During the Second World War, British Railways were in a parlous state, and to keep the war effort moving, the Ministry of Supply took over responsibility to provide railway infrastructure. The locos shown here are part of that effort, including some locos supplied by the USA.

Ministry of Supply War Department Locomotives

  • Image : dir=br/war/../bluebell/ page=index 60783 bytes, pixels
  • Date : 18 Jan 1981
  • Photographer : John Hurst
  • Medium : Kodachrome, slide number 11325
  • Description : A war-time US-built 0-6-0T prepares her train ready for departure at the Bluebell Railway on a cold and wet day in mid-January 1981. This engine is a sister engine to 72-1 .


  • Image : dir=br/war/../kwvr/ page=index 87388 bytes, pixels
  • Date : 22 Mar 1980, catalogued 28 Mar 1998
  • Photographer : John Hurst
  • Medium : Kodachrome 64, slide number 8826
  • Description : Keighley and Worth Valley Railway's no.72 at Keighley. This is one of many "USA Tanks" built during the Second World War, and which saw service on the Southern Railway and then the BR (as BR no.30072) before being rescued for preservation.


  • Image : dir=br/war/ page=index 47372 bytes, pixels
  • Date : 24 May 1980, catalogued 23 Apr 1998
  • Photographer : John Hurst
  • Medium : Kodachrome 64, slide number 9366
  • Description : Longmoor Military Railway No.600, a 2-10-0 Austerity locomotive, displays her profile in gathering gloom at the Bold Colliery near Rainhill.


  • Image : dir=br/war/ page=index 97809 bytes, pixels
  • Date : 24 May 1980, catalogued 16 Jan 1999
  • Photographer : John Hurst
  • Medium : Kodachrome, slide number 9320
  • Description : LMR600 shows off her austere but clean lines in the Rocket 150 Cavalcade.


  • Image : dir=br/war/ page=index 125913 bytes, pixels
  • Date : 24 May 1980, catalogued 16 Jan 1999
  • Photographer : John Hurst
  • Medium : Kodachrome, slide number 9321
  • Description : LMR600 shows off her austere but clean lines in the Rocket 150 Cavalcade.


J94/Austerity Saddle Tanks 0-6-0ST

These locos were introduced by the Ministry of Supply and built by a range of builders: Hudswell Clarke, Bagnall, Stephesons and Hawthorns (carna Hawks!) Hunslet, Barclay and Vulcan. They were subsequently purchased by a number of railway operators, which perhaps accounts for their widespread distribution in preservation. That, and the fact that being a shunting engine, they are well suited to propelling carriages back and forth over short stretches of line, a characteristic of preservation railways in Britain!

Chris Grace writes most comprehensively about the "class":

These locomotives are frequently referred to as 'J94s' but this is in fact incorrect. They were called "WD Austerity Saddle Tanks" (Or "British Austerity Saddle Tanks" depending on your source.

A considerable number were built during the war by Hunslet, RSH, and Vulcan for the ministry of supply. These were located at Military Installations, Royal Ordnance Factories, and Coal mines and were moved around a lot.

IT probably isn't truly accurate to describe them as shunting locomotives. ALthough they were used for this purpose the military tended to use diesels for shunting. The Austerities were more trip locomotives. When I was at the Longmoor Military Railway they were used for the internal passenger service, which was 8 miles from Bordon to Liss, hardly a Shunt. Many of the colliery lines involved long trips to the main line as well. (Having said this the railways here in New Zealand call a train which runs along a line picking up and dropping off traffic as it goes a "Shunt'. I don't know if they do the same think in Oz. In the UK that sort of movement is a "Trip". A Shunter is a locomotive that makes up and breaks down trains in a yard or depot)

After the war when the number required reduced heavily a number were sold to the National Coal Board and also to the London And North Eastern Railway, which classified them as 'J94', or the 94th class of 0-6-0 locomotives. Thus J94 only really applies to those locomotives which the LNER bought and later passed to British Railways on Nationalisation.

A further batch was built by Hunslet for the Army War Reserve in 1953. These were stored for some years and then progressively introduced into service with the Army, replacing wartime locomotives which were worn out.

The National Coal Board found the type very useful and continued to place orders for them after the war. Hunslet obviously treated them as a standard design, as some were sold to other users as well. Hunslet also purchased some back from the Army, reconditioned them, and sold them on. The NCB spent a lot of money on them, converting them with Giesl Ejectors and underfeed stokers.

It is very difficult visually to say whether a particular locomotive ever belonged to the Army as they are all to a standard design.

68011 in your picture is, I'm afraid, masquerading as a 'J94'. Despite the number it never ran on British Railways. The highest number for a J94 was, I think, 68010. The current operators simply painted it in BR livery and gave it the next number in the J94 series.

