At a glance:
Builder: General Motors Electro-Motive Division (La Grange, Illinois, USA)
Build date: 1962
Original company: Córas Iompair Éireann
Withdrawal date: 2010
Final company: Iarnród Éireann
Arrived at DCDR: 2010
Current status: Operational
Current owner: ITG

146 is one of the five diesels at Downpatrick which belong to our friends at the Irish Traction Group. It was built in 1962 by General Motors of Chicago as part of an order of 37 locomotives for CIÉ designated the B141 Class, and entered into service on the 14th of December that year.

The ‘B’ Class is of Bo-Bo arrangement, and were originally capable of 960HP with a top speed of 75mph. Although some were re-engined with power units taken from withdrawn ‘C’ 201s, 146 retains its original GM 8-567CR engine block. Extremely versatile locomotives thanks to their having cabs at both ends, the class helped to usher in the end of mainline steam on the CIÉ network and were equally at home on goods and passenger trains. They were fitted for multiple working as ‘pairs’, both within their class and with CIÉ’s other Bo-Bo GM locomotives, which enabled them to pull even the heaviest trains on the network.

146 was taken off passenger services in 2008, but continued its work on permanent way and freight trains around Limerick and Mayo until it was finally withdrawn in March 2010. It was soon purchased for preservation by the Irish Traction Group, who then needed to find a home for the locomotive. DCDR was the obvious choice, and with another of the group’s locomotives (A39) having proved its worth on Downpatrick metals the previous year, we didn’t need asked twice.

146 arrived at our railway on a cold November morning in 2010, and was soon put to work hauling the empty carriage movements for that year’s Christmas operations. Apart from one cab being rebuilt in 2012 and the other in 2014, 146 has been a DCDR mainstay and a real workhorse for our railway.

A huge hit with the public and easy on train crews, 146 is a popular locomotive on our diesel days and for shunting operations – and everything in between! It even saved our summer trains in 2018, when the particularly scorching weather dried the ground out so much we couldn’t use our steam loco due to fire risk. Without 146, it’s safe to say DCDR would be well and truly stumped!