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The railway has in use, and on display, a number of steam and diesel locomotives, as well as self-propelled vehicles. Several of these are owned by the ourselves, the remainder are owned by private individuals or other organisations and are on loan to the Railway. Most of these are operational, although at any given time some might be withdrawn for overhaul or repair.

ArrowGSWR No. 90
ArrowOrenstein & Koppel Locomotives No. 1 and No. 3
ArrowCIE Maybach Diesel Hydraulic Locomotives No. 421 and No. 432
ArrowCIE 141 (B) class Bo-Bo locomotive 146
ArrowCIE 001 (A) class Co-Co locomotive A39
ArrowCIE Deutz (G) Diesel Hydraulic Locomotives G611, G613, G617

ArrowBR Leyland-BREL Railbus RB3

ArrowSligo, Leitrim & Northern Counties Railcar B (later CIE 2509)
Arrowex-NIR Hedgecutter
ArrowWickham Inspection Vehicles


Great Southern & Western Railway Locomotives No. 90
GSWR No. 92, sister engine of 90, in original condition
GSWR No. 90 in Inchicore
GSWR No. 92, sister engine of 90, in original condition
GSWR No. 90 in Inchicore prior to transport to Whitehead

GSWR 0-6-0T Locomotive No. 90 is currently on loan to the DCDR from Irish Rail, and is currently undergoing minor repair at the RPSI Workshops in Whitehead.

No. 90 was built not as a loco but as a steam railmotor with an 0-6-4WT wheel arrangement that included a carriage portion supported by the 4-wheel bogie. The carriage section comprised an eight seat first class compartment immediately behind the driver's cab (warm and smutty) and a guards van that could additionally seat six third class passengers.

Though of Inchicore design, No. 90 was not built there but in the great Locomotive works of the LNWR at Crewe in 1875 during the reign of John Ramsbottom. Indeed she may even have been built there illegally since in that same year, the independent locomotive builders successfully obtained a court injunction against the LNWR to prevent it building locomotives for the L&YR and thereby muscling in on the independent builders' business. Did they cite it as a case of surplus capacity dumping? No doubt No. 90 was hardly noticed by the legal eagles. Even in those far off days she must have been one of the most diminutive locos built at Crewe. She was, however, neither the first nor last 5ft 3in gauge loco built there for in 1873, Crewe had supplied the first three of six 0-6-0STs to the DNGR and would follow with two more in 1876.

The next intriguing question is who really designed No. 90. In March 1875 J. A. F (later Sir John) Aspinall arrived at Inchicore from Crewe to take up the post of works manager reporting to the Locomotive Superintendent Alexander McDonnell. In a 1966 article for the IRRS booklet "Steaming through a century - The 101 Class Locomotives of the GSWR" Mr. Clements makes the point that McDonnell was by that stage mainly interested in the administration and economic efficiency of the works and rarely visited the drawing office leaving Aspinall to supervise design matters. Was Aspinall (who later succeeded McDonnell) then No. 90s designer and/or instrumental in having her built at Crewe? Was it because she was not a standard Inchicore design that the work was sub-contracted or was it because she was not being built for the GSWR at all?

In fact No. 90 was built for the independent Castleisland Railway in Co. Kerry that connected the town of Castleisland to a junction at Gortalea on the Tralee & Killarney Railway. To keep costs down the 4½ mile branch had been laid with 40lb rails which limited speed to 25mph and axle load to 6½ tons. The GSWR was not prepared to work such a line themselves but facilitated the design and order of the lightweight steam carriage for the Castleisland Railway. However in 1879 the GSWR purchased the line with its steam carriage and it was at this point that she received her number '90' in the GSWR stock. Other similarly designed steam carriages were built by the GSWR for lightly loaded branches such as that to Mitchelstown and for use as a travelling pay carriage.

In an Inchicore rebuild in 1915 when E. A. Watson was Locomotive Superintendent, No. 90 was separated from its carriage . At the turn of the century she would have lost her GSWR green livery and from her re-build in 1915 she would have been turned out in battleship grey. In CIE days she wore black with large yellow numerals on each tank replacing her cast metal number plate. In preservation she again wears green, although an incorrect shade. This will be rectified by ourselves.

As branch line track relaying increasingly allowed for the use of heavier locomotives, the GSWR's need for such special light weight engines declined. However with the merger of the CBSCR and its Timoleague & Courtmacsherry Extension Light Railway in 1924, No. 90 and her sister No. 100 found a new lease of life working both passenger and goods trains on the branch and often doubleheading the special summer seaside excursion trains to Courtmacsherry. Though largely displaced on the branch by the ex MGWR 'E' Class 0-6-0Ts and later the 'C' Class Bo-Bo Diesel Electrics, No. 90 contrived to survive and was taken into preservation.

It is interesting to compare No. 90 with the Stroudley Class A1 'Terrier' 0-6-0Ts of the LBSCR which also date from the 1870s and were built for use on lightly laid South London suburban lines.

No. 90 Cylinders 10" x 18"; wheels 3' 6"
Terrier Cylinders 12" x 20"; wheels 4' 0"

Both were small, long lived, successful and survivors.

