Tech­ni­cal hitch holds up No. 85 – min­utes be­fore it was due to op­er­ate a rail­tour.

Steam Railway (UK) - - IRISH -

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.

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