‘JEEP’ STEPS IN AS COMPOUND GETS STUCK ON TURNTABLE
Technical hitch holds up No. 85 – minutes before it was due to operate a railtour.
J ‘ eep’ No. 4 saved the day on September 12 when Compound Merlin became trapped on the turntable at Dublin Connolly, shortly before it was due to operate a railtour.
The turntable stuck partway through turning the GNR(I) Class ‘V’ 4-4-0. While efforts continued to release No. 85, the LMS(NCC) ‘WT’ 2-6-4T – which was in steam in readiness for a light engine trip to Whitehead – was hurriedly prepared to haul ‘The Boyne’ trains to Drogheda and Balbriggan.
Joe McKeown, the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s Dublin operations officer, said: “Despite the best efforts of all concerned, the turntable beside the shed at Connolly would not budge.
“It was most fortunate that No. 4 was available, or the train would have gone out diesel-hauled.”
An RPSI squad from Whitehead managed to get the temperamental turntable moving again on September 19. It was determined that the fault was a misaligned guide rail with a ‘hump’ on it, which the outer wheels could not move past when under load.
Although part of the Irish Rail infrastructure, the turntable is primarily used by the RPSI and is key to the operation of the society’s trains from Dublin.
Despite the last-minute switch, No. 4 pulled out of Dublin with ‘The Boyne’ just five minutes late, and ran on time for the rest of the day, even arriving back at Connolly seven minutes early on the last of the three shuttles, the 4.15pm from Drogheda. Between them, the trains carried more than 1,000 passengers.
But the episode meant a wasted trip to Dublin for the Translink NI Railways footplate crew, who had travelled from Belfast to bring No. 4 back to Whitehead.
That trip was postponed until Saturday September 22, but the following day No. 4 was back in Dublin again, at the head of the RPSI’s fully booked ‘Steam Enterprise’ special.
Merlin then hauled the train back north to Whitehead, leaving No. 4 to operate the rest of the year’s tours from Dublin.
LMS(NCC) ‘WT’ 2-6-4T No. 4 drifts past Howth Junction with the final leg of ‘The Boyne’ special from Balbriggan to Dublin on September 16.