Locomotive C226 was built for
Coras Iompair Éireann (CIE), the Irish State owned transport
company by Metropolitan Vickers at their premises at Dukinfield,
Manchester, in 1956. C226 was part of a class of 34 Bo-Bo
locomotives, designated “C” class and numbered C201 – C234
inclusive, which were ordered as part of the drive to eliminate
the majority of steam traction from the railways of the Irish
Republic in the late 1950s. The contract to build these
locomotives was signed at Heuston Station, Dublin, on 5th
May 1954. The bodies for the thirty-four “C” class locomotives
were constructed by Metropolitan Cammell at their Midland Works
in Birmingham between 1956 and 1958. The English Steel
Corporation constructed the bogies in Sheffield, and Crossley
Brothers at Openshaw, Manchester, supplied the engines. The
electrical equipment for these locomotives was provided by
Metropolitan Vickers Electrical Co. Ltd. The completed
locomotive bodies were then transported by low loader to
Metropolitan Vickers’s premises at Dukinfield, Manchester, for
fitting of their engine/generator sets, bogies and for testing
prior to shipping to Ireland.
C226 entered traffic with CIE on 21st August 1957. When built,
these locomotives were originally fitted with a Crossley ESTVee8
engine of 550 hp. However, the Crossley engines proved to be
extremely troublesome and unreliable. In 1969, the decision was
taken to re-engine the whole class with General Motors 8-B645E
engines of 1100 hp. C226 itself was re-engined on 10th June
1972, and subsequently re-numbered B226 to reflect its higher
power classification. Eventually, the letter prefix “B” was
dropped, and the locomotive became 226. Locomotive 226 continued
in service with CIE until it was stored unserviceable with an
engine defect on 5th May 1984. The locomotive was officially
withdrawn on 25th September 1986. 226 covered a total of 612,000
miles during service, 305,000 miles while fitted with a Crossley
engine and 307,000 miles whilst fitted with a GM engine.
May 1990-December 1992
During May 1990 the fledgling Irish Traction Group (ITG)
approached Iarnród Éireann with a view to purchasing a “C” class
locomotive for preservation. At this stage the Group did not
know if they would be offered a complete locomotive, or a gutted
shell. On 28th May 1990 a few members of the ITG, accompanied by
an Iarnród Éireann representative, examined the eight remaining
“C” class locomotives at Inchicore Works that were still fitted
with a GM 8-B645E engine. At this stage, many of the remaining
“C” class locomotives had seen their 8-B645E engines removed for
re-use in the 121/141/181 class GM locomotives, and a scrap
engine dumped in its place.
Following some hours of examination, locomotives 209, 226 and
231 were found to be the most complete and the best candidates
for preservation. 226 was eventually selected for preservation
by the Group. Over the following 18 months, Iarnród Éireann put
locomotive 226 to one side, and tried to keep it under cover
whenever possible to enable the locomotive to dry out prior to
restoration taking place. Once the ITG had come to an agreement
to rent the Old Goods Store at Carrick-On-Suir station,
locomotive 226 was released for sale.
226 was purchased by the ITG on 23rd October 1992 for I£ 500
plus VAT. This locomotive had the distinction of being the first
main line diesel locomotive to be preserved in Ireland. It was
officially handed over to the Group during a ceremony in
Inchicore Works. 226 was moved by rail from Inchicore Works to
Carrick-On-Suir for restoration on 6th December 1992.
Restoration work commenced the following weekend with the
removal of cab and engine room doors, handbrake pedestals and
January 1993 - December 1993
All of the roof panels, part of the cooler group, all of the
droplight windows and remaining cab doors, the staff snatchers,
all the electrical cubicle panelling and engine room floor
panels were removed.
The engine defect which had originally resulted in 226 being
withdrawn from service, the nature of which was unknown up to
this point, was eventually discovered. Work commenced on making
the necessary repairs to the engine.
