Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era
1898 0-6-0T Class J72
North Eastern Railway
This remarkable little design stands unique in being constructed over a period of 53 years, under three different stages of railway ownership and five regimes of locomotive superintendent.
The design was that of William Worsdell, whose period of office on the old North Eastern Railway ran from 1890 to 1910. The first twenty engines were built at Darlington in 1898 and 1899, but no more appeared until 1914, by which time Sir Vincent Raven was in charge, when twenty more were built but with very slight modification to the original design. Others followed, ten in 1920 and another 25 in 1922. After the grouping Gresley built another ten at Doncaster in 1925, bringing the total up to 85. This might have been thought to constitute the end of the story, but after Nationalisation, British Railways ordered yet another 28, and these were turned out under the superintendency of Peppercorn, who had succeeded Thompson on the LNER in 1946 and was the first CME of the Eastern and North Eastern Regions of British Railways.
These latest engines were again practically similar in every respect to the original design, and did not even embody such modern practices as the employment of ‘pop’ safety valves, as might have been expected.
The North Eastern and LNER built engines became Nos. 68670-68754 at Nationalisation, and as no provision had been made for further construction the new batch had to be numbered in a special series, and came out as Nos.69001-28.
All remained in service until 1958, when some of the earlier-built engines began to be withdrawn from traffic.
Driving wheels – 4’ 1¼”, Cylinders – 17”x 24”, and 18”x 24”, Pressure – 140 lb., Tractive effort – 16760 lb., and 18790lb., Weight – 38 tons 12 cwt., NER classification – E1, LNER & BR classification – J72, BR power classification – 2F.