Hunslet Austerity 0-6-0ST

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Hunslet Austerity 0-6-0ST
0-6-0 Saddle Tank at Rocket 150.jpg
A private shunter at the Rocket 150 event
Power type Steam
Designer Hunslet Engine Company
Builder Hunslet Engine Company,
Andrew Barclay Sons & Co. (15),
W. G. Bagnall (52),
Hudswell Clarke (50), Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns (90),
Vulcan Foundry (50)
Build date 1943–1964
Total produced 485
Configuration 0-6-0ST
UIC classification Cn t
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Driver diameter 4 ft 3 in (1.295 m)
Minimum curve 180 ft (54.86 m)
Wheelbase 11 ft 0 in (3.35 m)
Length 30 ft 4 in (9.25 m)
Axle load 13 tons 7 cwt (29,900 lb or 13.6 t)
Locomotive weight 48 tons 5 cwt (108,100 lb or 49.0 t)
Fuel type Coal
Fuel capacity 2 tons 5 cwt (5,000 lb or 2.3 t)
Water capacity 1,200 imp gal (5,500 l; 1,400 US gal)
Boiler Round top outer firebox, 181 tubes, copper or steel inner firebox
Boiler pressure 170 psi (1.17 MPa)
Firegrate area 16.8 sq ft (1.56 m2)
Heating surface:
– Tubes
873 sq ft (81.1 m2)
– Firebox 88 sq ft (8.2 m2)
Superheater type None
Cylinders Two, inside
Cylinder size 18 in × 26 in (457 mm × 660 mm)
Valve gear Stephenson
Valve type Slide valves
Tractive effort 23,870 lbf (106.18 kN)
Power class BR: 4F
Nicknames Austerity
Retired 1959–1967 for BR examples
Disposition 70 preserved, remainder scrapped

The Hunslet Engine Company Austerity 0-6-0ST is a steam locomotive designed for shunting. The class became the standard British shunting locomotive during the Second World War, and production continued until 1964 at various locomotive manufacturers.


The 48150 class were built for the Guest Keen Baldwins Iron & Steel Company in 1937, being an enlarged version of a design dating from 1923. These developed into the 50550 class of 1941–42, with various modifications.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, the War Department had initially chosen the LMS 'Jinty' 3F 0-6-0T as its standard shunting locomotive, but was persuaded by Hunslet that a simplified version of their more modern 50550 design would be more suitable. The first was completed at their Leeds works at the start of 1943.


Hunslet subcontracted some of the construction to Andrew Barclay Sons & Co., W. G. Bagnall, Hudswell Clarke, Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns and the Vulcan Foundry.

After D-Day they were used on Continental Europe and in North Africa as well as at docks and military sites in Britain.

A total of 377 had been built for the War Department by 1947 (on orders placed during the war), with two further engines having been built for collieries (without the permission of the Ministry of Supply). When the end of the war reduced the need for locomotives, the military started to review its fleet:

Others were sold for industrial use. A number of those used on the continent are believed[1] to have worked on light and industrial railways in France, six going to the Chemins de Fer Tunisiens in 1946.[2] One was used in Valentigney on the Peugeot industrial branch line.[citation needed]

Post-war construction[edit]

Austerity at Bickershaw Colliery, Greater Manchester

As the final War Department locomotives were being delivered, the National Coal Board was placing orders for identical locomotives to be used at collieries. Between 1948 and 1964, 77 new "Austerity" locomotives were built for the NCB.

In 1952 the Army needed more locomotives for military depots, so it ordered 14 locomotives to supplement the 90 that it had retained.

The Yorkshire Engine Company also built 8 locomotives in 1954 for use in ironstone quarries and at Scunthorpe Steelworks. Some railway historians and researchers[who?][citation needed] think some parts for this design were sold to them by Hunslet as part of a subcontract settlement for Yorkshire Engine Co built GWR 9400 Class 0-6-0PTs (ordered from Hunslet).

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 1970s and a small number remained in service until the early 1980s, notably at Bickershaw Colliery, Greater Manchester. Some of the examples that survived the longest were those fitted with mechanical stokers and Kylpor blast pipes or Giesl ejectors to improve their performance and reduce smoke.


In preservation at the Nene Valley Railway
For a complete list of preserved Austerities, see List of preserved Hunslet Austerity 0-6-0ST locomotives.

Around 70 Austerities have been preserved on heritage railways. Several have been painted as LNER Class J94s to represent mainline rather than industrial use.

Thomas the Tank Engine (a rebuilt Hunslet Austerity tank) on the Watercress Line at Ropley station

Not all have survived intact; the boiler of RSH 7135 of 1944 was used on the replica broad gauge locomotive "Iron Duke" built 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 fiction[edit]

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.

An Austerity was in the film The Great St. Trinian's Train Robbery filmed on the Longmoor Military Railway. This loco a "fake" J94, No. 3796 Errol Lonsdale was subsequently preserved on the Mid Hants Railway and later on the South Devon Railway. It has recently been sold abroad to private owners from Stoomcentrum Maldegem in Belgium.


  1. ^ Tourret 1995, p. 106
  2. ^ Tourret 1995, p. 107


  • "Austerity Saddle Tank Locomotives". Industrial Railway Record (London: Industrial Railway Society) 18 (203). December 2010. ISBN 978-1901556643. 
  • Gamble, H.A. (1969). "The 18in Hunslets". Industrial Railway Record 3 (23): 2–16. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  • Hunslet Engine Co.; Neale, Andrew. Hunslet Austerity Locomotives Spare Parts List (Originally published c.1946; reprinted 2007 with additional text as 2nd edition ed.). Somerset, UK: Camden Miniature Steam Services. ISBN 978-0954713140. 
  • Lambert, A. P. & Woods, J. C. (1991). Continent, Coalfield and Conservation — The Biographical History of the British Army Austerity 0-6-0 Saddle Tank. Industrial Railway Society. ISBN 0-901096-63-6. 
  • Tourret, R. (1995). Allied Military Locomotives of the Second World War. Abingdon, Oxon: Tourret Publishing. pp. 103–111. ISBN 0-905878-06-X. 
  • Townsley, Don (September–October 1988). "The Hunslet 'Austerity' 0-6-0STs". Locomotives Illustrated (Ian Allan Ltd) (61). ISSN 0307-1804. 

External links[edit]