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Journal 183  - Motive Power


071-Class Work continues on overhauling long out of service locomotives. 085 returned to service in November after major overhaul. On 26 November it ran from Inchicore to Portlaoise PWD yard to work re-laying trains during nights based in Portlaoise.

078, which was stopped on 19 March 2011, returned to service in January after major overhaul including overhauled bogies, body overhaul, replacement of missing parts and re-paint. On Friday 10 January it operated a trial to Sallins and the following week worked a trial with Tara wagons.

Work continues on the major overhaul of 087, the last remaining long-term out of service class member, which was stopped on 17 November 2010. It was released from the paint shop during December after body overhaul and is expected to be back in service by summer.

IÉ has modified its painting scheme to include legible original locomotive numbers in addition to the European Vehicle Number. 085 appeared with legible “085” under the driver’s windscreen and under each of the cab side windows.

Stabled at Inchicore for the Christmas shutdown were 072, 074, 075, 078, 081, 083, 084, 085, 086, 088, 218, 221, with 076 and 087 also stopped for repairs.

IÉ has advertised for a contractor to overhaul approximately 90 radiator and intercooler cores from the 071-class. IÉ will remove the cores and make them available for the contractor to overhaul. The cores will be refitted by IÉ

201-Class 228 was undergoing its 4-year examination in Inchicore in January.

206 suffered a major engine failure at Lisburn on Monday 18 November while working the 13:20 Dublin-Belfast. It was operating in Head End Power mode at the time i.e. the engine was running at full speed all the time regardless of train speed. 209 was dispatched from York Rd to haul it to the depot there. 113 hauled 206 from York Rd to Dublin Connolly on 21 November and later 086 hauled it to Inchicore. It was undergoing a 6-year examination in Inchicore in January.


22000-Class ICR Re-configuration The programme of converting 3-car and 6-car sets to make up 45 4-car sets commenced in October. IÉs primary objective was to save €3m on fuel and maintenance by running smaller trains and to allow more Mk IV sets to be stored. The re-configuration represented one of the more significant changes to InterCity services for many years due to its effect on passengers. The plan was to re-configure the 234 carriage 22000-class fleet from 48 3-car and 15 6-car sets into 3 and 4-car sets only. This is being achieved by taking 2 intermediate vehicles out of each the 6-car sets and adding one vehicle to 30 3-car sets.

The first sets to be altered were the High Capacity 6-car ICRs, with powered intermediate vehicles 226xx and 227xx being removed. The first conversion was 6-car set 22041 donating two vehicles to 3-car sets 22021 and 22022, resulting in three 4-car sets. The first 4-car set entered traffic on Monday 14 October when 22021 worked the 06:45 Portlaoise-Dublin Heuston, 08:00 Dublin-Cork and 11:20 Cork-Dublin. 4-car set 22022 entered service on the 15:20 Portlaoise-Dublin and then worked the 18:15 Dublin-Westport instead of the usual 6-car set. 4-car set 22041 entered service next day, working the 15:52 Laois Traincare Depot-Dublin and 18:15 Dublin-Westport.

6-car High Capacity set 22043 lost vehicles to 3-car sets 22025 and 22026. 4-car set 22026 entered service on Thursday 17 October and 4-car set 22025 entered service on Monday 21 October. Set 22044 donated vehicles to sets 22027 and 22028.

After all the High Capacity 6-car sets had been converted work then commenced on converting the Premier Class 6-car sets into 4-car sets. In this case powered intermediate vehicles 224xx and 225xx were removed as the 226xx and 227xx vehicles in these sets contained electric connections to back-up the high demand dining car 221xx vehicles if their own engine failed.

ICR Re-configured Set Issues Within a short period problems with severe overcrowding became apparent as 6-car trains were replaced with 4-car sets. There were many high profile examples such as the replacement of a 6-car set on the 17:05 Dublin-Sligo with a 4-car set on a Friday resulting in severe overcrowding. IÉ issued an apology, blaming an error for this occurrence. The 17:05 was quickly rostered for a 4-car + 3-car formation, which still had passengers standing beyond Maynooth on Fridays and some weekdays. IÉ said “During the reconfiguration process the 17:05 Connolly to Sligo was temporarily reduced from a 6 carriage to a 4 carriage train. However, this train is now operating as a 7 carriage train, giving a net benefit to customers on the route.”

The 05:40 Longford-Dublin Pearse, which the NTA survey for 2012 had noted as the busiest morning InterCity train on the line with 435 passengers, was also initially rostered for a 4-car set and this led to overcrowding. IÉ said "We are currently in the process of reconfiguring our passenger fleet and capacity levels are a bit fluid at the moment … This means that on some mornings there is additional capacity, while on others the capacity is less than normal. Once the reconfiguration of the fleet has been completed, there will be adequate capacity on the 05:40 from Longford.” IÉ also said "The inflexibility of only operating 3, 6 or 9 carriage trains has led to capacity shortages on some services and oversupply on others... While this reconfiguration is taking place, some services have been shorter than planned on a temporary basis, but these are corrected as quickly as possible. Furthermore, the company is also monitoring the impact of the planned changes, and will adjust train sizes should demand require it."

On the Dublin-Waterford line capacity was also reduced on morning services to Dublin. Reductions from 6-cars to 4-cars on the 07:50 Waterford-Dublin resulted in some passengers being offered bus transfers from Athy as the train was already full departing Kilkenny. On Sundays when the 18:05 Waterford-Dublin ran as a 4-car set, passengers had to stand from Kilkenny (80 miles).