The engine room cable trunking lids and all of the traction
motor cables were removed for safe keeping. All of the rotten
end-to-end control cables were cut out and scrapped. The plywood
cab floors were lifted in both cabs, which revealed very
extensive corrosion to both cab floors. Repainting of engine
room pipes and conduits to their correct colour codes commenced.
During the Easter period, the fan blade and all of the
surrounding cooler group ducting was removed, together with the
rain strips. In the second half of the year, both the high and
low tension cubicles were stripped out completely.
Work commenced on stripping out No. 2 cab, the two power
controllers were removed along with various desk panels and
various cab fittings. The rotten headlamp box, and one of the
rotten body side panels, was cut out. The air tanks were removed
from the engine room along with the air cooling grid.
January 1994 - December 1994
In January, work commenced on repainting the engine room, as
well as some of the items removed from the locomotive such as
the air tanks. The aluminium floor panels were steam cleaned. In
April, the inside of the engine room was steam cleaned. Work
continued on the repairs to the engine.
Over the weekend of 2nd/3rd July a crane was used to lift out
the exhauster and the cooler fan motor. The crane used was on
the site to remove six MV137 traction motors from a set of scrap
“A” class bogies which were destined for the preserved BTH Class
15 locomotive D8233 back in the UK.
Work on filling some of the many dents and scratches in the body
commenced. The four original buffers were removed and the buffer
beams repainted. Replacement buffers were fitted, as the
originals were in very poor condition. Most of the remaining
pipes in the engine room were removed for cleaning. The high
tension cubicle frame was removed and the interior of the
cubicle was repainted. The frame was then replaced inside the
high tension cubicle. The frame was also removed from the low
tension cubicle to allow repainting to take place.
Towards the end of the year most of the electrical cubicle
panels were repainted. The load regulator cubicle was stripped
out, and a start was made on repainting the interior of it.
Repainting of the engine room walls continued. The roof panel
bolt holes were tapped out and more filling was done to the
body. The last of the wiring was removed from No. 2 cab.
January 1995 - December 1995
The remaining conduit in the engine room was removed. During
February the cooler group was fully dismantled and removed from
the engine room. The engine repairs were completed. Repainting
of the engine room continued. The driver’s side desk and the
centre console were removed from No. 2 cab to give access to the
holes in the floor.
January 1996 - December 1996
The outside of the main generator was cleaned, and a start made
in cleaning the oil from the engine room floor beneath the
generator. More of the engine room walls were scraped back to
bare metal. The buffers were repainted. Some of the rotten cab
floor was cut out in No. 2 cab and the secondman’s desk was
However, in early 1996, work on restoring 226 virtually ground
to a halt. At around this time, three of the Group’s other
locomotives, 231, G601 and G611, had all been moved from
Carrick-On-Suir to Inchicore Works in readiness for display at
the open weekend to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Works
in June 1996. Unfortunately, the extra work required to prepare
these locomotives for eventual display diverted attention away
from 226 for several months.
January 1997 - December 1999
During 1997 more scraping and cleaning of the engine room walls
took place and the No. 2 end bulkhead was primed, but work
stopped at this point.
Between 1997 and 1999, faced with the constant attack on the
building and locomotives stored outside from vandals at the
Carrick-On-Suir site, coupled with other increasing family
commitments of the handful of volunteers who worked there,
little work was done on 226.
The subsequent main line operation of the ITG’s two 001 “A”
class locomotives in 1999 / 2000 also kept our small band of
volunteers away from Carrick-On-Suir and 226. In addition, at
around the same time, the ITG’s other 201 “C” class locomotive
231 had just been moved back to the UK for restoration, which
meant that restoration work on 226 was now low down on the list
Following the resumption of work at Carrick-On-Suir, some new
volunteers came forward who have been vital to the consistent
restoration progress that has taken place to on this locomotive
November 2002 - December 2003
Work began with a repaint of the engine room. Work had already
started repainting this area several years beforehand. Beginning
with the low tension cubicle at No. 2 end, the various surfaces
were wire wheeled with a wire brush attachment on an angle
grinder before the paint was applied. 3 coats of paint were
usually applied, which meant that it would be a minimum of 3
visits before a particular area of the locomotive’s body was
finished. Needless to say there were plenty of channels and
beams that made progress a bit slower. As progress was made down
the inside of the locomotive’s body, pieces of pipe and conduit
that had been removed several years beforehand were replaced.
