For enthusiasts and researchers of the Great Eastern Railway

R24, R24R Classes 0-6-0T

LNER Classes J-67 and J-69

R24/R24R: 1890-1901

160-169, 189-208, 255-274, 327-406


338GERS Collection 7043/05

The R24 class 0-6-0Ts appeared from 1890, being a revision of the T18 class design (q.v.) with the rear of the frames shortened by one foot, the rear wheelbase increased by six inches, and the side tanks moved further forward, no doubt securing a steadier-riding engine for the faster suburban traffic. A total of 140 were built down to 1901, forty of which were for shunting duties, having fifteen-spoke cast iron wheels, hand (later steam) brakes, lever reverse and three-link couplings. The passenger engines had cast steel ten-spoke balanced wheels, Westinghouse brakes, screw reverse and screw couplings. In 1893 the passenger engines that had been built so far were all fitted with condensing gear, as shown in this portrait of No. 338. On these conversions the rectangular condensing chamber was visible on the tank top to the rear of the tank filler. The R24 class underwent extensive alterations over their long lives, and the illustrations presented here illustrate only a selection of the possible detail differences.

7032 43
GERS Collection 7032/43

From 1894 all subsequent passenger R24s were built new with condensers. On these, the plates of the side tanks had a stepped upper edge shape, obscuring the condensing chamber, as demonstrated here by No. 377, built in October 1895. This also shows the coal rails that were fitted to all engines at this time.

7026 100

This photograph shows R24 class shunting engine No. 17 as running c1921, and shows the 15-spoke unbalanced cast iron wheels. This locomotive was one of the original twenty R24 shunters, having been built in January 1891 as No. 413. Nos. 407-416 were renumbered 11-20 in January 1920 to enable the final batch of T26 class 2-4-0s (q.v.) numbered 1250-1259 to take their numbers. As built, the first twenty shunting R24s had hand brakes only, no coal rails, and ten had a 140 lb. psi steel firebox boiler. By the date of the photograph coal rails and steam brakes have been fitted, and it has gained a second-hand 160 lb. conventional boiler.

7026 106GERS Collection 7026/106

With the relentless increase in the suburban traffic, from 1902 James Holden began a programme of widening the 4-wheeled carriages to seat six-a-side in each compartment. To enable the locomotives to cope with the increased weight, at the same time he started a process of rebuilding the passenger R24s with higher-pressure 180 lbs. psi boilers with longer fireboxes, thereby exploiting the longer rear coupled wheelbase of the R24s as compared with the previous T18 class. At the same time, the side tanks were widened ahead of the cab, as demonstrated here by No. 7390 in the early LNER period. The initial rebuilds had their tanks widened by four inches, and the later ones by five inches, increasing their capacity from 1000 gallons to 1140 or 1180 gallons respectively. The original shape of the tank sides was retained, so that it was always possible to distinguish those engines that originally had no condensers from those that were built new with them. A total of 95 of the original 100 passenger engines were thus rebuilt, becoming class R24R.

7018 154GERS Collection 7018/154

In 1912 there was a need for further 0-6-0T shunting engines, and A.J. Hill introduced the C72 class (q.v.) – essentially an up-dated version of the S56 class (q.v.), which were themselves an up-dated version of the rebuilt R24Rs. However, it was decided that it made sense to build the ten new locomotives as passenger engines, and to convert the ten oldest R24s - Nos. 327-336 – to shunters. At the time, eight of these had been rebuilt as R24s, four with 1140 gallon tanks, and four with 1180 gallon tanks. In the rebuilding the condensing gear was removed, although the condensing chambers were retained. Some of the R24Rs were given new 160 lb. boilers, whilst others retained their higher-pressure boilers, but with the safety valves set to the lower pressure. No. 329 is shown as running c1923 – it had been rebuilt as an R24R in 1902 with 4-inch widened tanks, and retained its 180 lb. boiler with the safety valves re-set to 160 lbs. psi. when it was converted to its new role in 1912.

