Victorian Railways J Class
J515 at the Victorian Goldfields Railway.

Years built



Victorian Railways
Vulcan Foundry, Lancaster, England

Number Produced


Years in Operation


Fleet Numbers




Number Preserved


Number Scrapped


(l × w × h)

Length: 60 ft 5½ in (18.4 metres)


5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm); designed to be modified to 4 ft 8½ in (1,435 mm)

V - E - T - D

The J Class locomotive is a 2-8-0 'Consolidation' type of steam locomotive, which was run on Victorian Railways from 1954, to 1972.


The locomotive is a development of the K Class 2-8-0 design, and was built at the Vulcan Foundry, Lancashire, England. Not at the Victorian Railways Newport Works like the K Class. Once they were introduced, they rapidly replaced the aging Dd Class 4-6-0 variants on branchline work, however the introduction of the J Class was at the same time as the diesel electric locomotives, making the J Class the one of the last steam locomotives to be built in Australia, and the world. (Other than the South African Railways "Red Devils".)


The only problem with the dependable K Class was that its firebox and boiler was between the chassis rails. This is not really a problem, but an inconvenience for Victorian Railways. Victorian Railways ran a broad gauge (5 ft 3in [1600mm]) network throughout most of Victoria. If this would have been standardized to make the whole of Victoria the same gauge then there would have been a problem. The K Class has its gauge set at broad gauge, but if Victorian Railways were to standardize the gauge they would have chosen standard or 4 ft 8 1/2in (1435mm) gauge the K Class could not have run on it. To modify a locomotives gauge you have to shorten the cross parts of the chassis and move the chassis rails in. This could not be done on the K Class for it has its boiler and firebox in the way. A previous development of the K Class, the N Class 2-8-2's were theoretically guage convertible, however their large size made them too large for lines with only a 50-53 ft turntable, so Victorian Railways designed a new K Class that had a redesigned firebox and boiler, called the J Class. This meant that if standardization was to happen, the J Class would be ready to be modified. The railways were standardized, this was one of the many reasons the era of steam in Victoria came to an end.


By the time scrapping of the J class had started, interest in preserving railways and locomotives was enough for 11 J class locomotives to be saved.


  • J515 was restored in 1984 by the Seymour Heritage Railway Centre to mainline running condition and has been on long term loan to the Victorian Goldfields Railway in Maldon, Victoria, Australia. It was loan since December 2006, from the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre. Has returned to service in 2014 after boiler repairs and was returned to Seymour in 2015 and is currently under restoration
  • J541 has been leased to the Victorian Goldfields Railway, just after being restored by the Puffing Billy Railway in 2007. This year, the locomotive will be transferred to the Yarra Valley Tourist Railway having been purchased by the members of the Railway and the Railway itself in a private syndicate.
  • J549 is owned and operated by the Victorian Goldfields Railway. Since March 2004 the locomotive has been out of service due to having a major overhaul and returned to running service in January 2014

Static display:Edit

  • J556, that wears the historically significant plates of the scrapped J559 the last steam locomotive to enter service on the Victorian Railways, is preserved at the Australian Railway Historical Society in North Williamstown Railway Museum near Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
  • J507 is on public display a Mulwala, New South Wales, Australia.
  • J512 is owned by the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre. It has been converted to standard gauge as part of a restoration. The frames have been converted, although the project remains on hiatus
  • J516 as of June 2009, is owned by the Yarra Valley Tourist Railway and at that time was being stripped down for a restoration assessment.
  • J524 is on public display a Donald, Victoria.
  • J536 is owned by the heritage group 707 Operations Inc. and is a long term restoration project.
  • J539 is on public display at Dimboola, Victoria, Australia.
  • J550 was on public display at Warragul, Victoria, Australia. Has been shifted to Noojee for static display beside a replica station with eventualt restoration to operation along a planned heritage line from Noojee to Warragul


Specifications for coal-burning J class:
The class weighs 114.5 tonnes. The locomotive has 2 cylinders, with a 20 inch (508 mm) bore and a 26 inch (660 mm) stroke. The locomotive had a tractive effort of 28,650 lbf for 175 psi boilers, and 29,500 lbf for later 180 psi boilers. The firebox possesses a grate area of 31 square feet (2.9 m^2) The driving wheels are 55 inches (1.4 m) in diameter.

The coal burner tender can carry 5.1 tonnes of coal, and 4,200 imperial gallons (19,000 litres) of water. The oil burner tender can carry 1,500 imperial gallons (5,680 litres) of oil


  • J 515's motion gear was dimensionally corrected modified to increase it's efficiency and fuel economicness by the SRHC and is fitted with a diesel control stand (partially anyways, the project was dropped during installment). J 541 and J549 were similarly modified

See also Edit


Articles on Trains in Victoria
Steam: A2 Class - C Class - Dd Class - G Class - H Class - J Class - K Class - N Class - NA Class - R Class - V Class - X Class - Y Class

Diesel Electric: F Class - P Class

Diesel Hydraulic: TBA

Rail Tractor: TBA

Railmotors: Walker Railmotors

Electric: TBA

Suburban Electric: TBA