NORTHERN RAILWAY (IRELAND)
CLASS 4-4-0 No. 85 "MERLIN"
Builder: Beyer, Peacock & Co., Manchester,
1932, works number 6733.
Withdrawn: CIÉ, 1963
GNR(I), GNRB, CIÉ, UFTM
Preservation Career: Main line use,
1985-1989, 1994-2004, 2014 - present
Tenders used: GNR(I) Nos 31, 12 and
4th May 2014
was built for express
passenger trains on the Dublin - Belfast line, the main line which
Ireland's two biggest cities. She is on long term loan to the Society
the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, Cultra, Co Down, although her
tender belongs to us.
This locomotive survived the break
up of the Great Northern Railway in 1958, ending her days on secondary
duties in 1963 after diesel railcars had taken over express services.
a period in the former Belfast Transport Museum (now part of the UFTM
she underwent extensive renovation in Harland & Wolff's shipyard in
Belfast between 1977 and 1982. Since 1986, the RPSI has used her on
all over Ireland, and she is one of only two surviving operational main
line compound locomotives in the British Isles. As built, 85 and her
sisters (all now scrapped) were unlined black, but the famous GNR sky
livery presently carried was applied from the mid 1930's.
came out of traffic
in 2004 due to the expiry of her 'boiler certificate'. She was display
during our "Summer
Steam" open days for a few years. In August 2009 until it was
to explore the possibility of returning her to traffic.
No.85 returned to main line passenger service in 2014.
No.85 launches the RPSI's 50th Anniversary events on 26th March 2014
In recent years, No.85's route availability
increased, meaning that she was allowed to run to the north coast with
the famous "Portrush Flyer".
Before her 1994 overhaul
with a VS class tender from No.207 "Boyne".
with a 'Portrush Flyer' in 1995
In this August 2009
shot, the locomotive has been seperated from RPSI tender No.73 to allow
cleaning and dismantling work to proceed. The flat wagon in the
foreground carries the boiler and cab from No.131.