In response to a parliamentary question in December, the Minister for Transport said “Concerns about overcrowding have been raised with the Chief Executive of IÉ and I understand the company has responded and reintroduced large carriages [sic] to accommodate passengers where this has been considered necessary… I have also been advised by the RSC that it has received an increased number of public representations relating to crowding and the matter will be discussed further with IÉ at their next scheduled supervision meeting. Additionally, RSC inspectors will undertake some monitoring of InterCity train service over the coming weeks.” He also said that IÉ “has agreed to continuous monitoring of carriage levels on both DART and InterCity services to ensure they match demand”.

4-car sets continued to be used on Dublin-Cork services that had previously been operated by 8-car Mk IV sets. On Friday 6 December the 15:00 Dublin-Cork, which has a connection for Tralee at Mallow, was a 4-car ICR and was announced as having standing room only from 14:15. There were also examples of overcrowding on other lines. On the 19:05 Dublin-Sligo on Friday 13 December passengers had to stand to beyond Mullingar. On Saturday 14 December passengers on the 11:00 Waterford-Dublin had to stand from Carlow as it was a 4-car set during the busy shopping period.

Among the few beneficiaries of the changes were some services on the Dublin-Rosslare and Mallow-Tralee lines that run with 4-car instead of 3-car sets. Some of the 3-car Cork-Dublin services that were badly overcrowded at times during the summer became 4-car trains. However, Cork rail passenger levels are under pressure due to express bus services which operate hourly, have significantly cheaper turn up and go fares, are as quick as trains and guarantee the passenger a seat. One bus operator said passenger volumes on its Dublin-Cork non-stop bus route had grown by more than 50% in the last year.

Other set workings were noted which suited set rosters rather than passenger loadings. The lightly loaded 19:35 Dublin-Galway was regularly observed as a 7-car formation.

4-car sets created difficulties in Limerick Junction. The remaining bay platform is divided into two sections. Each section is long enough for a 3-car set and is not particularly suitable for 4-car sets.

ICR Further Re-configurations By December after four Premier Class sets had been converted from 6-car to 4-car it was decided to further re-configure the ICR fleet. Premier Class 22031-40 would be changed to 5-car sets instead of 4-car sets with the number of 3-car sets increasing. The revised scheme is noted in the table below.



22001 – 10


22011 – 30

4 car

22031 – 40

5-car Premier Class

22041 – 45


22046 – 63


This meant re-converting some 4-car sets back to 3-car sets, starting with set 22007. Intermediate 22434 was removed on 12 December and stored on Laois Traincare Depot.

The first 5-car set was 22035 and this re-entered service on Monday 16 December, with 22535 having being removed from the 6-car set. Other 5-car sets to enter service were 22036 and 22037 on Tuesday 17 December. 22037 gave up intermediate 22537 to 3-car set 22017.

At the start of 2014 there were four 4-car Premier Class sets awaiting conversion to 5-car sets. 22038 re-entered service as a 5-car set on Wednesday 8 January on the 15:20 Portlaoise-Dublin and 18:15 Dublin-Westport. 22039 re-entered service as a 5-car set on Thursday 9 January on the 17:25 Dublin-Limerick. 22018 re-entered service as a 4-car set on the 07:20 Portlaoise-Dublin on Saturday 11 January. In mid-January set 22031 was reformed to a 5-car Premier Class set when vehicle 22431 was put back into the set from 22001.

The final 6-car working was Premier Class set 22040 working the 18:10 Dublin-Portlaoise on Monday 13 January, after which it was taken out for service to conversion to a 5-car set. It returned to service the following week.

22000-Class ICR Route Clearance From October 4-car ICRs were permitted on all routes with the exception of those noted below which are restricted to 3-cars:

1.    Heuston Station - Platform 1

2.    Limerick-Ennis

3.    Ennis-Athenry

4.    Cork-Cobh / Midleton

5.    Ballybrophy-Killonan Jct, (It is not permitted to pick-up or set-down passengers at the Up Loop platforms in Roscrea or Birdhill.)

7-car ICRs were permitted to operate on the following routes with the exception of entering the some platforms (not generally listed here):

1.    Heuston-Westport

2.    Heuston-Galway

3.    Heuston-Limerick (via Limerick Jct. Station and loop)

4.    Heuston-Tralee

5.    Heuston-Cork

6.    Heuston-Waterford (not Kilkenny platforms).

7.    Connolly-Dundalk

8.    Connolly-Greystones

9.    Connolly-Sligo

From Thursday 5 December route clearance was granted for empty 8 car ICRs between Heuston and Portlaoise Traincare Depot.

On Sunday 10 November, 4-car set 22004 worked a 07:20 Drogheda-Belfast Central test train. It undertook trials between Belfast and Lisburn before returning to Drogheda. Another trial took place on Sunday 8 December using set 22002.

On Sunday 12 January the sole remaining 6-car ICR set operated a clearance trial to Belfast, departing Dundalk at 07:44. 22040 ran several trials between Central and Lisburn over the Bearing Acoustic Monitor fixed at track level near Adelaide. On one trial it operated to GVS to turn the set in advance of re-formation to a 5-car set the following week.

22000-class Maintenance IÉ has awarded a contract to carry out the maintenance and overhaul of the MTU 6H1800 Power Packs to LH Group Holdings Ltd of Derby.

29000-class IÉ has advertised for “innovative proposals for the design, supply, and installation of equipment to provide an energy saving benefit on the roof mounted heating ventilation air conditioning (HVAC) module on the 29000-Class”. The fleet is fitted with two types of the roof mounted HVAC models which were manufactured by MERAK of Spain in 2003. 116 cars are equipped with a saloon HVAC unit and 58 driving cars (DM1 & DM2) are equipped with cab HVAC units. IÉ has 5 spare saloon and 2 spare cab modules.

The remainder of this article appears in IRRS Journal number 183, published February 2014 

Copyright © 2014 by Irish Railway Record Society Ltd.
Revised: July 04, 2014 .