For enthusiasts and researchers of the Great Eastern Railway

S56 Class 0-6-0T 1904

LNER Class J-69

51-60, 81-90

7049 11GERS Collection 7049/11

When further 0-6-0Ts were needed for suburban work in 1904 the current R24 design was up-dated to the same specification as the rebuilt engines. The new locomotives therefore included the 180 lb. psi. boiler with longer firebox from the outset, and larger tanks holding 1200 gallons. They differed from the R24Rs in that the cabs and bunker were as wide as the tanks, and the cab doorway was now a symmetrical ‘keyhole’ shape, as the firebox extended further back into the cab. Twenty locomotives were built in 1904 as class S56 and numbered 51-60 and 81-90. Seen in the photograph is No. 86 around c1920 in grey wartime livery. This locomotive later ran between 1940 and 1944 with a 160 lb. boiler and was classified as LNER class J-67 (q.v.).

7005 045C.L. Turner/GERSHC 7005/45

As noted when dealing with the R24 class (q.v.) under the LNER regime the S56 class were placed in class J-69 along with the R24R class engines that had 180 lb. boilers. As with the other 0-6-0Ts, from the late 1920s most had their condensing gear removed and six became steam brake-only goods shunting engines, although three were later fitted with vacuum ejectors as well, as were the passenger engines in due course. Two engines were fitted with the 160 lb. boiler: No, 7086, by then a shunter, was reboilered thus in 1940 and re-classified as a J-67, but was converted back to J-69 in 1944. The other was No. 7082, a passenger engine, and it retained a low-pressure boiler until withdrawn in 1958. The photograph shows No. 7054 in the late 1930s, by which time it had gained a cast rimmed chimney, pop safety valves, additional coal rails and a raised steel cab roof. In remained a passenger engine, and lost its condenser in 1930. In 1940 it was one of five engines of the class sold to the War Department. It was originally thought that they would be re-purchased at the end of the war, and so they were allocated new numbers when the renumbering scheme was drawn up in 1943, but they never returned.

7002 90British Railways AA 412/GERSHC 7002/90

The remaining fifteen locomotives of the original GER S56 class all became British Railways stock. Withdrawal began in 1958, and three were still in service at the end of steam on the GE section in September 1962. No. E8619 (ex-53) had become the regular Liverpool Street East Side pilot engine in 1948, and was specially painted in LNER green livery, and always kept in first-class condition. It later gained BR mixed traffic black, but in 1959 it was repainted GER blue. Following withdrawal in November 1960 No. 68633 was selected for preservation as part of the National Collection and restored as GER 87. It is seen in the photograph at the BTC Museum at Clapham, and it moved to the National Railway Museum in York in due course.