The T.W. Worsdell J78 (NER Class H1) 0-6-0 Crane Tanks

Crane tank J78 NER No. 995, works photograph (M.Peirson)

These two crane engines were built by the North Eastern Railway (NER) in 1888 for use at their Gateshead Works. Based on the existing Y7 0-4-0T design, the J78s had their rear ends modified to take an extra coupled axle. This axle provided increased stability for the 3 ton steam crane which was fitted at the rear. Both the boiler and the entire front section of the locomotive was identical to that of a Y7.

Both J78s were built with low weatherboards, but these had been replaced with half-cabs before Grouping (1923). Another pre-Grouping change, was the lengthening of No. 590's jib from a working radius of 10ft 6in to 12ft. This resulted in a corresponding reduction in working capacity by 50cwt. Both engines had their safe working capacities clearly marked on their crane arms.

Both J78s were built for use at Gateshead Works, and No. 995 served most of its NER and LNER days at Gateshead. By 1907, No. 590 was working at West Hartlepool, where it would stay until 1920. Between 1920 and 1924, No. 590 was seen at a number of locations including Darlington Works, Percy Main Works, and Springhead Works. Its final allocation was to York North Shed to act as the shed pilot. A shed pilot did not require a crane, and by this point in time the LNER rarely used the cranes on either of the J78s.

Crane tank J78 NER No. 995 (M.Peirson)

Both J78s were loaned to the Admiralty for 3 months in 1918. During this time, they saw service at Immingham Docks.

In August 1926, both J78s were transferred from Service Stock to Running Stock. In 1933, No. 995 was sold to Hartley Main Colliery who renumbered it as No. 26. It survived until 1943 when it was withdrawn and scrapped. No. 590 survived in LNER ownership until 1937 when it was withdrawn and scrapped.

Technical Details

The following details are for No. 590. No. 995 had 14in diameter cylinders and a tractive effort of 11,041lb.

Cylinders (x2): (inside) 13x20in.
Motion: Joy
Valves: Slide
Boiler: Diameter (max): 3ft 8in
Length: 6ft 8.5in
Boiler Pressure: 140psi
Diagram No: 74
Heating Surface: Total: 505 sq.ft.
Firebox: 57 sq.ft.
Tubes: 448 sq.ft. (139x 1.75in dia.)
Grate Area: 11.3 sq.ft.
Wheels: 3ft 6.25in
Total Wheelbase: 10ft
Tractive Effort: (at 85%) 9,520 lb
Length: 23ft 5.25in
Weight: 26t 11cwt
Max. Axle Load: 10t 15cwt
Water Capacity: 500 gallons
Coal Capacity: 6.25cwt


Neither of the J78s survived into preservation.


Furness Railway Company have announced a 7mm scale (O gauge) kit of the J78.


Thank you to Malcolm Peirson for the photographs of NER Nos. 590 & 995.