At a glance:
Builder: Great Southern & Western Railway (Inchicore Works)
Build date: 1888
Original company: Great Southern & Western Railway
Withdrawal date: 1968
Final company: Córas Iompair Éireann
Arrived at DCDR: 1992
Current status: Under restoration
Current owner: Privately owned

Often called ‘Wee 69′ (so it doesn’t get confused with our 80 class railcar), this coach was built as a full brake at the Great Southern and Western Railway’s works at Inchicore, Dublin in 1888. Although it was designed to a style similar to a regular carriage so it could travel at express passenger speeds and match the profile of other coaches in the train, 69 didn’t have passenger accommodation. Instead it carried the train’s guard as well as light goods such as parcels, newspapers, and passengers’ luggage. In addition, it had both a birdcage and guard’s duckets; these were protrusions from the roof and sides respectively that afforded the Guard better visibility when looking down his train.

In 1923, 69 was rebuilt, losing its birdcage in the process. It retained the duckets however, and today it is one of only three carriages in Ireland to have them. A carriage of the same type – very possibly 69 itself – appeared in the 1952 film, ”The Quiet Man”, which starred John Wayne. When 69 was withdrawn from service in 1968 it was one of the last three six-wheeled carriages on CIÉ’s books, and the only six-wheeler in the country to have had gangway connections (although these were later removed).

69 was purchased for preservation by the ‘BCDR Museum Trust’, who stored it at Adelaide yard in Belfast until they were asked to move it in 1979. Accordingly, it was relocated to a quarry in Seaforde, where it remained until 1992 after being purchased privately by one of our members. It was subsequently moved to Downpatrick, and work had been ongoing in recent years to turn it into a first class coach with a brake compartment and large observation windows at both ends.