J50   68890 – 68991, 10 – 16    0-6-0T   GNR & LNER Gresley

J50-1 and J50-2.jpg



Power Classification 4F
Introduced 1913 – 1939
Designer Gresley
Company GNR and LNER
Weight J50/1 –  56t 6cwt

J50/2 – 57t 0cwt

J50/3 & J50/4 – 58t 3cwt

Driving Wheels 4ft 8ns
Boiler Pressure 175psi
Cylinders Inside – 18½in x 26in
Tractive Effort 23,635lbf
Valve Gear Stephenson (slide valves)

These Gresley designed locomotives became known as Ardsley Tanks. The locomotives introduced in 1913 were designed for working the steeply graded lines in the West riding and were allocated to Ardsley, Bradford and Copley Hill.

They were introduced in 1922 as the GNR J23 class and were designed for freight and shunting duties.

In 1952 thirty locomotives of the class were transferred to Hornsey for working freights trains through to the Southern Region via the Metropolitan Widened lines. This was unusual as the engines were not fitted with condensing apparatus, which was normally required for this line. The width of the footplate was reduced by two inches to make them suitable for these duties.

The J50/1 class consisted of ten J51 engines of 1913-14. These were smaller Gresley GNR locomotives which were rebuilt from 1929 as J50 engines.

The J50/2 was a Gresley design for the GNR. They were built in 1914-24 and also incorporated twenty rebuilt from J51 locomotives between 1915 and 1922.

The J50/3 was a post grouping development of the design. They were introduced in 1926 and had some small detail differences.

The J50/4 locomotives were built at Gorton in 1938-39. They were developed from the J50/3 with larger bunkers.

Number in Service.

Built Withdrawals No. in Service
BR Numbers Quantity
1913 68890   1     1
1914 68891-902 12   13
1915 68903-9   7   20
1919 68910-9 10   30
1922 68920-9 10   40
1924 68930-9 10   50
1926 68940-66     27   77
1927 68967-71 5   82
1930 68972-77 6   88
1938 68978-82 5   93
1939 68983-91 9 102
1940-57 102
1958   3   99
1959 12   87
1960 20   67
1961 36   31
1962 12   19
1963 12     7
1964     7
1965   7     0
  • 68890-68977 were built at Doncaster
  • 68978-68991 were built at Gorton
  • The last seven locomotives in service were employed at Doncaster Works from 1961-62 until withdrawn from service in May 1965.
  • Seven locomotives were transferred to work as departmental shunters at Doncaster Works in 1961-62.
  • 68952-58 spent their life under BR based in Scotland – mostly at Glasgow Eastfield.

New Build

The J50 Group is a group of young enthusiasts which was set up in 2013 with the aim of building a new J50 which they propose to number LNER 8905.

The class of locomotive to build was selected on the basis that it result in a powerful engine that is would be well suited to operating on heritage railways.

8905 was chosen as the locomotive spent much of its working life based at Norwich which is close to where many of the group live.

By 2018 very little progress had been made and the funds raised totalled less than £1,000.

In February 2019 the J50 Group issued the following statement.

“Due to circumstances beyond our control. It is with regret that The J50 Group will be closing. We would like to thank you all for our support and donations. The money raised through our exhibitions will be donated to the New Build LNER P2 2007 Prince of Wales.”

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