A project that I've had on the back burner for a few years has finally reached the head of the queue, being a BR 9F 2-10-0 for the Tyne Dock-Consett iron ore traffic. An Alexander Models conversion kit was obtained a couple of years ago with a view to using a Bachmann 9F but, what with the price of these locos and relative scarcity of them at the moment, I opted to use the budget-priced Hornby Railroad version instead. Happily, it makes for a nice follow on project from last month's Railroad Class 31 & 37 upgrades, which feature in the next issue of Model Rail (MR176) that goes on sale this week.

In fact, the Alexander Models kit was designed to fit the Hornby 9F, so the job is that bit easier, helped by the supplied instructions and diagrams. The loco does lack the refinement of Bachmann's more recent product - no brake gear, clunky tender chassis and moulded details - but the upgrade to loco drive makes it a very sweet runner.

The conversion kit is, despite being around for a few decades, is finely crafted. The twin air pumps are especially lovely and, once plumbed-in, it's all starting to look the part. Just need to sort out the tender now, which needs to be of a different pattern to the one supplied with the Hornby model. Luckily, I have a Bachmann BR 1B tender shell in the spares box, which is lucky. Mind you, suitable tender kits can be obtained from a number of sources - see MR177 for more details...

After a summer of full-size central heating repairs, it's nice to face a more straightforward plumbing job in miniature. The full conversion will appear in Model Rail issue 177.


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