Hunslet Austerity 0-6-0ST
Hunslet 0-6-0ST
Hunslet Austerity 0-6-0ST

Years built

1943 - 1964



Number Produced


Years in Operation


Fleet Numbers




Number Preserved


Number Scrapped


l x w x h)




V - E - T - D

The Hunslet Engine Company Austerity 0-6-0ST is an 0-6-0ST saddle-tank steam locomotive designed for shunting in the UK. The type known by various class designations (J94 with the LNER), were built by various manufacturers from 1943 to 1964. With a power classification of 4F they were seen as medium powered freight locos, despite the fact they were just 0-6-0 tank engines.


The 48150 Class of steam locomotives were built for the Guest Keen Baldwin's Iron & Steel Company in 1937, been derived from an earlier design dating back to 1923. These were then developed into the 50550 Class of 1941-1942.

At the outbreak of World War Two, the UK war department had already chosen the LMS "Jinty" 3F 0-6-0T as part of their wartime fleet. However, they were persuaded by Hunslet, that a simplified, easy to maintain version of their more modern 50550 design would be more suitable. This became the "Austerity" 0-6-0ST and the first locomotive rolled off the production line at Hunslet's Leeds Works in January 1943.

During the war the Austerity became the most common and widespread shunter in the UK. It was praised by footplate crews for being a strong, robust design with good steaming characteristics. Those used at collieries noted for been a very resilient design, standing up to the rigors that colliery and industrial work involves. An example being the old corporation of the National Coal Board that essentially used a lot of second hand industrial tank engines. The Austerities were also noted for been endlessly reliable in service, having a very high mile per casualty rating. Later the Austerity 0-6-0ST would become one of the most well known and easily recognize locomotive type in the UK and Continental Europe.


Hunslet subcontracted some of the construction out to Andrew Barclay Son & Co, W. G. Bagnall, Hudswell Clarke, Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns, and Vulcan Foundry in order to meet delivery requirements.

After D-Day these early locomotives were used in Continental Europe and North Africa as well as docks and military railways and sites in the UK.

A total of 377 had been built for the War Department by 1947 (on order since the war), with two further locomotive been built for collieries without the permission of the Ministry of Supplies. When the end of the war reduced the need for the locomotives the UK War Department began to review it's fleet.

Unsurprisingly around 100 of these locomotives worked under the Military, whilst most of the remainders ended up doing colliery work under the LNER and the last few working abroad in other European nations, an example of this would be those Austerity locomotives working in the Netherlands and becoming the "NS Class 8800.

Post War ProductionEdit

As the last of the War Department locomotive were been delivered, the National Coal Board were ordering identical locomotives for use at their collieries. Between 1948 and 1963 77 "New Austerity" were built for the NCB. A further fourteen locomotives were ordered in 1952 by the British Army to supplement its existing ninety locomotives.

The Yorkshire Engine Company also built eight locomotives to the New Austerity design in 1954 for use in Iron Stone quarries and at Scunthorpe Steel Works (Now TATA Steel). Hunslet undertook the rebuilding of many NCB locomotives and when the Army started to sell off locomotives again in 1959, they bought 15 examples that were to be rebuilt and sold on. The NCB bought 13 of these, the 14th was sold directly into preservation and the final locomotive was scrapped without being rebuilt. Ultimately from first to last, a total of 485 examples were constructed between 1943 and 1964.

The NCB continued to use Austerities in the 1970's and a small number remained in service until the early 1980's, notably at Bickershaw Colliery, Greater Manchester. Some of the eldest member of the class were fitted with mechanical stokers and Kylpor blast pipes or Giesl ejectors to improve the steaming performance and reduce the amount of smoke from obscuring the driver's view.

After the Second World War, it was found that the Austerity was surprisingly good on passenger services and many were used on branch line services, were they provided excellent service while reducing costs over other locomotive designs. Really the Austerity should be classified as A 4MT and not a 4F.


For a List of preserved Austerity 0-6-0ST's see: List of preserved Hunslet Austerity 0-6-0ST locomotives.

70 Austerities have been preserved on heritage railways, many in working order. Several have been painted as LNER Class J94s to represent mainline rather than industrial use. During the "Rocket 150" celebrations in 1980, NCB Bold Colliery "Austerity" No. 7 Robert also participated in the cavalcade of locomotives at Rainhill, marking the only time since 1967 that an "Austerity" has run on the national network.

Not all have survived intact; the boiler of RSH 7135 of 1944 was used on the replica broad gauge locomotive "Iron Duke" built at the National Railway Museum in 1985. At least one has been turned into a Thomas the Tank Engine lookalike, and another into one of Douglas, also from The Railway Series.

In FictionEdit

This class of engine forms the basis of the characters Wilbert the Forest Engine and Sixteen the Steelworks Engine from The Railway Series children's books by Christopher Awdry. Wilbert is named after the author's father, the Rev. W. Awdry, who created the series; the name was applied to Hunslet 3806, built in 1953, at the Dean Forest Railway by Awdry in 1987.

An Austerity appeared in the film The Great St. Trinian's Train Robbery filmed on the Longmoor Military Railway. This loco, No. 3796 Errol Lonsdale, was disguised as British Railways No. 68011 for filming. It was subsequently preserved on the Mid Hants Railway and later on the South Devon Railway, but has since been sold abroad to private owners and is currently based at the Maldegem Railway Museum in Belgium.


The Hunslet "Austerity" was produced as a model by Kitmaster from 1961 onwards in 00 gauge. The Kitmaster tooling's were sold to Airfix in 1962 and later Dapol in 1981 when Airfix stopped production of model railway items; Dapol continued to use the Kitmaster tooling's until they were destroyed by a fire at Dapol's Winsford headquarters in 1994. Dapol subsequently created a replacement molding to allow production of these locomotives; this tooling was sold in 1996 to Hornby who have continued to produce the "Austerity" as both the J94 class and in various industrial liveries.

Graham Farish and subsequently Bachmann have produced the "Austerity" as the LNER/BR J94 class for N gauge.


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