GREAT CENTRAL RAILWAY
Visiting Loco List
Although locomotives of this type are generally know by their LNER classification, J94, the design originated with the Hunslet Engine Company of Leeds in 1937. The J94 locomotives gained their claim to fame when, in 1942, they were chosen as the basis for a standard shunting locomotive for war service. They were adapted by R. A. Riddles to cheapen and speed production. In this guise, they also became known as "Austerities" and a total of 377 were built by several companies. During the war, the demand was for a small powerful shunting locomotive, simple to maintain under adverse circumstances and capable of working over lightly laid track. It was somewhat surprising that the traditional British inside cylinder design was preferred. Possibly, it was considered that outside cylinder locomotives would be heavier and less stable on poor track, while having both motion and connecting rods between the frames would make the locomotives less liable to accidental damage when in transit. The "Austerity" saddle tanks proved themselves to be a very useful design.
After the end of the war the LNER bought 75 of them from the Government in 1946, classified them J94, and numbered them 8006-8080. After Nationalisation, 60,000 was added to give a number series from 68006 to 68080. The majority were allocated to the North Eastern area although there was a batch at Immingham at the former Great Central port. During their working lives on the LNER, they were used for short trip workings as well as their more normal shunting duties. In the late 1950s, a new role was found for a few on the Cromford and High Peak line that ran right across the Derbyshire Moors on fearsome gradients and with extremely sharp curves. Small 0-6-0 outside cylinder side tanks - ex-North London Railway - had handled the traffic for many years. Replacements were urgently needed and firstly three, and then four and finally seven of the saddle tanks were used on the line - a job they kept until the final closure of the line in 1967.
Many more of the ex-War Department locomotives were bought by the National Coal Board and various steel companies so that, in the 1950s, they became by far the most common industrial steam locomotive in use in the United Kingdom. The success of the design led to further construction after the war, both for the War Department and for private customers. Many of those constructed for WD use went straight into military stores at such places as the Longmoor Military Railway. Construction of the type finally ended in 1962.
68009 was built in 1953 as Hunslet works number 3825 for the National Coal Board and was sent to the Kent coalfield. Although the locomotive ran for many years on the Great Central in early British Railways livery, it never was a BR locomotive and therefore the number it carries belongs to a locomotive long since scrapped. However, it was discovered that the boiler now carried was first fitted to the real 68009 and so it was felt appropriate to finish the locomotive in this livery. 68009 operated at Snowdown Colliery near Deal in Kent and it was bought from there on November 10th 1981.
After a comprehensive overall by volunteers and GCR staff, including the fitting of steam heating apparatus for carriage heating, the locomotive entered passenger service on 16th March, 1986 and frequently worked the winter and on the summer mid-week services. One notable duty was to be the first steam engine to work over the Birstall extension on September 7th 1988. It was loaned to Birmingham Railway Museum from April 11th 1990 to January 12th 1993. It lost the BR black livery when it was light green as painted as No. 6 Percy in April 1993, later changed to Percival.
It was loaned to East Lancashire Railway from June 11th to August 9th 1993, and sold to the North Norfolk Railway leaving on November 24th 1993.
48 tons, 4 cwt.
Cylinders - number
Bore x Stroke
18" x 26"
2 tons 5 cwt.
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