At a glance:
Builder: Córas Iompair Éireann (Inchicore Works)
Build date: 1957
Original company: Córas Iompair Éireann
Withdrawal date: 1986
Final company: Córas Iompair Éireann
Arrived at DCDR: 1988
Current status: Stored
Current owner: DCDR

One of the few remaining ‘laminate’ coaches (which take their name from the laminated wood used in their construction), 1918 was built as composite No. 2163 in 1957. Produced at Inchicore Works, it sat 40 in first class and 36 in standard with a vestibule in between It was one of nine such coaches built and was renumbered as 1605 in 1970.

In 1971 the carriage was rebuilt as a brake standard, becoming 1918 in the process. It could now seat 50, with a large Guard’s compartment at one end. It was withdrawn in 1986 due to a hot box, and purchased for preservation by us two years later along with two other CIÉ carriages; 3223 and 2419. Our first attempt to move the three to Downpatrick from Dublin failed due to the haulier sending the wrong type of lorry, and so instead they were moved by rail to Adelaide yard in Belfast from where they could then complete the journey to Downpatrick by road.

1918 was soon pressed into service, with its first use at Downpatrick being in late 1988. It remained in passenger use until 2007, when it was converted to a buffet coach with kitchen hobs and a bar counter at the brake end. To accommodate this, the Guard’s compartment was removed and the handbrake was re-sited closer to the vestibule gangway. Though later replaced as the buffet coach by 2419, it remained as part of the buffet set.

1918, as with the rest of the buffet set, was taken out of everyday use in August 2018 having been replaced by 458. For various reasons however, 458 is not yet ready for winter operations and so 1918 continues to be used as part of our buffet train during our Christmas running season, when it also doubles up as a queuing area for Santa’s grotto. Once 458 is ready, we plan to take the buffet set fully out of service to enable its overhaul, potentially starting with 1918 to return it to passenger operations.