The Robinson J63 (GCR Class 5) 0-6-0ST Locomotives

J63 No. 5061 with condensing gear, at Immingham

The Great Central Railway's (GCR) Class 5A (LNER J63) locomotives were built as a replacement for the Class 4 Manning Wardle (LNER J61) dock shunters. Robinson based the Class 5A design on Pollitt's earlier Class 5 (LNER J62) design but replaced the saddle tanks with side tanks. The original J62 frames, cylinders, wheels, and motion were kept, but the cab and running plate were wider. The water capacity was increased from 600 to 950 gallons. Six J63s were built in 1906 and were followed by a seventh locomotive in 1914.

The first two locomotives (Nos. 60/1) were intended for use as station pilots at Liverpool, so they were fitted with condensing gear. During LNER ownership, the two condensing engines were unofficially classified as J63/2 whilst the non-condensing engines were J63/1.

Warning bells were fitted when operating in dockyards. No. 60 was fitted with a Robinson-type chimney, whilst a shorter chimney was fitted to the other members of the class. No. 60 later received a short chimney.

On construction, the two condensing locomotives (Nos. 60/1) were allocated to Brunswick and Walton sheds, in the Liverpool area. By Grouping (1923), these had been replaced by Nos. 157 and 538 which suggests that the condensing gear had already fallen out of use. The remainder of the class were allocated to the Immingham area, and would remain there for most of their existence. During the 1930s, a number of short-term allocations to St. Margaret's, Bidston, Wrexham, Chester, and Frodingham occurred. Nos. 5061 and 5157 were loaned to the Mersey Docks & Harbour Board during World War 2.

All seven locomotives survived into British Railways ownership (1948). In 1951, No. 68209 was transferred to Wrexham where it was withdrawn in 1955. The other six J63s continued to be allocated to Immingham. With the arrival of diesel shunters, withdrawals began in 1953 and were completed by 1957.

Technical Details

The following details are for the non-condensing J63s. The J63s fitted with condensing gear weighed 37t 19cwt, and had a maximum axle load of 13t.

Cylinders (x2): (outside) 13x20in.
Motion: Stephenson
Valves: Slide
Boiler: Diameter (max): 3ft 6.94in
Length: 9ft 3in
Boiler Pressure: 150psi
Diagram No: 24
Heating Surface: Total: 590 sq.ft.
Firebox: 60 sq.ft.
Tubes: 530 sq.ft. (124x 1.75in dia.)
Grate Area: 11.43 sq.ft.
Wheels: 3ft 6in
Total Wheelbase: 12ft
Tractive Effort: (at 85%) 10,260 lb
Length: 26ft 11.5in
Weight: 37t 9cwt
Max. Axle Load: 13t 4cwt
Water Capacity: 950 gallons
Coal Capacity: 1t 10cwt


None of the J63s survived into preservation.


GP Models (Garth Patrick) have sold a kit of the J63 for O gauge (7mm scale) - current availability is unknown.

Judith Edge sell a 4mm scale kit of the J63.

In the past, Minitrix have produced a kit of the J63 for N Gauge. The kit was then sold to a different company (possibly ABS/Beaver or Highfield), and ceased production in the early 1990s.