At a glance:
Builder: Metro-Cammell (Birmingham)
Build date: 1952
Original company: British Railways (Southern Region)
Withdrawal date: 2001
Final company: Northern Ireland Railways
Arrived at DCDR: 2001
Current status: Scrapped
Current owner: DCDR

C496 was built in 1952, to a design introduced by the London & South Western Railway as early as 1903! It is a ballast hopper, designed to drop stones onto the track as required. Built by Metro-Cammell as part of a batch of 50 and originally numbered 62028, it was used by British Rail until 1981 when it, and five others, were sold to Northern Ireland Railways.

Known as ‘Walrus’ hoppers, NIR used them until 2001, even after taking delivery of six new French-built hoppers in 1992. C496’s last mainline job was on the Antrim – Bleach Green section of line when it was being relaid for reopening that year. It was then purchased by us and used by our Permanent Way team during the extension work to Inch Abbey. Today, C496 stands by ready and waiting for our next big extension project, though a bit of work is required before the hopper can be used again.

This hopper was scrapped in March 2023 as it was beyond repair, and the arrival of ballast hoppers and a plough van from Iarnród Éireann meant there was no further need for it. After failing to find a new home for it, including in England, we decided to scrap it to raise much needed money for the railway.