To coincide with our announcement of the wonderful Stirling Single No.1, we couldn’t think of a better time to reveal another much-needed Northern nicety. The LNER J52/2 0-6-0. This neat little shunter was seen the length and breadth of the GNR network, from North London to the Northeast of England.
These started life on the GNR, where they were classified as J13 and based on the Stirling-designed J14 (which featured a domeless boiler). Of course, you can’t trust domeless engines, so Henry Ivatt refined this design with a more efficient and domed boiler variant. They would be fitted with a boiler the same length as the one on the J14, but had an increased diameter. The first J13s rolled off the factory floor in 1897 to work alongside their domeless counterparts on shunting duties.
Between then and 1909, a total of 85 of the class were produced, some at the GNR’s works at Doncaster, and others at a variety of contractors, such as R. Stephenson & Co. The updated design proved effective and as locos moved into LNER ownership many of the J14s were rebuilt as J13s.
Under the LNER the J13s that were domed from the day they were built were reclassified as the J52/2. The class became a common sight in North London, covering the North London Line, Kings Cross, and numerous marshalling yards up and down the country.
Plans were put into motion to scrap the J52s in the mid-1930s, however this cull ceased when the war broke out in 1939, as any functional locomotive was pressed into service. With the introduction of numerous diesel shunters under the modernisation plan, the withdrawal of the J52s sadly continued.
In 1959 and only a couple of years before the entire class were scrapped, Captain Bill Smith stepped in and saved loco No. 68846 from its inevitable fate. He became the owner of the World’s very first privately owned BR steam locomotive, and the J52/2 earned itself a permanent place in the annals of railway preservation history. The aptly and affectionately named Old Lady would live on. Once in his possession, she was repainted into her beautiful pre-grouping guise and renumbered to the iconic 1247.
The J52/2 model has been designed using works drawings to ensure its accuracy and features a variety of liveries covering the loco’s history, such as the bold pre-grouping colours of the GNR, through the various black liveries it sported in its later years and even the 1960s take on GNR livery – perfect for modelling the railtours hauled by 1247. Modellers can look forward to a smooth-running mechanism, a factory-installed speaker, and a warming firebox glow.
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