251,534 Pages

WD Austerity 2-8-0
WD Austerity 90733 Haworth Loco Yard.jpg
90733 at Haworth, 15 July 2007
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Designer R.A. Riddles
Builder North British Locomotive Company and Vulcan Foundry
Build date 1943
Total produced 935
Configuration 2-8-0
UIC class 1′D h
Gauge ussg
Driver dia. 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Loco weight 70 long tons 5 cwt (157,400 lb or 71.4 t)
Fuel type Coal
Boiler pressure 225 lbf/in2 (1.55 MPa)
Cylinders Two, outside
Cylinder size 19 in × 28 in (482.6 mm × 711.2 mm)
Performance figures
Tractive effort 34,215 lbf (152.20 kN)
Power class 8F

The War Department (WD) "Austerity" 2-8-0 is a type of heavy freight steam locomotive that was introduced in 1943 for war service. A total of 935 were built, making this one of the most-produced classes of British steam locomotive.


The Austerity 2-8-0 was based on the LMS Class 8F, which until that point had been the government's standard design. Various modifications were made to the 8F design by R.A. Riddles including a boiler of simpler construction which was parallel rather than tapered and a round-topped firebox rather than a Belpaire firebox. The firebox was made of steel rather than the rarer and more expensive copper.

The North British Locomotive Company of Glasgow built 545 and the Vulcan Foundry of Newton-le-Willows built 390. North British also built a larger 2-10-0 version.

Most saw service with the British Army in mainland Europe after D-Day.

Post-war disposalEdit

After the end of the conflict, the War Department disposed of 930 locomotives (Two engines being retained by the War Department and three being scrapped).

After the Second World War, 200 were sold to the LNER, who classified them as "Class O7" and numbered them 3000–3199. In 1948, 533 more were purchased by the British Transport Commission. With the creation of British Railways, the 733 locomotives were renumbered into the 90000–90732 series. Only one of these, No. 90732, was named, becoming Vulcan after the Vulcan Foundry where many of the locomotives were built.

In 1946, 12 were exported to the British colony of Hong Kong to work the Kowloon-Canton Railway. Six were scrapped in 1956, but the final two survived until September 1962. The other 184 locomotives remained in mainland Europe, mostly working in and around the Netherlands for Nederlandse Spoorwegen.

Finally, one went to the USATC in an exchange for an USATC S160 Class locomotive in the Postwar exchange of WD and USATC locomotives.

No. of engines Country Company Class Local numbers
733 Great Britain British Railways (BR) BR ex-WD Austerity 2-8-0 90000–90732
184* Netherlands Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) NS Series 4300II 4301–4537 (with gaps)
12 Hong Kong Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR) KCR ex-WD Austerity 2-8-0 21-32
1 United States US Army Transportation Corps
* Of the NS engines, 2 subsequently were sold to Swedish State Railways forming SJ Class G11.

Postwar WD serviceEdit

Two locomotives continued to be held in WD stock, seeing service on the Longmoor Military Railway in Hampshire, along with two of the WD Austerity 2-10-0s and other smaller locomotives. In the WD 1957 renumbering scheme, they were renumbered 400/1. Details were as follows:

WD No. WD 1957 No. Name Builder Works No. Date built Notes
77337400Sir Guy WilliamsNorth British (Queens Park)252051943Name previously on 78672
79250401Major General McMullenVulcan Foundry51931945


One WD 2-8-0 has survived. Vulcan Foundry works No. 5200 was repatriated from Sweden to the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. It was SJ number 1931. It was overhauled to its original condition, finished in 2007, which involved building a new cab and tender, become BR "No. 90733". After test runs, 90733 ran its first passenger train on Monday 23 July 2007.


See alsoEdit

References/Further readingEdit

  • J.W.P. Rowledge Heavy Goods Engines of the War Department Vol. 3 Austerity 2-8-0 and 2-10-0
  • Roger Tourret Allied Military Locomotives of the Second World War

External linksEdit

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.