heritage community, was completed in 2004. Despite the historical apprehensions of some 9351 proved an admirable performer during its first period in traffic on the WSR. 9351 operated as a WSR ambassador on a gala trip to the SVR, in Autumn 2005. It provided 10 years’ service before being withdrawn for overhaul in late 2013. Presently 9351 is still receiving this overhaul, but is expected return to steam in Autumn 2018.