This replacement of parts, no matter how small, enabled us to
see progress as we went along. The frame to support the switch
gear was replaced inside the low tension cubicle, and work
commenced on cleaning up some minor electrical items.
By May, the repaint had reached about half way along each of the
body sides. At this stage the No. 2 cab still had a nasty hole
in the cab floor that volunteers had to consciously avoid each
time they stepped in and out of the cab. The time was rapidly
approaching to start doing something about it! Work began on
trimming the hole and shaping new steel plate to fit it. During
this process we discovered that one of the main vacuum pipes had
rotted through from the underneath. Progress was then halted
until a repair to the vacuum pipe could be devised and carried
By August, the engine room repaint had been completed along one
side. Cable holders had been replaced inside the electrical
cubicles along with a few resistors. The load regulator was back
in the engine room, and work continued with the replacement of
pipes and conduit as soon as each section of wall had been
completed. Two buffers were re-attached to the No. 2 end buffer
Towards the end of 2003, work commenced on overhauling some of
the electrical switch gear. In addition, the repainting of the
engine room had reached the No. 1 end cab bulkhead. Work also
commenced on cleaning some of the girders to support the cooling
fan motor as we wanted to start replacing some of the bigger
January 2004 - December 2004
At the beginning of 2004, the regular volunteers at Carrick-On-Suir
received a major boost from the UK in the form of a working
weekend organised by three volunteers from the Ffestiniog
Railway. During their two day visit, a substantial amount of
progress was made. One of the most welcome items was the
fabrication of a new cab floor for one side of No. 2 cab, so
there was no more of having to remember the hole in the floor
when getting in and out of the cab. Work then continued over the
following months finishing the repairs to the cab floor on the
secondman’s side. Towards the end of 2004 the extensive rot on
the driver’s side of No. 2 cab floor was also cut out and new
steel was welded into position. The rotten panel on the cab side
on the secondman’s side was also replaced at the same time.
The engine room repaint was completed during this time, which
was very welcome. Other jobs completed during the visit were the
replacement of a cab side panel at the No. 1 end, and wire
wheeling of cooling fan support frames. The frame was then
replaced a few weeks later. Work continued with the cleaning of
various electrical bits, as did the cleaning and repainting of
various bits of pipe. The completion of the engine room repaint
also meant that the remaining sections of engine room lamp
conduit could be replaced. The No. 2 cab bulkhead was given a
full wire wheeling and repaint, which improved the look of this
cab considerably. Some of the overhauled electrical panels were
refitted into the low tension cubicle.
The electrical control cubicles, which had been totally stripped
out and had been a rather daunting proposal to rebuild, began to
have some of the switch gear refitted onto the frames. At this
stage in the restoration a full set of wiring diagrams had been
obtained, and were being studied by those who were contemplating
In the engine room, work commenced with the wire wheeling areas
of the main floor, and also cleaning out the floor area around
the bottom of where the cooler group radiator banks used to sit.
Attention then turned to the radiator header tanks themselves.
It was decided that due to extensive rust pitting, the faces of
these tanks would have to be professionally machined. Before the
tanks could be sent away, the 160 studs that secured the
individual radiator elements to the tanks would have to be
removed. Some of these studs required heating three times with
oxyacetylene before coming loose, while others came off on the
January 2005 - December 2005
The start of 2005 was occupied with the shaping of steel patches
for No. 2 cab weld repairs and replacement of the missing No. 2
end lamp box. Once the majority of the welding was complete, and
because the repairs to the floor had now also been completed,
work on repainting of the interior of the cab could commence.
