As a new member I was not posting when this thread was started, but I did read it and responded directly to Kirley. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to place some further comment to several of the above posts.
Trials with the initial "Enterprise" set began in April 1957 and the set consisted of power cars 701, 702 and 703. The three trailers cars were a D 5 (Brake/First), a C 2 (All First) and between them the B 9 Buffet car. Initially only the outer ends of the C 2 and the D 5 had BUT type corridor connections, as the Buffet car retained conventional 'concertina' connections. Not doubt this was the catering department saying "Okay, take the B 9 for trials, but leave the corridor connections on it in case we need it back before the train enters service."
It is unclear from my research what the motive was to use the “continental” style large rubber corridor connections on these cars and their trailer vehicles, other than it would allow for quick coupling and uncoupling, as the outer faces of the connection simply pressed together when the vehicles were marshalled together. Was there some grand plan that BUT type trains would divide en-route, e.g. one complete train leaving Belfast or Dublin to serve two destinations? In the event the fitting of this type of connection prevented the safe use of BUT cars (especially the trailers), in a train composed of any other rolling stock.
IRN reported that following an inaugural run for the press on Tuesday 4/6/57, on Wednesday 19/6/58 the first 6-car set entered traffic on the Belfast based “Enterprise”. IRN gave the formation as being 703-225-232-124-176-702-701. In fact the correct formation was 703-226 (not 225)-232-124-702-701. It is highly probable that 176 (a K 15 Second) with power car 704 were added in either late June or early July of the same year, taking the set up to the maximum operating ratio of 4 power cars and 4 trailers.
By the time the BUT cars were being introduced, the Northern Ireland government (despite having put up half the money for them), had already decided to close large sections of the GNR within their province. In a perhaps somewhat vague idea that political minds could be changed, the GNR hit on an idea to show the improved service levels and economy these new Railcars could provide. Having produced the initial four power cars that went into the Belfast based “Enterprise” set, No. 705 was completed in July 1957 with nothing to run with. It was therefore deployed on Monday 22/7/57 on a new service, the “Enniskillen Express”. Having no formal decoration, this set comprised of the said BUT power car towing a wooden panelled Brake/Second carriage classified D 3. It left Enniskillen at 08.50 and called at Bundoran Junction to connect with a service from there and was scheduled to be in Omagh at 09.35. Ten minutes were allowed for the Railcar to run around the trailer car and after a pause at Carrickmore, it reached Belfast at 11.20, shaving 65 minutes of the best previous schedule. The return journey started at 19.00 from Belfast non-stop to Omagh, thence again non-stop to Enniskillen, arriving at 21.05. This effort had no impact on the decision makers and the closures went ahead, the service ceasing on 30th September 1957. It is unclear if the D 3 was fitted with BUT corridor connections at this time, but it certainly had them when photographed at Mallow in 1989!
What may be of interest are other reports concerning the BUT Railcars which featured in IRN over the period from September 1957 up to the dissolution of the GNR(B) in September 1958. By 1st October 1957 passenger services (with minor exception), had ceased on the Portadown to Cavan and the Dundalk to Omagh via Enniskillen lines, as well as on any branch lines that still functioned on these two routes. For the new BUT Railcars, their main deployment now would be on Belfast-Dublin and Belfast-Londonderry services.
IRN reported that on Tuesday 1/10/57 a BUT set was introduced on the 11.15 ex-Belfast and 16.10 ex-Derry return. The set comprised No’s 707-232-708-267-706-705. On arrival back in Belfast, the first three cars were detached from the rear section (which had the Buffet car No. 267) and operated back to Derry at 20.05. From there they returned at 07.15 the next morning and married up with remainder of the set in Belfast.
In July 1958 it was reported that the 08.45 Dublin-Omagh was a BUT set, which detached the rear portion (including the Buffet car) at Omagh. The front portion ran on to Strabane (due 12.38) where a steam train provided a connection to Derry. The 08.25 Belfast-Derry had detached its rear portion (including the Buffet car) at Strabane (due 10.47). These two BUT portions then combined to form a 13.38 ex-Strabane to Belfast. Meanwhile the front portion of the 08.25 left Derry at 11.55 and joined the rear portion of the 08.45 ex-Dublin at Omagh and ran to Dublin where it then operated a local service as one train. The set was then separated and front portion of what started the day as the 08.25 ex-Belfast worked the 02.15 Dublin-Belfast newspaper train. [If the front portion of the 08.25 did indeed work the Newspaper Train, what was not explained was how the original front portion of the 08.45 returned to Dublin from Belfast!]
In total 16 of the '700' series power cars were produced up to May 1958, production switching to the '900' series with full single end cabs. On 10/7/58 No. 901 entered service on the Belfast based “Enterprise” set, to be joined by No. 902 at the other end on the 12/7/58. On the 8/9/58 the Dublin based “Enterprise” went over to BUT operation with two '900' cars at each end of a four car set, obviously replacing an AEC set on that duty. A total of 8 of the '900' series were produced up October 1958, the last two coming out after the dissolution of the GNR(B).
