The New Zealand J class were steam locomotives with the wheel arrangement of 2-6-0 that were built in 1874 to operate on the railway network of New Zealand. The J class was the first class of locomotive in New Zealand to have a tender; all previous classes were tank engines.
The first batch built consisted of six locomotives built by the Avonside Engine Company and they entered service in 1874 in Canterbury. Ten more were built in 1879, with a dozen more from Vulcan Foundry in 1883. However, one was lost at sea while being delivered, and a replacement was built the following year. They spread beyond Canterbury and could also be found working in Auckland, Waikato, and Hawke's Bay. The J class worked well whether it was pulling a long goods train or operating important passenger services in the early days of the Main South Line, but as traffic increased, it was superseded by more powerful locomotives and in 1917-18, four members of the class were converted to 2-6-2 tank engines to perform shunting duties in yards. By 1935, all 32 original J class locomotives had reached the end of their usefulness and were discarded, and none survived to be preserved.
Although none were preserved, relics of J class locomotives can still be seen to this day at sites where the New Zealand Railways Department dumped withdrawn equipment. A locomotive dump at Oamaru had five J class engines dumped there, Js 15, 82, 83, 116, and 117, although most of these were removed from the seawall by protection works carried out by ONTRACK in 2008—2009. This dump was also the location of WA 120, which was one of the J's rebuilt as tank engines. Elsewhere, J 61 was dumped cylinderless at Branxholme and other miscellaneous components, large and small were dumped in other dump site locations. Currently most of the remnants of the Oamaru foreshore J's are stored at Oamaru Steam & Rail. Although all of the Oamaru components are too far corroded, should sufficient viable components be discovered in other dump sites it may be possible to rebuild a Canterbury J class locomotive.