Over the coming months the whole of the inside of No. 2 cab was
wire wheeled back to bare metal and given 3 coats of paint. As
the repainting work continued inside the cab, work also
commenced on cleaning and repainting each part that had been
removed from the cab. These ranged from the large central
console down to various oddly shaped pipes and small pipe clips.
Some other rotten sections of the locomotive’s body were also
cut out and replaced, which meant that 226 had its first partial
trip outside the Old Goods Store in many years.
The main engine room trunking lids were cleaned up and
repainted. Most of the remaining electrical switches were
replaced inside the low tension cubicle making the rewire the
next major electrical task. Work commenced on overhauling some
of the high tension cubicle components. All of the electrical
cubicle covers were fully repainted. Replacement radiator studs
were purchased for the radiator header tanks. All of the air
pipes were replaced in No. 2 cab, which meant the central
console could soon be replaced.
January 2006 - December 2006
In January, the recently installed cab air pipes were tested for
leaks and an opportunity was taken to sound the locomotive’s
hooter! A minor victory, but at least something worked!
Over the coming months, over one hundred different components
associated with the driver’s and secondman’s desks were replaced
in No. 2 cab. As the year progressed, the cab underwent a
complete transformation from a gutted shell to a complete cab.
The reverser air circuit was tested, and work continued with
replacement of various electrical parts in the cubicles as time
May saw 226 moved fully outside the Old Goods Store for the
first time in many years. This was to display the locomotive for
a railtour that was stopping in Carrick-On-Suir. Whilst the
locomotive was outside, some battery conduit and cable was
Some work was undertaken in No. 1 cab with the removal of the
driver’s desk. Work continued in No. 2 cab with the overhaul and
replacement of vacuum and air brake valves. Work commenced on
overhauling two cab seats. The cab seats were found to be in
very poor condition, and restoration of the two seats took about
six months to complete.
The radiator header tanks were finally sent away for machining
of the faces. Upon their return, the tanks were wire wheeled
down to bare metal and given several coats of paint. The
starting contactors were overhauled and replaced inside the high
tension cubicle. The two electrical control cubicles were mostly
complete at this stage. The 2.5 km of cable required to rewire
the locomotive was purchased and delivered to Carrick-On-Suir to
await the rewire. Rewiring started with the engine room lamps.
These were rewired and operated for the first time on 18th
November using a 110V transformer.
January 2007 - December 2007
The hole in the floor of No. 1 cab was squared up and a patch
was cut out. With work still continuing on No. 2 cab, and also
in the engine room, further work on this cab would have to wait
until 2009 before substantial work would commence.
With most of the major components refitted back into No. 2 cab,
and also into the adjacent electrical cubicles, it was decided
to commence the rewire of the locomotive. Re-wiring commenced
with the connections between the cab and the cubicles being
made. With no major difficulties being found, the rewire
continued with each side of No. 2 cab being done together with
the cab heaters, marker lamps and other external components.
Later on, the central switch panel was rewired, completing the
rewire of this cab. Following the success with the rewire of
this cab, work commenced on the long awaited rewire of the low
tension cubicle. This was undertaken in many stages over many
Saturdays and some other evenings. With the completion of the
low tension cubicle and the cab, work then commenced on rewiring
the high tension cubicle. As circuits were completed they were
tested, with no faults being found. One set of main generator
cables were refitted and laid out along the engine room trunking
to the location of the generator. Shortly thereafter, the
trunking lids were temporarily replaced to protect the cables.