At the split of rolling stock, the UTA got 9 of the '700' (renumbered 121 to 129)and 5 of the '900' (renumbered 131 to 135) power cars, CIE (which did not renumber their allocation but added a 'C' prefix and an 'N' suffix to the GNR numbers) received the balance of 7 and 3. In total I have managed to track 25 trailer carriages that were fitted for BUT operation, some receiving internal alterations in the process.
Catering vehicles (all designated "Refreshment Cars"): 1 x B 6, 2 x B 8, 1 x B 9, 1 x B 10* (fitted by CIE in 1960) and 2 x K 23
Brake/First (all with heating plant installed): 2 x D 5* and 2 x F 16 (these being 1st/2nd side corridor composites prior to alteration, the last being done by CIE in 1961)
Brake/Second (all with a heating plant installed): 2 x L 12, 1 x L 13 and 3 x L 14
All First: 1 x C 2*
First/Second: 3 x F 16 and 1 x F 17
Second: 3 x K 15
All were 58' chassis, except those marked * which were 60' chassis. Each BUT set required at least one Brake vehicle for train heating purposes, so in GNR operations by September 1958 nine sets were theoretically possible.
When built, all the BUT cars and their trailers appeared in the GNR blue/white “Railcar” livery except for No. 908 which was produced, after the official dissolution of the GNR(B), from the Dundalk Works in the light green livery of CIÉ. Post 1958 CIÉ painted some of the cars into their light green livery, all eventually going into the CIÉ’s black/orange livery. CIÉ also fitted some cars with larger 2′ diameter buffers. Other than that, no changes were made to the original designs. CIÉ continued to use BUT Railcars for the Dublin based “Enterprise” and on 28/1/60 the service was formed of No’s 906-97-192-908. A fire broke out in No. 908, resulting in it and the Brake/2nd being burnt out. The service went over to diesel-electric locomotive haulage in 1961. Naturally CIÉ used BUT Railcars on local services out of Dublin, especially on outer workings to Dundalk. They were however also deployed on the former Dublin & South Eastern section, on workings to Wexford and Rosslare. As non-standard vehicles, the ranks were reduced by fires and other damage, to the extent that by 1970 only one set was still in regular use. However, in a rather surprising development, in 1974 CIÉ overhauled and repainted four of the '700' cars. Apparently they were intended to be used as solo units, one suggestion being they were to be used on the Loughrea branch. Whatever the original plan was, they never in fact re-entered service in any shape or form.
The original car that became UTA No. 129 was badly damaged by a fire at Castlebellingham on 12th May 1960. It was rebuilt by the UTA and re-entered service in early 1962. The rebuild had the body styling of the contemporaneous Multi-Purpose Diesel (MPD) Railcars still being built by the UTA at that time. One of the most notable differences was that the windows had curved corners, rather than the squared GNR type. With regard to the seating in the rebuild, this appears to have been provided by using high backed arm chair seats recovered from the First class sections of some UTA built Multi-Engined Diesel (MED) Railcars, in which some former First class sections had been reduced to Second class, with a revised seating type.
Initially the UTA were happy to just renumber the cars into their new list for Railcars, remove any GNR crests and apply their red hand roundel. Serious repainting of the BUT Railcars into the full UTA’s green livery did not commence until late in 1960. “Wasp” warning panels were applied to all Railcar ends with a driving cab. Roof level exhausts were fitted to all the power cars by the UTA.
The UTA's Belfast based “Enterprise” remained a BUT Railcar working right up to January 1969, when they were replaced by an NIR “70 class” DEMU set. In the early 1960's an 8-car formation topped and tailed by a '900' car appears to have been the norm, but by 1967 the set could down to 4 cars, a '900' leading out of Belfast, a Brake/First, a Buffet car (usually the B 6) and a '700' car trailing. Under the UTA, the BUT Railcars continued to operate most services on the Portadown-Londonderry line until that closed in February 1965. Any spare sets were used as available on local services out of Belfast. In the main these consisted of a '900' and a '700' at each end with a Brake/Second (3-car formation) or and additional First/Second (4-car formation). In the period between 1963 and 1965, the UTA also began a practice of operating a single '700' car on its own on some off-peak services to both Lisburn and as far as Portadown. The vehicle operating in this mode was termed a “doodlebug” by staff.
Also in 1965 the UTA introduced their 'regional' liveries and several BUT railcars went into the GN section livery of Riviera Blue and Cream. However some went directly from UTA 'green' to NIR Maroon/Grey from 1967 on. Another piecemeal alteration carried out by NIR on BUT Railcars was the gradual removal of the higher central headlight on both types of car. The BUT Railcars belonging to NIR finished their days of service working on Belfast-Lisburn-Portadown locals, but even by 1971 a set might have a trip to Dublin on a special. After withdrawal circa 1974, the engines of the '700' cars were removed and set of these de-engined cars was formed for use on locomotive hauled excursions. They were painted in an overall maroon livery with a grey band below the windows. After complete withdrawal in 1978, they had to be drowned in a quarry because of asbestos being present in the bodies.
I hope the above has been of some interest to those seeking to model these wonderful vehicles.