When No. 90 arrives in Downpatrick she will be in familiar company as the Deutz 'G' Class Diesel Locos were specially introduced to re-open some closed CIE branches including that to Castleisland. Indeed, the former Castleisland Railway which, having lost all regular services in 1947, was unexpectedly re-opened in 1957 to regular goods traffic using a 'G' Class loco and survived until 1977. When the humans have all gone home at night will 90 and the 'Gs' be busy exchanging Kerryman jokes in engine shed at Downpatrick?

Written by John Towers

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Orenstein and Koppel Industrial Tank Locomotives No. 1 and No. 3
O&K No.3
O&Ks at Ballynahinch Junction
Photo: No.3 being steamed for the first time at Downpatrick
after a major overhall at RPSI Whitehead
O&K locomotives as they were before being moved to Downpatrick.
Here they are in 'store' at Ballynahinch Junction.

These are two engines built in the mid 1930s by the German firm Orenstein and Koppel for the Irish Sugar Company (comlucht Suicre Eireann) for use in their factories at Mallow, Thurles and Carlow. There were a total of nine of these engines built (three for each factory) and they were used to transfer sugar beet wagons from the main line sidings in the factory complexes for processing.

After withdrawal from service in 1960 the engines were sent to Dalkey Station, south of Dublin, for storage with a view to being moved to England for preservation. This project did not work out (due to the key players finding out that Irish gauge is different to English gauge!) and the locomotives were saved for preservation in Northern Ireland in 1974 and moved to Ballynahinch Junction for storage in 1978. When this scheme failed to get off the ground they were moved to Downpatrick in July 1987.

After a period of storage in Downpatrick, work began on rebuilding No. 1 while No. 3 was restored at the RPSI's workshop in Whitehead. She was returned to the DCDR on Saturday 2nd October. After a full repaint in her original livery of black and straw lining, No. 3 has served with distinction since summer 2000.

No. 1 has now departed Downpatrick and is currently following in her sister engine's footsteps and is now at Whitehead, currently undergoing inspection and assessment prior to overhaul.

Technical Details
Date Built No 1: 1934
No 3: 1935
Builder Orenstein & Koppel
Wheel Arrangement 0-4-0
Weight 19 tonnes
Date withdrawn from service No 1: 1960
No 3: 1960
Company of Origin Irish Sugar Company
Date Acquired No 1: 1987
No 3: 1987

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CIE 141 (B) Class Bo-Bo Locomotive 146

The "Baby GM" arrives in Downpatrick on a snowy Saturday mornin

The "Baby GM" arrives in Downpatrick on a snowy Saturday morning

141 (B) class Bo-Bo locomotives
Built: General Motors, La Grange, Illinois, USA.
Engine: GM 8-567CR of 950 hp
Weight: 67 tonnes
Maximum Speed: 75 mph.
Loco No. Works No. Date to Traffic Date Stopped
146 27472 14.12.62 05.03.10

For more information, check out the Irish Traction Group's page here

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CIE 001 (A) Class Co-Co Locomotive A39
A39 Arrives at Downpatrick

A39 Arrives at Downpatrick

001 (A) class Co-Co locomotives
Built: by Metropolitan Vickers at Dukinfield Works, Manchester.
Engine: General Motors 12-645E of 1325hp.
Weight: 82 tonnes.
Maximum Speed: 75 mph.
Loco No. Works No. Date to Traffic Date Stopped
039 925 14.05.56 23.09.95

For more information, check out the Irish Traction Group's page here

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CIE Maybach Diesel Hydraulic Locomotives E432 and E421

E421  Engine Room
E432 and E421 double heading on an enthusiasts special
in the early 1990s.
The engine room of E421

There are two of these locomotives on site, E421 and E432. They were built in 1962 for branch line traffic and shunting duties on the CIE system, and there was a total of 14 in the class. In practice they proved unstable at speeds in excess of 25 mph and so were confined to shunting work for the duration of their working lives. The Maybach power units used in these locomotives are similar to those used in German U-Boats and tanks during World War II. E421 and E432 were purchased by the DCDR from CIE as scrap for IR£250 each. E421 was restored to working order by our volunteers and was our only motive power for a number of years. She was named WF Gillespie OBE in honour of a founder member and former Director of our railway. E432 was originally purchased in order to use it as a source of parts to keep E421 operational. However as the locomotive proved to be in good condition and as we were subsequently and unexpectedly offered a supply of spare parts by Irish Rail, the locomotive was put into operational condition by our volunteers. E421 is currently in service and E432 is currently awaiting a major overhaul.

Technical Details
Date Built E421 1962
E432 1963
Builder CIE
Weight 42 tonnes
Engine Maybach MD220 420HP
Transmission Hydraulic
Wheel Arrangement C type
Date withdrawn from service E421 1983
E432 1983
Company of Origin CIE
Date Acquired E421 1986
E432 1986

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CIE Diesel Hydraulic G-Class Locomotives
Photo: Rear view of G613 after her overhaul in September 2003

There are three of these locomotives on site, G611, G613 and G617. Seven were purchased by CIE in the early 1960s for use on very lightly trafficked branch lines and for shunting work. G613 was acquired by the West of Ireland Railway Preservation Society (Westrail) soon after withdrawal before coming to Downpatrick on a leasing arrangement. This locomotive has since been purchased from Westrail by a member of the Railway. G611 and G617 are owned by the Irish Traction Group and are on lease to the DRM.

