British Railway Freight Sectorisation and Branding

Transrail coal train near Cwmbargoed
Transrail Class 37s lead a coal train at Cwmbargoed, off Rhymney Line, June 1997
Photo by Phil Sangwell, via Wikimedia Commons

This article covers the evolution of British railway freight sectorisation: from regional operation to sectorisation and privatisation. Freight sectorisation refers to the sub-brands that British Rail (BR) created in the 1980s and early 90s, when it was reorganised from a regional structure to an operational sector based structure and finally into business sectors. The strategies were used for both marketing purposes and in BR’s subsequent profit centre based privatisation plans.

Sectorisation can be considered across three periods: up to 1987, 1987 to 1994, and 1994 to BR privatisation.

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92203 Black Prince

92203 smokebox
92203’s smokebox

The first post for this blog deserves to be about the locomotive featured in the @theWEBtrain header above.  92203 Black Prince was one of nine class 9F 2-10-0 steam locomotives (out of a total of 251) that were saved from the breakers yard when British Railways (BR) decided to cull all its steam power in the mid-1960s, in favour of diesel and electric traction.

The 9F Class

From 1951, BR built steam locomotives using its own standardised designs (overseen by Robert Riddles) and the BR Standard Class 9F 2-10-0 was the last in the series of the Standard classes.  The class was designed at both Derby and Brighton Works in 1951 for use on fast, long distance heavy freight trains and was one of the most powerful locomotive types to be built in Britain; it was also one of the most successful, with 9Fs often seen hauling passenger services.  The original design proposal was to adapt a boiler to a 2-8-2 wheel arrangement chassis but Riddles instead chose to adopt a 2-10-0 arrangement, because he had successfully used it on some of his previous WD Austerity locomotives.   

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