The Parker J8 (GCR Class 6AI) 0-6-0 Locomotives

J8 GCR No. 559 at Sheffield Victoria

Parker based his design for the Manchester Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway (MS&LR - later GCR) Class 6AI (LNER J8) on Sacre's earlier GCR Class 6A, and the designation of "6AI" officially stood for "6A Improved". This new design was larger but kept the double frame layout, coupled wheels, and wheelbase. Larger cylinders, and a larger boiler operating at a higher pressure, were fitted. The boiler was similar to that fitted to the E2 2-4-0 and D8 4-4-0 locomotives although it was slightly shorter and had more tubes. The J8s were the first GCR locomotives to be fitted with screw reverse. A total of twelve J8s were built in 1887-8, in one batch at Gorton Works.

The GCR fitted "GC Standard No. 1" (LNER Diagram 21) boilers to the J8s between 1909 and 1917. These standard boilers had Belpaire fireboxes, which required the fitting of new spectacle plates to the cab front sheets.

The J8s were initially fitted with 3,000 gallon tenders with an unusual spring arrangement. These tenders had outside springs mounted above the axleboxes below the running plate. Between 1915 and 1917, these tenders had their water capacity reduced to 2,500 gallon. At Grouping (1923), two of the J8s were running with 3,000 gallon tenders taken from withdrawn 2-2-2 locomotives. These became LNER Class J8/2, whilst the locomotives with the 2,500 gallon tenders became LNER J8/1.

When they were initially built, the J8s were used for goods services between Manchester, Retford, and Lincoln. At about the time of Grouping, all twelve J8s were allocated to Staveley and being used for both passenger and freight work. The J8s were noted for being particularly sturdy engines, and they earned their nickname of "Bashers".

Withdrawals of these engines started in 1926, and the last J8 was withdrawn in 1930.

The LNER also included the much smaller single-framed Gorton Works shunter GCR Class 18 '309B'. This engine had no other connection with the GCR Class 6AI engines.

Technical Details

The following details are for the J8/1 locomotives with the 2,500 gallon tenders. After 1923, Nos. 550 & 555 were classified as J8/2 and had Sacre 3,000 gallon tender taken from withdrawn 2-2-2 locomotives. These two engines had the slightly longer total wheelbase of 37ft 5.4in.

Cylinders (x2): (inside) 18x26in.
Motion: Stephenson Slide Valves
Boiler: Max. Diameter: 4ft 4in
Pressure: 160psi
Diagram No.: 21
Heating Surface: Total: 1063 sq.ft.
Firebox: 99 sq.ft.
Tubes: 964 sq.ft. (190x 1.75in)
Grate Area: 18.3 sq.ft.
Wheels: Coupled: 5ft 4in
Tender: 3ft 9.5in
Tractive Effort: (@ 85% boiler pressure) 17,901lb
Wheelbase: Total: 36ft 11.9in
Engine: 12ft 2in
Tender: 12ft 6in
Weight (full): Total: 69 tons 12cwt
Engine: 40 tons 17cwt
Tender: 28 tons 15cwt
Max. Axle Load: 15 tons 4cwt


None of the J8s survived into preservation.


I am not aware of any models of the J8s in any scale.