SOUTHERN AND WESTERN RAILWAY
CLASS 101 0-6-0
& Co., Atlas Works, Manchester, 1879, works number 2838
GSWR, GSR, CIÉ, RPSI
Preservation Career: Main line use,
1966-1980 and 2004-present
Known tenders used: GSR No.375
A gleaming No.186 at
Whitehead in 2012 (A Lohoff)
the subject of
a previous RPSI major appeal for funding. The official
relaunch of No.186 following overhaul took place in the RPSI's
40th Anniversary year and the engineering quality seen in the
locomotive earned it the HRA
John Coiley Locomotive Award for 2004.
are examples of what was by far the most numerous class of locomotive
or steam) ever to run in Ireland. 111 were built between 1866 and
1903 with only minor modifications between batches. The great
were built by the GS&WR at Inchicore, though the construction of
examples was contracted out to Beyer, Peacock & Co., and Sharp,
& Co., both famous Manchester based locomotive building
186 is a survivor of Sharp, Stewart origin. The J15's survived
after many more modern locomotives were scrapped and when CIE abandoned
steam haulage at the end of 1962 they were still the most numerous
with nearly half their number still in traffic. They were to be
all over the broad gauge lines of the Republic on all duties from
to main line passenger turns.
acquired 186, one
of the superheated members of the class, with Belpaire firebox and a
tender, in 1965. She was extensively used on the Society's
between 1967 and 1980. She was externally restored for exhibition
at the Open Day celebrating the 150th anniversary of Inchicore Works in
1996, when she was painted in a light green livery.
A side view of No. 186 at
Whitehead in 2011 (R Edwards)
186 was the
subject of one
of Whitehead locomotive works' most comprehensive overhauls yet, and
to traffic in mid 2004. She is paired with a large 3345 gallon tender
were used with J15s towards the end of steam on CIE.
carried a lined green livery, similar to that carried by GSWR
No.90 while she was on static display. This gave way eventually to
black, and after 1925 they were painted unlined battleship grey, the
of Great Southern Rlys., and later CIE, livery. Later 186 was painted
and it was in this colour she was passed to the RPSI. In the late
1970s in RPSI service, 186 carried a fictional livery based on the
Eastern Railway in England, specially to appear in the film "The First
Great Train Robbery" which was shot at several locations in Ireland.
was painted in a light green for the Inchicore 150 celebrations. She
wears the unlined battleship grey.
Clonmel and Cahir on the way to Limerick Junction on 18 September
1974. (CP Friel)
following is an account
of the history of 186 from just prior to preservation to today. A
version of this article appears in issue 243 of Steam Railway magazine.
Of the few
locomotives virtually all are single surviving representatives of once
numerous classes. The sole exception is the pair of six coupled
engines – nos. 184 and 186. Known as the ‘101 class’, these
engines were introduced in 1866 and were still standard on Irish
90 years later: from 1873 to 1963 they were the most numerous class in
the country. Both locomotives saw long service with successive
administrations in Ireland – the Great Southern and Western Railway,
Great Southern Railway and finally Coras Iompair Eireann (CIE) – before
being withdrawn from service. ‘Maids of all work’ and popular
crews, the J15’s worked everything from pilgramage trains to stand ins
on occasional express passenger services to sugar beet specials, and
starting their life anew on the preservation scene their versatility
popularity have remained undimmed.
born in 1879 as a
101 class tender 0-6-0 (six coupled) standard goods engine (which
turned out to be one of the most ubiquitous mixed traffic locos in
Capable of speeds in the 60’s, cheap to build, maintain and simple to
the engine and its class were a surefire success. She was
in 1932 with a superheated Belpaire boiler, which she still carries
locomotive may well have
been the test bed for it’s most similar mainland cousins, the
Eastern Railway J15’s built between 1883 and 1912. 186 certainly
has the same distinctive looks and with Irelands climate the short cab
roof still offers the same scant protection from the elements!!
operated out of Waterford
shed prior to withdrawal. She worked her last ‘Beet season’ of
hauling sugar beet trains, still a freight traffic in Ireland
She was subsequently withdrawn in March 1963 and retained by CIE in
Inchicore depot along with her class mates 130, 183 and 198.
the four locomotives worked the Irish Railway Record Society promoted
long ‘Grand Steam Railtour’ over the entire CIE system in June 1964.
In 1965 the
its first steam engine. The engine was 0-4-0ST ‘Guinness’, a
Clarke locomotive built for shunting the sidings of the famous brewing
company of the same name. The locomotive was donated to the RPSI
at a ceremony in Dublin. At this ceremony was the then chairman
CIE, Mr Frank Lemass. During the course of the day Mr Lamass was
approached by RPSI representatives to see if there would be any chance
of obtaining one of the last remaining J15’s still owned by CIE.
A written request followed and the reply from CIE (virtually by return
of post) was that the RPSI would be donated No. 186 and she would be
to the border (Dundalk). The engine was subsequently hauled north
on the 11th December 1965 by CIE General Motors diesel No B163 to
yard. CIE primarily charged £27 1s 4d for the move although
costs were subsequently waived!
Eamonn Jordan taking delivery of No.186 at Portadown in 1965, before the actual handover in Belfast.
1966 186 went
into the York Road works of NIR to have some work done. This work
was to make the loco fit for a filming contract which never bore
It appears that NIR (still regularly using steam) occasionally used the
loco as the York Road pilot engine, indeed, on the 11th May 1967 186
2 NIR ballast workings between Magheramorne, Carrickfergus and
On the 9th September 1967 186 became the first RPSI owned loco to be in
steam on CIE metals. On the 7th February 1968 186 ran light
from York Road works to Whitehead to take up residence there for the
RPSI duty was on
the 13/5/67 when she worked a series of shuttles on the Portrush –
branch along with LMS(NCC) 2-6-4T’s Nos 53 and 55 (both of these
were still owned and regularly operated by NIR at this time. She
was a regular performer on Society railtours both before and after her
first retube in 1973.
many years after
arrival the RPSI obtained a bigger tender for 186 which has given
capacity and allowed the engine to travel all over Ireland.
the tender is not a J15 tender (not sure but we think its from a 400
It does look slightly out of proportion with the rest of the
By April 1971, 186 was the only steam loco in the British Isles both
of and permitted to run on a mainline. On the 5th July 1980 186
her fire for the last time after running shuttles to bring people from
Belfasts York Road station to Whitehead in connection with a steam and
vintage transport gala. She has not been steamed since that date,
largely because she was deemed too weak for the long haul, all day
which became part of the RPSI’s bread and butter running during the
and 90’s. Nowadays the RPSI is adapting to the ‘quick fix’
market by offering travellers more short hauled runs based on central
areas, e.g. shuttle services around Dublin, Belfast and
No. 186 is seen as an ideal engine for these duties and her day is
locomotive has been in
store and was recently used as a stationary exhibit at the 150th
of Inchicore Railway Works in Dublin in 1996, where the locomotive
stayed for a few years.
returned to Whitehead
on Saturday 2nd October 1999 to begin the long process of overhaul.
to the skills of RPSI volunteers and staff, and the facilities
in our Henry Dunleath Workshop, she is now as good as new - if not
Currently based at Whitehead to haul the RPSI's Northern trains, 186
all with her smooth running, despite having been built 129 years ago to
a design from 11 years before that! She has hauled many a happy family
and will continue to do so for some time yet.
No.186 at Whitehead
after her 2004 overhaul was completed. (B Pickup)
Steam alive in Ireland since 1964