The Ivatt J2 (GNR Class J21) 0-6-0 Locomotives

J26 No. 5018 at Colwick in 1950

Shortly before Ivatt's retirement in 1911 from the Great Northern Railway (GNR), there was an urgent need for further fast freight locomotives to haul fast braked goods trains. Ivatt solved this need by adapting his 1911 J6 goods design. This design used the same superheated boiler, cylinders, and motion; but was fitted with larger 5ft 8in wheels. The design was also similar to the existing J1 locomotives, except for J2's use of piston valves and superheated boilers.

Ten of the new GNR Class J21 (LNER J2) locomotives were built in 1912. This was actually just after Gresley had succeeded Ivatt. Gresley was quick to design and build his first K1 2-6-0 in 1912 for fast freight traffic, and no further J2s were built.

The Diagram 7 boilers were standard with a number of Ivatt's GNR designs, including the D1 4-4-0, D2 4-4-0, J5 0-6-0, J6 0-6-0, N1 0-6-2T, and N2 0-6-2T classes. Most, but not all, of these classes also carried the superheated variant. The superheated Diagram 7 boilers were initially fitted with 18 element Schmidt superheaters. Between 1927 and 1929, all of the J2s had their Schmidt superheaters replaced by LNER-standard Robinson 18 element superheaters. The LNER also replaced the original Ramsbottom safety valves with Ross pop safety valves.

The J2s were never brought within the LNER's composite loading gauge. Their original 1ft 9in chimneys were eventually replaced by ex-J6 chimneys, but these were actually 2.25in taller! These taller chimneys brought the J2s within 0.125in of the GNR's generous loading gauge.

The J2s were initially allocated to Kings Cross (4), New England (4), and York (2); to haul the night braked goods trains between York and Kings Cross. The Kings Cross engines were also used on daytime stopping passenger services to Cambridge. Other early duties included passenger excursions to Skegness, and goods to High Barnet. The J2s were displaced to country duties after the rapid introduction of the larger K1 2-6-0 locomotives. At Grouping (1923), the J2s were allocated to New England (7) and Doncaster (3).

During the 1920s, allocations to New England and Colwick were often used on local passenger services in Lincolnshire and in the Nottingham area. Summer duties included through passenger workings from Leicester, Nottingham, and Leeds; to Skegness and Mablethorpe. J2s were allocated to the West Ridig during the 1920s; and to Boston and Grantham in the 1930s.

No. 3080 was the first J2 to be withdrawn in 1946, leaving the remaining nine engines to enter British Railway (BR) ownership (1948). BR No. 65021 (LNER No. 3077 & 5021) was withdrawn in 1950 and never received its BR number. The remaining eight J2s were quickly withdrawn in 1953-4.

Technical Details

Cylinders (x2): (inside) 19x26in.
Motion: Stephenson
Valves: 8in piston
Boiler: Max. Diameter: 4ft 8in
Pressure: 175psi
Diagram No.: 7
Heating Surface: Total: 1129 sq.ft.
Firebox: 118 sq.ft.
Superheater: 192 sq.ft. (18x 1.25")
Tubes: 562 sq.ft. (118x 1.75in)
Flues: 257 sq.ft. (18x 5.25in)
Grate Area: 19 sq.ft.
Wheels: Coupled: 5ft 8in
Tender: 4ft 2in
Tractive Effort: (@ 85% boiler pressure) 19,945lb
Wheelbase: Total: 39ft 5in
Engine: 16ft 3in
Tender: 13ft 0in
Weight (full): Total: 93 tons 12cwt
Engine: 50 tons 10cwt
Tender: 43 tons 2cwt
Max. Axle Load: 18 tons 0cwt


None of the J2s survived into preservation.


I am not aware of any models of the J2s in any scale.