075 at Westport on its first passenger train post-rebuild following accident damage, 29/03/99 (JW)
One class of diesel loco outside the UK that has a dedicated following is the Iarnród Éireann 071 Class.
This 18-strong, 2,250hp General Motors design has been phenomenally successful. Built in 1976, they worked out of the box, have frequently given 100% availability, and remain in traffic even today. This post is not, however, intended to give a comprehensive history of the class – that will follow at another time.
The days when we used to charge around Ireland behind these locos on service trains at design speed are long gone. Happily, there are a number of railtours planned to use them during 2017.
Class leader no.071 has been repainted in something approximating the livery it was built in (photo here) and no.073 is currently (17/05/17) in the Inchicore paint shop being painted back into the Irish Rail livery of the late 1980s and early 1990s. It’s likely, therefore, that these tours may feature these two machines – indeed, the October tour booked for a pair is almost guaranteed to, barring failures.
Sunday 28th May 2017 – 11:25 / 13:35 / 16:35 Howth to Dublin Connolly top and tail with steam locos (no.461 starts, to be replaced by no.85 “Merlin” at some point during the day), €10 per trip, €27 day rover. Operated by RPSI. Link.
Saturday 12th August 2017 – 09:35 Dublin Connolly to Howth and back, then to Sligo and back, £65. Operated by the Irish Railway Record Society. Link.
Sunday 20th August 2017 –
10:30 Dublin Connolly to Kilkenny and return, “Radio Train” vice steam loco. Operated by RPSI. Link. Cancelled.
Saturday 9th September 2017 – NIR 111 Class 07:30 Whitehead (Excursion Platforms) to Dublin Connolly
for an 071 to Rosslare Strand and forward to Sligo and return as outward. Operated by the Modern Railway Society of Ireland. Link. UPDATED
Saturday 14th October 2017 – 2 x 071, Dublin Connolly to Cork and Tralee and return, £57.50. Operated by the RPSI. Link. (This is planned to be the first occasion that two JT22CWs have powered a train together for over 21 years – since this tour, in fact!)
The above is a link to an excellent video on YouTube by Metro Vick, giving a flavour of exactly what it was about these hellfire machines that made them so popular in their heyday.