PORT & HARBOUR COMMISSIONERS
No.3 'R H Smyth'
CLASS : NONE SPECIFIED
BUILT BY : AVONSIDE
ENGINEERING COMPANY (WORKS NO. 2021)
YEAR BUILT : 1928
WITHDRAWN : 1959
LAST MAJOR OVERHAUL COMPLETED
No.3 'R H Smyth' raises
steam for another day of ballast working from Greenisland - 5th August
2005. Photo by M S Walsh
"R. H. Smyth" was built
by the Avonside Engine Co. in 1928 and described as "generally similar
to the B6 class 0-6-0 saddle tanks, but with a wheelbase of 9 feet and
a gauge of 5 feet 3 inches". The engine was designed to work on dual guage
track with both 5'3" and 3' gauge wagons, and had a pair of offset narrow
The leading dimensions of
the engine as delivered are as follows:
Cylinders 14" x 22"; Wheels
3’6" diameter; Tubes 126 x 1¾" diameter; Heating surfaces - Firebox
54 + Tubes 476 = 530 square feet; Grate 9½ square feet; Working
pressure 160 lbs; Water capacity 800 gallons; Coal capacity 20 cwt; Weight
24 tons empty, 30 tons full; Length 24 ft; Width 8’6"; Height 11’½";
Smallest curve 150 ft radius; Tractive effort 13,141 lbs at 80%.
The engine’s livery was
black and green, lined out in yellow and lettered in gilt.
The loco spent its early
working life on the Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners’ lines,
a comparatively short railway which ran from the northern end of the quays
on the west side of the River Foyle (where there was a narrow gauge junction
with the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway, immediately outside their
Graving Dock passenger station) along the quayside to the Foyle Road station
of the Great Northern. The line continued across the River Foyle on the
lower deck of the Craigavon Bridge to the eastern bank where there was
a broad gauge connection with the LMS (NCC) at Waterside station and also
a narrow gauge junction with the line to Strabane at Victoria Road station.
By 1968 the engine
had been out of use for several years and the Reverend L. H. Campbell decided
to buy her to save her from the scrapyard. By February 1968 the engine
was his, remaining for the time being in the Harbour Commissioners' sheds.
In 1972, the Reverend decided to pass the engine on to the RPSI so that
it could be restored to working order. The handover officially took place
on May 1st that year.
The little engine lay outside
for many years until it became practical to overhaul her. She first steamed
in preservation in summer 1977. For many years she served as yard shunting
engine at Whitehead, and was a guinea pig for No.85's
inner firebox repair. Her public duties included train rides up and down
the site at Whithead, hauling early Easter Bunny and Santa trains before
they became mainline trains.
In the summer of 2000 the
loco was hired to contractors Henry Boot who were relaying the Bleach Green
- Antrim line for NIR. A locomotive was needed to pull ballast hoppers,
and as IE and NIR were not in a position to loan a locomotive, the RPSI
a pictorial and written account of the exploits of "R. H. Smyth" in
2000 - CLICK HERE
The RPSI Driver admires
the leaky drivers injector of No.3 RH Smyth during ballast loading near
Dunadry - 04/07/00. Photo by PJ Lockett
The locomotive pulled over fifty thousand
tons of stone from the 18th of June until the 25th of November 2000. On
the latter date she returned to Whitehead and resumed her shunting duties.
'R H Smyth' on ballast duties
near Dunadry - 04/07/00. Photo by PJ Lockett
By 2004 "R. H. Smyth" was in need of an
overhaul, but didn't seem likely to return to steam until the Guinness
engine came out of traffic as steam shunting engine. Then the contractors
relaying the Bleach Green - Whitehead line stepped in. They required an
engine to haul ballast trains, just as Henry Boot had. The locomotive was
given a thorough overhaul in double quick time, and was moved to Greenisland
in early August 2005. After a busy five months ballasting, the engine returned
home to Whitehead in December 2005.
She is currently on
loan to the Downpatrick and County
No.3 'R H Smyth' is prepared
for a sedate run to Downpatrick, at Inch Abbey station. Photo by
J J Friel.
Steam alive in Ireland since 1964