Preserving our railway heritage is a herculean and often thankless task, but one that is crucial for so many reasons. From entertaining railway enthusiasts, to providing a historical reference point in our social history, railway preservation groups keep alive the machines and artefacts from yesteryear that we all love and enjoy.
Another crucial aspect of it is that it provides absolutely essential assistance to model companies like ourselves to produce your favourite locomotives, coaches, wagons and accessory items in miniature.
The Irish Traction Group (ITG) is one such preservation body that has worked tirelessly to preserve our railway heritage for many years now. Saving all the major diesel classes at the base in Carrick-on-Suir, or at their Northern outpost at the Downpatrick and Co. Down Railway, they were instrumental in the creation of our A Class model. Their passion for the real A Class locos and knowledge of the prototypes shone through when we approached them while creating our model.
The ITG gave us complete access to A39r at Downpatrick for our initial survey when the project first began in the summer of 2018, and once again in late 2019 to facilitate a comprehensive recording session for our sound decoders by our friends at ESU. Having a fully operational A Class was the only way of capturing these unique sounds, so no ITG - no party!
For all their help in creating our locomotives, we wanted to help the ITG as best we can. So, we have created a very special and very limited (200 pieces!) edition model of ITG locomotive A3r, in the iconic black and tan livery with dipped band. Proceeds of each sale will go to filling the ITG coffers to keep the real locomotives alive.
A3r also ran in this livery in preservation (albeit with later toughened windscreens) on mainline railtours in the mid-late 1990s as part of the Metro-Vick swansong on the main line network.
Speaking on the announcement, ITG's Mike Beckett outlined the history of the group and the importance of fundraising to keep these machines alive for all to enjoy - "The Irish Traction Group was formed over 30 years ago with the aim of preserving one of every class of mainline diesel in Ireland. We now have four operational diesels at the Downpatrick and County Down Railway - G617, 146, A39R and C231, and are working on a long term restoration of C226 at our Carrick-on-Suir base. In an era where the focus wasn’t on diesel preservation, the ITG’s efforts ensured that some of these classic Irish locos will live on to be enjoyed by future generations. We are a charity and are entirely reliant on donations to continue our work and volunteers to restore, maintain and drive our locos.
It was brilliant to work with IRM and play our part in the creation of this wonderful model, and we are very happy that we could assist as well as have this very special model as a fund raiser for the ITG.
As well as the donation we receive from every model of A3R sold, you can support us through direct donations, becoming a member or becoming a working volunteer. If we have more volunteers, we could get more locos out of storage and into traffic! See our website for more details."
IRM's Director of Commissions Patrick Conboy added - "We're extremely grateful to the Irish Traction Group for the assistance they provided us from the very beginning of the research and development phase of IRM's A Class project.
From the outset, they provided extensive access to A39R at the Downpatrick & County Down Railway and were always on hand to provide advice and information on the prototypes. Not only that, but they fast-tracked major work on the loco's engine so that we could record genuine sounds for our DCC decoders, with their team braving harsh winter weather to ensure the it was ready in time.
Like many other railway preservation groups in Ireland, there is very little available in the form of government grants, so the ITG relies primarily on membership subscriptions and occasional donations to generate income. Similarly, there is only a small group of active volunteers who give up their time selflessly to maintaining the Group's collection of locomotives.
In recognition of the assistance the ITG has provided and to support its ongoing work, Irish Railway Models feel it is only right that we give something back. We are therefore happy to announce a limited edition of the Group's other A Class locomotive, A3R, in CIE Black & Tan livery as it appeared in service and that we will be donating proceeds to the ITG.
As well as each model having a limited edition certificate, it will also come with an Irish Traction Group membership form, and we encourage as many people as possible to join up and maybe even take an active role as a volunteer as the ITG continues its mission to restore and maintain a unique collection of historic Irish diesel locomotives."
The locomotives are in stock and now available for immediate purchase exclusively from the IRM website. Each model comes in an ITG special edition branded box with a numbered limited edition certificate and is strictly limited to 200 pieces. Price is €199.99 with proceeds going to the ITG. Click here to place your order on what is sure to be a very special, highly collectable and sought after model for many years to come.
Please Note That Orders For This Model Will Be Shipped W/C Nov. 1st Following Clearance of Current A Class Order Backlog
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