For enthusiasts and researchers of the Great Eastern Railway

C72 Class 0-6-0T 1912-1923

LNER Class J-68

21-30, 31E-40E, 41-50

7060 08LCGB Ken Nunn 1199/GERSHC 7060/08

When ten new shunting engines were required in 1912 it was reasoned that it would be better to convert the ten oldest passenger R24 class 0-6-0Ts to shunting engines, and to build ten new passenger engines. The current 0-6-0T design was the S56 class, based on the rebuilt R24s (q.v.), twenty of which had been built in 1904. This design was up-dated in outline as the C72 class, differing in having a side window cab with higher arched roof, and the new pattern built-up rimmed chimney. The photograph shows No. 46 as built. 

7049 10GERS Collection 7049/10

By 1913 a further ten shunting engines were needed, but by this time A.J. Hill had taken over as Locomotive Superintendent (the title was changed to Chief Mechanical Engineer in 1915), and designs were being prepared for a new, larger suburban tank engine, which would appear as the L77 class 0-6-2T (q.v.). Thus, these ten shunters were a goods version of the current C72 class and the first GER shunters to have a boiler pressure of 180 lbs. psi. They had the usual fifteen-spoke cast iron wheels, steam brakes, lever reverse and no condensing gear. The photograph shows the first of these ten engines – No. 21. Another ten shunters, to be numbered 31-40 were ordered in 1922, and they appeared following the grouping as LNER numbers 31E to 40E.


7080 184GERS Collection 7080/184

Under the LNER the C72 class were re-classified separately as J-68, even though they were identical to the GER S56 class (q.v.) apart from the cabs and chimneys, whilst the S56 class were included in class J-69 along with the R24Rs (q.v.). Further confusion was caused between 1939 and 1945 when H-68 No. 7047 was fitted with one of the 160 lb. boilers with the shorter firebox and re-classified J-67. Meanwhile, No. 7041 was sold to the War Department in 1940. Under the 1946 renumbering scheme the remaining J-68s became 8638-8666, and then 68638-68666 under British Railways. Before the Grouping No. 47 had lost its condensing equipment, and most of the other passenger engines had their condensers removed in 1936-8, although it was re-fitted to two in 1940. During the LNER period all the passenger engines were dual-fitted with vacuum ejectors, and most of the shunters also received vacuum equipment. This photograph shows 68640 – formerly GER No. 44, a passenger engine – in the BR period, with the full range of LNER period modifications to the cab roof, coal rails, chimney and safety valves. The J-68s were all withdrawn between 1958 and 1961.