Following the completion of the rewire, work continued with the
overhaul of the cooler group. The recently purchased radiator
studs were inserted into the radiator header tanks. It was
decided to send the individual radiator elements away for
professional washing and pressure testing. There are a total of
40 radiator elements in the cooler group, and they were
generally sent away for testing in batches of 10. In readiness
for the reassembly of the cooler group, work commenced on the
repair and repainting of the cooler group ducting that directs
air through the radiators and out through the roof. One section
of duct was sent away for patching and the other was repaired in
January 2008 - December 2008
A new plywood floor was cut out and fitted into No. 2 cab on
26th January. This made a very pleasant change from stepping
over pipes and conduit when working in the cab. More rewiring,
testing, and replacing of electrical components took place in
the high tension cubicle. On 1st March the reverser was
successfully operated from No. 2 cab, followed by the overhauled
traction motor switches. The replacement of all of the traction
motor cables from the reverser, down along the engine room
floor, completed the high tension cubicle rebuild.
Work on the cooler group continued. One side of the cooler group
was reassembled and lifted back into position. Following its
replacement, work began to install the radiator elements that
were returning from overhaul. Once one side was completed a
pressure test was carried out. Following a successful test it
was then possible to replace one section of the ducting. Over
the following months the other side of the cooler group was
rebuilt, and elements gradually replaced. It became increasingly
difficult to obtain good elements from each batch of 10 being
sent for testing. It would be the start of 2009 before a full
set was finally obtained. Some badly corroded air pipes were
repaired where they run below one of the radiator banks. Some
more body work repairs took place early in the year to repair
corrosion at the radiator opening. At the same time a patch for
No. 1 cab floor was welded into position. Later on in the year,
a new plywood floor was cut out for this cab also, and fitted
temporarily to make access in and out of the cab a bit easier.
The fuel pump motor was sent away for attention and had been
refitted and tested by the end of June. The vacuum control unit
was partially dismantled and cleaned. It was found to be in very
good condition, and so it was reassembled, repainted, and
refitted inside the engine room.
The big job undertaken during this year was the removal of the
engine and generator set. As mentioned earlier, 226 was
originally taken out of traffic after suffering an engine
defect. A small section of the engine block, where the cam shaft
was attached, had cracked and broken loose due to excessive
vibration on the cam shaft. Replacement engine parts were
obtained from former NIR locomotive 109 (ex. CIE 234) when it
was being scrapped. An attempt was made to repair 226’s engine
by welding the broken piece back into place. However, the
effectiveness of this repair was always in doubt, particularly
if the engine was to be operating under full load. As such, it
was decided to try to obtain a replacement power unit from a
141/181 class locomotive, as several of this class were
subsequently re-engined with engines recovered from withdrawn
“C” class locomotives. During 2008, a replacement GM 8-B645E
engine was successful obtained from Iarnród Éireann. This engine
was recovered from 141 class locomotive 149 shortly before it
was scrapped, and was known to be in good condition.
On Sunday 12th October, the original engine and generator set
from 226 were lifted out of the locomotive. The generator set
was then sent away for overhaul, together with the exhauster and
cooling fan motors. Meanwhile, the original engine was put on
the loading dock inside the Goods Shed, and will be retained as
a source of spares. Following the removal of the engine and
generator set, the engine bed-frame and general floor area was
cleaned and repainted. The engine oil filter containers and all
of the engine water and oil pipes were also cleaned and
It had been expected to have the new engine and overhauled
generator back in 226 by the end of the year, but difficulties
with the insulation of the commutator poles in the main
generator delayed its return to early 2009. The traction motor
blower motor was overhauled by a local firm and returned to
Carrick-On-Suir, where it received a repaint.
Towards the end of 2009, the ITG applied to the Heritage Council
for a grant to help fund the weld repairs to No. 1 cab, shot
blasting of the roof panels and other smaller items.
January 2009 - December 2009
Our application for the Heritage Council for a grant was
successful, the Group being awarded a grant of € 4000, which was
around 50% of the cost of the work applied for. This meant we
now had a list of jobs, and a deadline of the end of November,
to complete. These included the overhaul of the heat exchanger,
shot blasting of the roof sections and main air cooling grid,
repair to the flexible ducting and new water pipe seals.
