23 Jan J70 0-6-0T Tram Engine

GER/LNER/BR J70 0-6-0T Tram Engine

Model Rail Magazine and Rapido Trains Inc. are pleased to announce the launch of “Project J70” with the intention to produce a ready-to-run 4mm Scale/OO gauge model of the famous J70 0-6-0T Tram Engine. Best known for their work on the Wisbech & Upwell Tramway in Cambridgeshire, as well as employment on East Anglian dock branches, the J70 design was immortalized in popular culture as “Toby the Tram Engine” by the Rev. W Awdry of “Thomas the Tank Engine” fame.

A LNER J70 tram engine at Wisbech c1935. Photo courtesy Rail Archive Stephenson.

As for the real locomotives, they were originally constructed by the Great Eastern Railway at Stratford Works between 1903 and 1921 as class ‘C53’. Just 12 locomotives were built in several small batches, the fleet passing to the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) on the 1923 Grouping. 11 transferred to British Railways ownership during Nationalisation in 1948, one example having been withdrawn in 1942. All but two of the class survived in service into the 1950s with the final J70 being withdrawn in 1955.

This J70 was revealed at the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition last November and Model Rail Magazine began by asking for expressions of interest in this project. The locomotive has proved to be a hit with the magazine’s readers and with the research into the J70 fleet now well down the road Rapido Trains Inc. has now begun the 2D design on this unique locomotive.

No caption required.

Part of the J70’s appeal is their unconventional appearance, which was because of their use on the the GER’s various “tramway” systems that necessitated the sideplates and cowcatchers. They did run without these, as in the image reproduced below. Model Rail intends to release the models in this condition with the working Walschaerts valve gear exposed.

GER 0-6-0 Tram enine No. 137 at Stratford Works, East London. Photo courtesy A.W. Croughton / Rail Archive Stephenson.

All four liveries that these locomotives are known to have worn will be offered: Great Eastern Railway (GER), London & Northern Eastern Railway (LNER), early British Railways (lettering only) and British Railway with early emblem. Key detail differences will also be covered.

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