In fact "68011" is WD196, "Errol Lonsdale" (The army named locos after heroes, and Generals. General LOnsdale was in charge of the Army Transport Staff). This is one of the War Reserve Batch, being build by Hunslet in 1953 works no 3796. It served on the enormous Bicester Military Railway from around 1958 to 1967 when it was transferred to the (almost as large) Longmoor Military Railway where it was named and stayed there until Longmoor closed in 1970 and was then sold to the K&ESR, who obviously sold it on.

It may have had another name whilst at Bicester. My research material is at home, so I can't check.

The War Reserve obviously didn't stay a reserve for very long (1953-8), although its existence is often quoted as one justification for the presence of a 'Strategic Reserve' of steam locomotives in the UK.

The Longmoor livery was a very attractive Royal Blue and Red , as illustrated in your picture of "Gordon". Why the owners decided to paint 'Errol Lonsdale' in the horrible BR Black freight livery I cannot imagine, but it's their loco, I suppose.

Similarly 68012 is another impostor as it went from the WD to the NCB and thus never carried a BR number. I'm pretty sure that 'Diana' isn't even an Austerity. I think it was one of the batches built later on by Hunslet to the same design for Industry.

There were one or two J94s transferred from BR to the NCB towards the end of steam. I did have somewhere the history of the entire class which was published in "Railway World" in the early 1960s, but have been looking for it for some years without success. You can find most information in Tourret's "War Department Locomotives", The OPC History of the Bicester Military Railway, which was the central workshops where most of them were overhauled, and the history of the Longmoor Military Railway where other overhauls were done. However none of these sources deal with the locomotives which were not built for the Army.

  • Image : dir=br/war/ page=index 106750 bytes, 800x600 pixels
  • Date : 1998, catalogued 15 Oct 2000
  • Photographer : Stewart Hughes
  • Medium : email digital image
  • Description : Stewart writes:
    I have forgotten where I took this photo - in the Midlands somewhere - probably somewhere near the Peak District - any ideas? It's a J94 class 0-6-0 saddletank - according to my Ian Allen Combined Volume from 1961/62 - a Riddles M.o.S. design bought from the M.o.S. in 1946. I guess that's the Ministry of Supply ? Ministry of Steam Traction? Ministry of Saddletanks??!!
    Ministry of Supply, introduced in 1946, and designed for heavy shunting duties by noted locomotive designer R.A.Riddles.


  • Image : dir=br/war/ page=index 157395 bytes, 800x600 pixels
  • Date : 24 Apr 2000, catalogued 01 Jan 2001
  • Photographer : Stewart Hughes
  • Medium : email digital image
  • Description : Stewart writes:
    It turns out that 68011 is at the South Devon Railway, the line that runs from Totnes to Buckfastleigh - they have a very similar photo to mine, taken next to the water tower at Buckfastleigh. And here it is - taken from the other direction.
    Mystery solved. I lived in Teignmouth in Devon for 2 years or so - 1980/81 and took a few photo's back then. This was obviously one of them.
    By the way I found this out through a fantastic site: the site of The UK Heritage Railways Society. They have a search engine that lets you search for engines! Brilliant! This will solve most of our UK memory problems.
    This link is from the UK Tourist Commision site and lists all the UK railway sites.


  • Image : dir=br/war/ page=index 126130 bytes, 800x600 pixels
  • Date : 1998, catalogued 22 Oct 2000
  • Photographer : Stewart Hughes
  • Medium : email digital image
  • Description : See 68011-1 . Stewart writes:
    I've trawled the web and found out where the above loco lives - see www.peakrail.co.uk This is what the site tells us:
    Duke 68012, Currently in service.
    The Duke was built by Bagnalls in 1944 as No 2746 for War Department work, most of the details of the work this locomotive undertook is unknown due to the records not being released from the war department. From the WD Duke was sold to NCB and finished up at the Featherstone Colliery.
    In 1983 the Duke was purchased by PR Member Bob Hunter and stored at the Buxton site. Duke was then later sold to another group of PR members, Ken Day, Roy Syrett, Tim Oaks, Dr Humpstone and Phil Brown (who later relinquished his share of the locomotive). Duke arrived in a semi derelict state and work started with aid from the West Derbyshire council and Labour under an MSC scheme. Further capital was later added by two more PR members, Tony Joyce and Andy Burns. The restoration was finally completed in 1988 and in 1990 was moved to Darley Dale, after further work in 1990/91 Duke was finally ready for service. Duke is now numbered 68012 in memory of a Cromford and High Peak locomotive.
    About Peak Rail
    In 1968 the railway between Matlock and Buxton through the Peak National Park was closed and lifted. This was once part of the Midland Railway's line between Manchester Central and London St.Pancras. In 1975 a group of enthusiasts formed the Peak Railway Society with the aim of re-opening the line. Initially a Steam Centre was opened at Buxton, attention later moved to the southern end of the line, where undergrowth was hacked away and rails reinstated. Services commenced between Matlock and Darley Dale in 1991. The northern extension to the site of the former Rowsley locomotive depot saw its first passenger trains in 1997, where further facilities are currently being developed.
    It doesn't mention 68011 as far as I can see but I'll keep searching.... I must say that Buxton is a fantastic little place but I do not remember seeing any preserved railways there.