The overhaul of the generator set was finished in early January.
Six coats of varnish had to be applied to the com-poles before
they would pass a 1000 volt insulation test. The generator set
was then re-assembled with a new bearing. The cost of the
overhaul of the generator set, the cooling fan motor, and the
exhauster motor, came to just over € 6000. The overhauled
generator, exhauster and the cooling fan motor were returned to
Carrick-On-Suir in January.
On Sunday 8th February 2009, the replacement power unit for 226,
together with the overhauled generator set, were lifted back
into the locomotive. The engine was then bolted down on its
mountings and the generator set bolted to the engine. However,
before the generator casing can be fully bolted down and an
attempt can be made to crank the engine, accurate measurements
and adjustments will need to be made to the generator casing
position to ensure that they are correctly aligned. Meanwhile,
work commenced on connecting the water and oil pipes to the
After many failures, we finally managed to obtain a full set of
suitable radiator elements to complete the reassembly of the
remaining radiator bank. Following a successful pressure test,
another section of the ducting was replaced. As the year
progressed, the water pipes to connect the cooler group to the
engine were replaced. The overhauled cooling fan motor was
refitted on top of its framing. Connections were made, and the
motor was bolted down. The water tank, together with its
associated pipe work, was replaced. New water pipe seals were
purchased and fitted as part of the grant work.
The heat exchanger was sent away for cleaning and testing.
Following its return it was repainted, refitted, and then
connected up. All of the other components removed to enable the
engine change to take place were replaced. The “new” engine was
very oily when it arrived. Over the first half of the year, the
outside of the engine was degreased, followed by the air intake
and finally the sump. 500 litres of new engine oil was purchased
in preparation for the long awaited start-up. All of the 141
class specific parts were removed from the “new” engine as the
engine had been modified slightly to suit 141 a class locomotive
during its period of re-use.
During February, work began on removing all of the equipment
from No. 1 cab in preparation for weld repairs and full
restoration. Over the coming months the cab was completely
gutted, and new steel patches were cut out to replace the wasted
metal. Towards the end of the year the welding work was
completed. As the parts were removed they were all cleaned and
given at least 3 coats of paint. Almost all of the parts removed
have now been restored, and cab will be rebuilt as soon as the
various sections inside the cab are ready. By the end of the
year, work had commenced on wire wheeling the cab interior.
Rebuilding of this cab will continue during 2010. Work commenced
on overhauling a pair of seats for this cab.
The three biggest roof sections were sent away on 23rd May to be
shot blasted, repaired and primed before being returned to
Carrick-On-Suir on 24th July. Application of the undercoat and
gloss paint commenced, and was well advanced by the end of 2009.
The compressed air cooling grid, the centre cab console from No.
1 cab, and some seat parts, were also sent away for shot
blasting and priming.
Work commenced on sanding and filling the No.2 end as time
permitted. The multiple working socket was replaced at this end
and minor bits and pieces were fitted back into No. 2 cab.
Restoration of this locomotive is still ongoing at Carrick-On-Suir.
226 on the day of the handover from IE. Photo:
226 outside the former goods shed at Carrick
226 No2 Cab before being stripped circa 1995.
226 No2 cab following stripping. 19 February
226 No2 Cab nearing completion 30 December
226 High Tension Cabinet 27 January 2007
226 Low Tension Cabinet 27 January 2007
226 Engine Room lights working 18 November
226 undergoing an engine and generator lift 12
engine from 149 in an engineers yard in Waterford 16/08/08.
226 with engine removed 12/10/08
A view of the High
Tension Electrical Cabinet after the fourth traction motor
switch was added - it was practically complete then. The photo
was taken on 05.04.08.
The newly re-installed traction motor blower motor (left) and
compressor (right) are shown back in the engine room on 16th
October 2010. Photo: Peter Jones.