James Johnson was the son of S.W. Johnson. He was the locomotive superintendent of the GNSR for only four years, from 1890 to 1894. During this short period, he developed a standard 4-4-0 design (LNER D41) with 6ft 1in coupled wheels. This design was used for the rest of the GNSR's existence. He also designed a successful 0-4-4T which became the LNER G10.