Rapido Trains 958011 BR 68836 ex-LNER Class J52/2 GNR 0-6-0ST BR Lined Plain Black Late Crest OO
Model of British Railways number 68846, the preserved ex-GNR/LNER class J52 0-6-0ST saddle tank engine believed to be the only member of the class to be painted in British Railways lined black with the later lion holding wheel crest, noted at Hornsey shed in September 1958.
This Rapido Trains model has been carefully designed from works drawings and historical images to allow a wide range of options to be produced covering the long lives of thee distinctive engines. The chassis features a smooth-running mechanism, factory-installed speaker and a warming firebox glow.
In 1959 with just a few of these classic Great Northern locomotives remaining in May 1959 68846 was purchased privately by Captain Bill Smith, becoming the first privately preserved ex-British Railways steam locomotive.
(For context, in March 1959 the Lewes and East Grinstead Railway Preservation Society had been formed, soon to adopt the title Bluebell Railway Preservation Society)
68846 was soon repainted into the beautiful pre-grouping GNR green livery with her original number 1247 restored this engine has gone on to a long and historic career in preservation. Initially hauling mainline tours until 1962, 1247 then went to the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, then moving to Tyseley and working on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
On the passing of Captain Bill Smith 1247 was donated to the The National Railway Museum, still working on many heritage railways and in 1991 displayed at Railfair 91 in Sacramento, California. Loaned to the East Somerset Railway in exchange for work done on it, then the Great Central Railway. In May 2009 was repainted back into its GNR livery once again at Shildon and recently displayed at the NRM York.
It is understood the NRM is considering the future of GNR 1247, with every possibility the engine will return to steam again.