Published on August 7th, 2014 | by admin0
Classic Locomotives Of Northern Ireland
Continuing our series of blog posts recalling some of the fantastic steam engines of the past, it’s time to take a look at some of the iconic Classic Locomotives of Northern Ireland.
Amongst the trains that once graced the railways of Northern Ireland was the Ulster Transport Authority W Class No. 103 ‘Thomas Somerset’ locomotive.
Founded in 1948, the Ulster Transport Authority (UTA) was a bus and railway operator in existence until 1966. Responsible for a network of track spanning 340 miles, the UTA also inherited 90 locomotives, 140 carriages and almost 3,000 goods wagons.
Amongst the stock controlled by the UTA, the W Class No. 103 ‘Thomas Somerset’ locomotive was designed under the supervision of engineer H P Stewart between 1933 and 1942 and was named after the Chairman of the Northern Counties Committee (NCC) of the London Midland & Scottish Railway which was combined with the UTA in 1949.
As a mixed traffic engine, the W Class No. 103 was used for both passenger and heavy goods transportation requirements with the design based on the LMS family of 2-6-4Ts. Withdrawn from service between 1956 and 1965, unfortunately none have been preserved for admiration in the modern day.
Another steam engine from the past as featured in the Classic Locomotives of Northern Ireland stamp cards is the UTA SG3 Class No. 35. Part of a single batch of 15 locomotives constructed in 1920-21, the SG3 class was built in Manchester by Beyer, Peacock.
Remembered as one of the most powerful steam trains of that time, the SG3 was often referred to as the ‘Big D’s’ reflecting the fact that it handled the heaviest goods trains on the GNRI (Great Northern Railway (Ireland)).
The UTA SG3 Class No. 35 could boast 191/2in x 26in cylinders as well as 24,107Ib tractive effort and 5ft diameter boilers making it a highly sought after steam engine of the time before it was then withdrawn from service between 1959 and 1965.
Steam engines were operational in Northern Ireland as recently as 1970 and one such locomotive which has been maintained for admiration today is the Peckett No. 2 which was one of only three identical 3ft gauge 0-4-0T locomotives produced. Built for the British Aluminium Co. in Larne, Peckett No.2 was constructed in 1906. Along with Peckett No.1 and No.3, it had 7in x 10in cylinders and 1ft 8in diameter wheels.
Peckett No. 2 remains on display to this day at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Cultra, near Belfast alongside Maedb, deemed to be the largest and most powerful steam locomotives ever to be built and run in Ireland.
Completing the set of steam trains featured in the Classic Locomotives of Northern Ireland is the CDRJC Class 5 No.4 which was built in 1912 featuring 151/2in cylinders and superheaters. Standing for the County Donegal Railways Joint Committee, CDRJC operated track equating to 124 miles to which the five Class 5 locomotives operated on until they were then scrapped in 1940.
The CDRJC Class 5 No.4 locomotive featuring a powerful class 5 2-6-4Ts engine was made at Nasmyth Wilson & Co. in Manchester.