Locomotive B103 is the sole
surviving member of a class of twelve Sulzer engined 101 (B)
class locomotives built by the Birmingham Railway Carriage &
Wagon Company (BRCW) at Smethwick, Birmingham, in 1956. The
locomotives were constructed using parts originally ordered from
Sulzer in 1948 for six twin-engined locomotives.
B103 entered service on 13th
August 1956, and ran in service with CIE until it was eventually
stopped on 17th November 1977. These locomotives operated all
types of traffic all over the CIE system. In their final years
these locomotives did very little work, mainly being confined to
engineer’s trains. The last member of this class to run in
service was B106, which soldiered on until 7th February 1978.
These locomotives were then stored at Inchicore until 1984, when
a decision was made to finally dispose of them for scrap. In the
intervening years most of the class, including B103, had been
stored in one long siding on the up side of the main line at
Inchicore, acting as a “sound barrier” for passing trains to the
adjacent houses. Only B103 was spared the cutters torch, as it
had been originally earmarked for preservation by WESTRAIL at
Tuam, Co. Galway. B103 then languished at Inchicore Works until
1992, along with prototype Sulzer locomotives B113 and B114,
pending eventual sale to their prospective new owners.
Alarmed by the apparent lack of
progress, and the locomotive’s deteriorating condition, the ITG
then approached Iarnród Éireann to ask if they would contact
WESTRAIL to see if they still wanted to take up their option to
purchase this locomotive. In April 1993 the ITG was informed
that it could now purchase the locomotive, and it was eventually
sold to the Group on 27th April 1993. Locomotive B103 was
initially moved from Inchicore Works to Kildare in a ballast
train on 1st July 1993. Two days later, on 3rd July 1993, B103
was hauled from Kildare to Limerick Junction where it was to
remain until 14th August 1993, when it was hauled to Carrick-On-Suir
in a liner train.
This locomotive has been stored
outside the Goods Store at Carrick-On-Suir since its arrival.
The locomotive was reasonably intact when purchased by the
Group, but the bodywork was in very poor condition. When
locomotive B103 was first delivered to Carrick-On-Suir, the cab
and engine room windows were boarded up for security. Around two
years later, B103 was given a coat of green undercoat to help
protect the bodywork from the elements. Later on, the locomotive
was repainted in black livery in an attempt to improve its
However, during 2003, a “dodgy
looking” grey substance was found inside one of the cab doors.
Further analysis revealed that this substance was asbestos.
Asbestos was also found in the bulkheads between the cabs and
engine room. A suitably qualified contractor was recommended by
Iarnród Éireann, and the offending substance was professionally
removed in March 2004.
During April/May 2010, the
locomotive was encased in a protective cladding in order to help
protect the bodywork from further deterioration until such time
that restoration work can finally commence.
103 following withdrawal stored at Inchicore
23 October 1992. Derek Thompson.
In April/May 2010 a protective layer of steel cladding was put
around locomotive B103 to help protect the locomotive’s
Photo: Aidan Kehoe
Both Locomotive B103 and Deutz locomotive G601 have now been
covered with a protective layer of steel cladding. Photo: Aidan
Kehoe. Photos: Aiden Kehoe 24 February 2007