7026 096GERS Collection 7026/096

R24 No. 7400 was one of the original R24 shunters, and is seen here in later LNER condition with a cast rimmed chimney and ‘pop’ safety valves, additional coal rails, but has yet to receive a raised steel cab roof. Under the LNER the 160 lb. engines were classified J-67, and the 180 lb. rebuilds became class J-69. However, they succeeded in confusing generations of railwaymen and enthusiasts alike in that the S56 class (q.v.) were also included in class J-69, notwithstanding the fact that – chimneys and cabs apart – they were otherwise identical to the later C72 class (q.v.), which were separately classified as J-68. From the late 1920s there were many instances of 160 lb engines being fitted with 180 lb. boilers, and vice versa, being re-classified J-69 or J-67 as appropriate. Just to muddy the waters further, one of the J-68s ran through the Second World War with a 160 lb. boiler, and was re-classified as a J-67 for the duration!


In the 1920s the LNER built many more of A.J. Hill’s 0-6-2 tanks for the GE suburban work as class N-7. Most of the displaced J-67s and J-69s were then converted for shunting work. Some were dual-fitted, but were given lever reversers for carriage shunting, whilst others were converted as goods shunters, some acquiring vacuum ejectors in addition to steam brakes and lever reverse. This is No. 7355 as running in the 1930s: It had been dual-fitted in July 1924, and lost its condenser around 1930. This was one of the engines that retained its screw reverse, and by the date of the photograph has gained a cast chimney and additional coal rails, whilst retaining Ramsbottom safety valves.

7026 112GERS Collection 7026/112

From the late 1920s a number of these 0-6-0Ts were transferred to the Scottish Area of the LNER. Here they escaped the ‘Stratford’ modifications to the chimneys and cabs, whilst gaining several ‘Scottish’ features, such as the additional footstep below the bunker with handrail above for the shunting staff to ride on, as demonstrated here by No. 7347. It had been fitted with a vacuum ejector and had its condenser removed before being transferred north. All of these exiles returned to the GE area by the BR period, and many of these retained their original wooden cab roofs to the end.

7026 097H.C. Casserley 48148/ GERSHC 7026/097

This view shows one of the two 1912 converts to shunting engines as running c.1947. It had originally been No. 330, one of two that had not previously been rebuilt to R24R. Apart from gaining a cast chimney, additional coal rails and a raised steel cab roof, it is still in the basic 1912 condition with 160 lb boiler and steam braked only. Its boiler is one of the earliest to be fitted with pop safety-valves, for these are mounted on the original Ramsbottom seating. It is shown here as renumbered 8493 in 1946, and in LNER wartime livery with the abbreviated initials “NE” on the tank sides. It went on to become BR 68493 and was withdrawn in October 1954.

7026 102H.C. Casserley 45363/ GERSHC7026/102

No. 7169 had been the last R24 to be built in August 1901, and one of the only three low-pressure passenger engines to become LNER class J-67 in 1923. It had its condensing gear removed in July 1936, and was at that time still Westinghouse braked only, although a vacuum ejector was added in October 1939. It is seen here at Stratford Works around the time of the Second World War, having gained a most unusual pattern of numerals on its side tanks, rather reminiscent of the style used by the US Air Force. However, there is no record of it ever having been loaned the War Department. It was later renumbered 8616 and then BR 68616, and was withdrawn in November 1958. Note the fitting of LNER ‘Group Standard’ buffers.

700 0055GERS Collection 700/0055

This is No. 7265, which had been rebuilt as an R24R in 1908. In 1929 it was converted to a steam braked shunter with vacuum ejector. It is seen here ex-works at Stratford during the Second World War, by which time it had gained the full range of LNER period modifications to the chimney, safety valves, coal rails and cab roof, as well as ‘Group Standard’ buffers. Like a number of other engines of the class the buffer beams are painted white, almost certainly to increase its visibility to yard staff working in the ‘blackout’. The engine eventually became BR 68573 and was withdrawn in August 1960.

7026 099A.G. Ellis 2627/GERSHC 7026/099

Two of the Scottish transfers from class J-67 were used on the Lauder Branch line, which had a severe weight restriction. This meant that they had to run with empty side tanks, being coupled to converted ex-North British Railway tenders, as demonstrated here by No. 68511 in the early BR period. This engine had received a new chimney and cab roof before transfer, but still has a boiler with Ramsbottom safety valves.