Technical Details
Date Built G611 1961
G613 1961
G617 1961
Builder Deutz
Weight 21 tonnes
Engine Deutz V8, 160HP
Transmission Voith Chain Drive
Wheel Arrangement B type
Date withdrawn from service G611 19**
G613 1977
G617 19**
Company of Origin CIE
Date Acquired G611  
G613 1991
G617 1995

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BR Leyland-BREL Railbus RB3

This unique prototype railcar was one of of four prototypes built in 1981 by British Rail Engineering at Derby as a possible solution to operating lightly-trafficked branch lines. It operated in England for a year in the Bristol-Temple Meads area. Since 1990 it was on display in the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Cultra. The DCDR acquired it in March 2001. See also Archive News.

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Sligo, Leitrim & Northern Counties Railcar B (later CIE 2509)
SLNCR B at Inchicore
SLNCR B at Durrow
SLNCR 'B' in Inchicore prior to delivery to Downpatrick
SLNCR 'B' as CIE 2509 in better days at Durrow.

The SLNCR was a small standard gauge line linking Enniskillen on the Great Northern system with Sligo on the Midland Great Western system, later to become part of the Great Southern Railway and finally CIE. It traversed fairly sparsely populated country and the bulk of its traffic was cattle, passenger traffic representing a relatively small proportion of its custom.

Like the GNR(I), the CDR, the L&LSR, and the DN&GR, partition of Ireland in 1921 adversely affected the operation of the railway. Like them also, the Sligo and Leitrim faced increasing competition from road transport. In 1932 the SLNCR. tried out a GNR railcar on their line. It is not clear now whether this was railcar 'A' or 'B', both of which came into service with the GNR in 1932. However the railcar's attractive operating characteristics encouraged the SL&NCR to order their first railbus, 'A', in 1934 from the Great Northern. This railbus was delivered in 1935 and was followed over the next few years by others, as described in the chapter on railbuses.

In 1947 the SLNCR took delivery of a railcar from Walker Bros. of Wigan. This railcar, which was designated 'B', was purchased as the result of the company's desire to reduce the operating costs of its scant passenger traffic. This had been handled for the most part, since the introduction of its first railbus, 'A' in 1935, by a number of railbuses. These had been converted from road buses by the GNR, specially for the Sligo and Leitrim. The operating economics of the railbuses had persuaded the directors of the permanently financially straitened SLNCR to invest £10,500 in a larger purpose-built railcar similar to the ones which had been such a success on the CDR and GNR.

Railcar 'B' was powered by a 102hp Gardner diesel engine mounted on a four-wheeled power bogie on which was constructed the forward driving cab which enclosed the engine assembly. The power bogie was of the four coupled wheel arrangement with outside rods. It was articulated to the main passenger coach, which was carried on a plain bogie. Transmission consisted of a fluid flywheel, a Wilson epicyclic gearbox, propeller shaft, and an air-operated final drive and reverser unit. The railcar was 54' 11¼" long, 9' 6" wide and weighed 18 tons 12 cwt. Maximum speed was 45 mph. It returned a fuel consumption of 12 mpg and operating costs of 4d. per mile, one eighth those of a steam train

It could accommodate 59 passengers in a two-three seating arrangement. Unlike the Donegal and the G.N.R.'s 'C'-class railcars, also Walker Bros.' designs, railcar 'B' could be driven from either end. There was a full cab at the engine end and a half-cab was set into the rear of the coach section.. The vehicle was, for its time, modern, comfortable, attractive looking and was well liked by both passengers and staff.

When the GNR closed in 1957, Railcar 'B' was bought by CIE and became railcar 2509. It was used for driver training, light passenger work, and a few enthusiasts' railtours. It was finally withdrawn from regular passenger workings in 1970-71, its last duties having been on the Limerick-Nenagh line, and ran its last railtour, for the Irish Railway Record Society, in 1971 . At present it is stored at Downpatrick in very poor condition, and various avenues are being explored to hopefully see this railcar restored.

Railcar 'B's SLNCR colour scheme was the two-tone green scheme also applied to the company's road and railbuses. When in service with CIE it carried that operator's green livery up until 1962 and after that date the black and orange livery.

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NIR Hedgecutter
Hedgecutter in Action

This is probably one of the most useful vehicle we have acquired, being able to beat into submission hedges that have enjoyed growing willy-nilly for 50 years.

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Wickham Inspection Vehicles
Wickham Inspection Vehicle
Rosie the Wickham Inspection Vehicle
The ITG's track inspection vehicle
"Rosie" undergoing her overhaul

This vehicle is on loan to the DCDR from the Irish Traction Group, and is currently in store prior to overhaul. Another inspection vehicle has been purchased by a volunteer Peter Mutton, and is currently being given a full overhaul. It has somehow gained the name "Rosie".

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