  • Image : dir=br/dinting/ page=index 47201 bytes, 800x600 pixels
  • Date : 5 Apr 1980, catalogued 10 Apr 1998
  • Photographer : John Hurst
  • Medium : Kodachrome, slide number 8876
  • Description : "Warrington" runs brakevan rides at the Dinting Railway Museum.


  • Image : dir=br/dinting/ page=index 67676 bytes, pixels
  • Date : 5 Apr 1980, catalogued 18 Apr 1998
  • Photographer : John Hurst
  • Medium : Kodachrome 64, slide number 8883
  • Description : "Warrington" runs brakevan rides at the Dinting Railway Museum.


  • Image : dir=br/strathspey/ page=index 63675 bytes, 800x600 pixels
  • Date : Aug 1986, catalogued
  • Photographer : John Hurst
  • Medium : colour print
  • Description : The author's son poses in front of a Ministry of Supply "Austerity" saddle tank at Boat of Garten, on the Strathspey railway, on a typically dismal Scottish summer's day!


  • Image : dir=br/strathspey/ page=index 87570 bytes, pixels
  • Date : Jun 1986, catalogued 07 Nov 1999
  • Photographer : John Hurst
  • Medium : Kodachrome, slide number 14494
  • Description : Saddle tank loco number 60 in action again, running shuttle trains on the Strathspey Railway.


  • Image : dir=br/strathspey/ page=index 64752 bytes, pixels
  • Date : Aug 1986, catalogued 27 Nov 1999
  • Photographer : John Hurst
  • Medium : Kodachrome, slide number 15071
  • Description : Number 60 shunts her train at Boat of Garten.


  • Image : dir=br/strathspey/ page=index 129025 bytes, pixels
  • Date : Aug 1986, catalogued 19 Dec 1999
  • Photographer : John Hurst
  • Medium : Kodachrome, slide number 15076
  • Description : Number 60 shunts her train at the end of Boat of Garten station. The line can be seen disappearing towards Granton-on-Spey, but unfortunately, the line does not extend much beyond that visible here.


  • Image : dir=br/lochty/ page=index 93014 bytes, pixels
  • Date : Sep 1986, catalogued 27 Dec 1999
  • Photographer : John Hurst
  • Medium : Kodachrome, slide number 15227
  • Description : Bagnall 0-6-0 saddle tank, number 16 on the LPR roster, runs round its train at the end of the Lochty line.


  • Image : dir=br/lochty/ page=index 89450 bytes, pixels
  • Date : Sep 1986, catalogued 27 Dec 1999
  • Photographer : John Hurst
  • Medium : Kodachrome, slide number 15229
  • Description : Bagnall 0-6-0 saddle tank, number 16 on the LPR roster, runs round its train at the end of the Lochty line.


  • Image : dir=br/lochty/ page=index 115653 bytes, pixels
  • Date : Sep 1986, catalogued 27 Dec 1999
  • Photographer : John Hurst
  • Medium : Kodachrome, slide number 15234
  • Description : The Bagnall shows off as it climbs away from the main yard area of the Lochty Private Railway.


  • Image : dir=br/lochty/ page=index 74003 bytes, pixels
  • Date : Sep 1986, catalogued 27 Dec 1999
  • Photographer : John Hurst
  • Medium : Kodachrome, slide number 15236
  • Description : The Bagnall shows off as it climbs away from the main yard area of the Lochty Private Railway.


  • Image : dir=br/brechin/ page=index 101557 bytes, pixels
  • Date : Jul 1986, catalogued 20 Nov 1999
  • Photographer : John Hurst
  • Medium : Kodachrome, slide number 14720
  • Description : I think this is Diana, an 0-6-0ST Austerity loco, built in 1943. If any reader can send me details on these locos, I'll gladly update these captions!


  • Image : dir=br/brechin/ page=index 78352 bytes, pixels
  • Date : Jul 1986, catalogued 20 Nov 1999
  • Photographer : John Hurst
  • Medium : Kodachrome, slide number 14724
  • Description : Another Austerity 0-6-0ST, this one was built by Bagnall in 1944, and is number 6 on the roster.


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