John Speller's Web Pages Worsdell Class E1 (LNER J72)

John Speller's Web Pages - North Eastern Railway
Worsdell Class E1 (LNER J72) 0-6-0T North Eastern Horizontal Menu Untitled
Between 1923 and 1939 the Great Western Railway alone of the four post-Grouping companies was constantly upgrading its stock of shunting and branchline locomotives. The Southern continued this policy after World War II and seemed to be under the impression that it was sensible to use a "Pacific" for services where an M7 had been more than adequate. The LMS finally produced a new design with the Class 2MT 2-6-0 and the equivalent 2-6-2 tanks. Edward Thompson on the LNER continued to ignore the problem, and it was only under Arthur Peppercorn that a more sensible attitude began to prevail.

Way back in 1898 Wilson Worsdell produced a batch of ten 0-6-0 tank locomotives of class E1, and another ten followed in 1899. Sir Vincent Raven was sufficiently impressed by the design that he built another twenty in 1914. This was followed by another ten in 1920, and a further 225 were ordered from Armstrong Whitworth & Co., and were delivered in 1922. Following the Grouping the engines became Class J72, and in 1925 Sir Nigel Gresley produced another batch of ten. He intended further locomotives to be built in 1930 and 1931, but the order had to be cancelled owing to the Depression. Edward Thompson had been about to scrap the locomotives, but when Arthur Peppercorn took over he realized that the J72s were the ideal engine for shunting and resolved to make them a standard design for future production. Although it had been intended to start building further J72s in 1946, in the event the locomotives did not materialize until after Nationalization. Fifteen were turned out from Darlington Works in 1949, and further batches of five followed in 1950 and eight in 1951. By this time the locomotives had been under production on and off for a period of fifty-three years.

An interesting experiment was the fitting in May 1939 of a"Nu-Way" mechanical stoker to No. 2331. This was doubtless intended to make the locomotive opeerable with a single man on the footplate. The experiment might well have proven successful, but was unfortunately not proceeded with following the outbreak of World War II.

With 4 ft. 11/4 in. driving wheels, two 17 in. x 24 in. cylinders, and a boiler pressure of 140 psi., the locomotive had a maximum tractive effort of 16,760 lb. With an axle weight of only 14 tons 7 cwt., it could go practically anywhere, and was a useful, light and compact locomotive.

One of the British Railways built engines, No. 69023, was purchased for preservation by a Mr. R. Ainsworth, who named it "Joem" in honor of his father Joseph and mother Emma. A video of the locomotive operating on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway may be seen here.

A fine photograph of preserved J-72 No. 69023,"Joem," outside Barrow shed on April 13, 2012. Image copyright Tony Hisgett and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Another of the British Railways built J72s, No. 69007, stands outside Sunderland South Dock Locomotive Depot on June 13, 1954. Image copyright Ben Brooksbank and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
One of the second batch of original Worsdell E1 Class engines, built in 1899 as North Eastern Railway No. 1747. It is shown here running as British Railways No. 68687, outside York station on station pilot duties on April 11, 1960. Image copyright Ben Brooksbank and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Another view of "Joem" running on the Wensleydale Railway on July 6, 2014. Image copyright RuthAS and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
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