Locomotive B146 was built
for Coras Iompair Éireann (CIE), the Irish State owned transport
company by General Motors at their premises at La Grange,
Illinois, USA in 1962. B146 was part of a class of 37 Bo-Bo
locomotives, designated “B” class and numbered B141 – B177
The 141 (B) class
locomotives could be seen working all over the Irish Rail
network, operating both local and express passenger, and also
freight and engineering services, either singly, or in multiple
with other 141 (B) class, 181 (B) class and even 121 (B) class
B146 entered traffic with
CIE on 14th December 1962. The letter prefix “B” was
dropped from 1972 onwards, and the locomotive eventually became
The 141 (B) class
locomotives were originally fitted with a GM 8-567CR engine of
950 hp when built. During the course of their operating lives
several of the 141 (B) class locomotives had their original
engines exchanged with GM 8-567CR engines from 121 (B) class
locomotives and also with the more powerful GM 8-B645E engines
from 181 (B) class locomotives. In addition, several examples of
the 141 (B) class locomotives were also fitted with GM 8-B645E
engines recovered from former 201 (C) class locomotives.
Eventually, all the remaining GM 8-567CR engines were modified
and upgraded to the equivalent of the GM 8-B645E engine, but
still retaining the original engine block. Locomotive 146 still
retains the original GM 8-567CR type engine block.
The first locomotive of
the class to be withdrawn was locomotive 174, which was taken
out of service in October 1993 in need of a body overhaul. Other
early withdrawals were locomotives 161 (May 1996), 158 (March
1999), 150 (May 2003) and 157 (July 2003). Between 2006 and 2009
most the other remaining members of this class were gradually
taken out of service by Iarnród Éireann, either following major
failure, mishap, were due major repairs, or simply surplus to
requirements, with only a handful of examples remaining in
service by the end of 2009. The last surviving examples were
withdrawn from main line service in February 2010, although
three examples, 162, 171 and 175, have been retained in
operational condition for pilot duties at Inchicore Works and
North Wall for the foreseeable future.
Locomotive 146 spent
around the last 2 years in service operating freight services
and engineer’s trains mainly around the Limerick and Mayo area.
It was eventually taken out of traffic and withdrawn in March
2010 and sold to the Irish Traction Group in May 2010 for
preservation. It was finally moved from Inchicore Works, Dublin,
to the Downpatrick & Co. Down Railway, Downpatrick, Co. Down, by
Allelys low-loader on 27th November 2010.
Attempts to start
locomotive 146 shortly after its arrival failed due to the
locomotive’s batteries being flat. Subsequent attempts over the
weekend of 27th/28th November 2010 to
re-charge the batteries and start the locomotive also failed as
it was found that several of the batteries were defective.
Following two weeks on charge, and the replacement of the
defective batteries by new ones, another attempt to start
locomotive 146 was made at 11:40 on 11th December
2010. This time the locomotive started first time.
Following an examination
to ensure everything on the locomotive was working correctly,
146 was then used to undertake light shunting duties. Following
this, locomotive 146 was then driven slowly light engine through
the platform road at Downpatrick Station to check clearances. It
then ran light engine to North Junction, and then reversed back
again from there into the back Loop Platform at walking pace in
order to check the clearances there. Locomotive 146 was then
coupled to the empty stock off the line’s Santa Specials, which
it then propelled back out of the back Loop Platform as far as
the South Junction, and then hauled it directly back to
Downpatrick Station via the other face of the Loop Platform,
again passing through the platform at walking pace to check
clearances. The following day, 12th December 2010,
locomotive 146 was successfully started first time, and was used
to haul the empty stock for the Santa Specials to the back Loop
Platform. Following this, locomotive 146 then ran light engine
to Inch abbey and back to check platform clearances there.
Following completion of the day’s operations, locomotive 146
returned the empty stock back from the back Loop Platform to
This locomotive is now
fully operational, and now forms a valuable part of the
Downpatrick & Co. Down Railway’s diesel fleet.
146 at Limerick Jn 31/03/07 Aidan Kehoe
on a shale
train at Birdhill on 25/06/2008 Kileen O’Donohoe
146 + 145 at Inchicore 01/05/04
Locomotive 146 is winched off the Allelys’ low-loader onto the
rails at Downpatrick station on 27th November 2010.
Photo: Ken Manto.
Locomotive 146 stands outside the Maghera Shed at Downpatrick
alongside O&K steam locomotive 3 shortly after delivery on 27th
November 2010. Photo: Ken Manto.
Locomotive 146’s engine busts into life for the first time in
preservation at 11:40 on 11th December 2010. Photo: