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Irish Heavy Industry

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One of the things that sets the railways of Ireland apart from those in Great Britain, apart from the obvious gauge difference, is the lack of heavy industry providing traffic for the railways. However, it wasn't until a copy of Rails Through the West landed on my lap, that I realised just how big Irish Sugar was and just how much traffic it produced for the railways…. this was more like I was used to. And because of the lack of heavy industry, there was also a lack of industrial diesel locomotives. Irish Sugar had its Rustons, Guinness had a Hudswell Clarke and Irish Shell had a Hibberd, but was there anything else?


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Distillery sidings and locos were big in Scotland, all we had was Allmans Distillery.

It had a total of 2 x 5' 3'' steam locos during its existance, one was sold to the GSR.


Courtalds (sp?) up North had pair of 5'3'' Pecketts.


CSE Carlow had a couple of unusual and camera shy Cockerill VB locos.


The beet factories used hire some of the G class Deutzs from CIE from time to time.

Edited by minister_for_hardship
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CSE didn't hire the G-class, they purchased them. G613 at Tuam, G611, 615, 616, and 617 at Thurles. G611 was later 'lent' to CIE to shunt the wagon works at Limerick but this local arrangement caused ructions when news reached the the powers that be at Inchicore. The Rustons held sway at Carlow and Mallow CSE factories.

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CSE didn't hire the G-class, they purchased them. G613 at Tuam, G611, 615, 616, and 617 at Thurles. G611 was later 'lent' to CIE to shunt the wagon works at Limerick but this local arrangement caused ructions when news reached the the powers that be at Inchicore. The Rustons held sway at Carlow and Mallow CSE factories.


I'm 99.9% sure that a pic taken of a G at Thurles for sugar work in Maher's book had 'on hire from CIE' in the caption. Maybe CSE hired them when their own stud were under pressure at peak times and offered to buy when CIE had no more use for them, the branches they were designed to serve being closed down for the most part.

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The industrial locos tended to be off the peg standard designs, most of the industrial steam and diesel locos are available in kit form from Judith Edge and Agenoria. A number of grain mills, factories and oil depots had private siding that could have justified their own locos. Ballysodare, Clara, North City Mills and Portarington once had quite extensive sidings serving mills and other industries requiring a pilot loco for several hours daily


Cold Chon used to use a converted Scammell truck for shunting bitumen wagons at Oranmore

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Cement is heavy, though the plants were not necessarily large. Somewhere in the back of my mind lurks a thought that there were a couple of Sentinels bought by CIE to shunt the factory near Limerick? For those of us working in 7mm scale, there is the option of ready to run as Skytrex produced a model a few years ago, while Walsworthmodels models will build you one for just £150.

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GSR (Ireland)

SENTINEL locomotive No. 1, Great Southern Railways, Ireland. Rly Mag., 1928, 62, 134. illus.

Illustration—no text.


GSR Class 280 M1

WN 6846-7/1927. RN 280-1. 2ft 6in driving wheels (chain coupled). 6¾ x 9in cylinders; 5.1ft2 grate area and 71ft2 total heating surface. They had several braking systems: steam, hand, counter pressure and vacuum and were very similar to the Sentinel railcars. Clements and McMahon (pp. 257-8). They were sent initially to Cork and Tralee, and one was tried on the Castleisland branch. They both were then sent to Limerick where they worked the Market siding until in closed in 1940. They then remained out of use until withdrawn in 1948

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Strange that (GSR) Sentinels only lasted in active service up to 1940, considering their modernity, doing much the same kind of work the G class would do later on.

The railcar version was known to be loathed by crews.


Probably lack of work and difficulty/cost of getting Sentinel parts from the UK during the Emergency, in the UK the LNER withdrew their Sentinel railcars around the same time though the locos remained in service into BR days.


In the UK The Sentinels seem to have been most successful in industrial use being built up to the late 50s many were converted into diesels in the 1960s by Thomas Hill.


Apart from Derry and Dublin the railway companies shunted the ports Londonderry Harbour Comissioners had pair of 0-6-0 saddle tanks both now preserved, Dublin Port & Docks Board used road tractors on the Alexandra Rd Tramway


The NCC, County Down & GNR shunted Belfast docks, the BCDR & GNR building special 0-6-4T with cut down cabs and boiler fittings for Belfast. The NCC & UTA used a small feet of almost steam outline Harland & Wolffe diesel shunters around the docks, in Cork the GSR & CIE used a motley collection of ex T&C loco and small industrial locos to reach parts the ex West Cork, GSWR & Midland tanks could not reach.

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Hardly any private sidings in Ireland Just a few that sprang to mind



Cadbury Rathmore private siding sent out a substantial until closure in the Mid 70s with a daily trip working from Mallow.

Kerry County Council 1/2 mile private siding Lixnaw handled bitumen until closure o the North Kerry.

Cahir Abbey Siding Tipperary County Council bitumen traffic.

Webb Mill Mallow grain later bitumen.

ESB Kilbarry, Ardnacrusha & Portarligton

Thurles private down tailing siding at North end of station lasted until ctc disappeared behind a high stone wall!

Farranfore private siding opened mid 70s serving co-operative trainload fertiliser.

Waterford: Clover Meats down side Rosslare line Abbey Junction.

Bell Lines Frank Cassin? Wharf Abbey Junction

R H Hall Grain Elevator North Wharf.

Waterford Harbour Commissioners North Warf.


Campile: Co-op siding

New Ross: Albatross Fertiliser & Wharf siding opened mid 1960s:

Athy: Tegral

Blessington Dorans Pit (DBST)

Jobestown: De Selby Quarry (DBST)

Blessington Road: Tallagh Airfield(DBST)

Enniscorthy: St Johns Siding (mill?)

Rathnew: Brickworks sidings.

Wicklow Junction: Fertiliser works & Veha radiators

Wicklow: Harbour tramway.

Portarlington Odlums Mill

Portaoise Private siding up main south of station mill or feed merchants?

Clara: Ranks grain mill (2 sidings bulk grain 1930s onwards)

Cara: Goodbodys Jute Mill

Galway: Dock Branch MGWR?

Leney Brickworks

Ballisodare: Pollexfen Mill 1870-1975?

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I think the three was their lot, Jawfin. The one in Cultra is in the original LPHC livery, somewhat darker than "Harvey" at Whitehead has. I remember when "Harvey" first arrived and it was that darker colour. The RPSI painted it the mid green it is now (and well it looks) but it didn't run like that.


I don't know much about No. 2.

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A few more I forgot:


The distinction between railway owned and private becomes a bit blurred Tivoli and most of the mine sidings appear to have been railway owned maintained and shunted by company locos


Tivoli: Texaco siding.

Burmah Oil.

Roofchrome (Pitzer

Cork Harbour Board, the Harbour Board siding was an extension of the Roofchrome siding after the Quigley Magnesite workings ceased.


Foynes: Esso Oil tank farm in area later used for stockpiling coal.

Siding to tank farm on down side. Both closed following opening of Whitegate Refinery.


Harbour siding off turntable on to pier at Western end of station.

Fertiliser Factory siding (late 1950s) sharply curved extension of main running line across road and into factory at Western end of station.

Premier Molasses & Avonmore grain extension of Mogul release road 1980s.


Drumshanbo (C&L) Campbells store


Derrenavoggey (C&L) (Arigna mines)





Dublin Port: Merchants Warehousing East Wall Road

Donnelly's coal yard Lr Sherriff St.

City of Dublin Steam Packet Company (Sidings West side of Spencers Dock)

Gouldings Fetilisers later Coal Distributers 1st siding off Alexandra Rd Tramway

Irish Shell & BP



Irish Bitumen Distibutors



R&H Hall

Alexandra Basin


Dublin Port Common User Terminal


The trend away from private sidings appears to be reversing with the like of Daventry in the UK and Dublin Port.


On a smaller scale some industries still use small 0-4-0 shunters for positioning wagons for loading and making up trains for collection.


The Hornby Sentinel diesel http://www.hornby.com/shop/locomotives/dcc-ready-locomotives/r3178-ncb-4wdm-0-4-0-sentinel-industrial-shunter/ would not look out of place shunting in an industrial setting from the 1960s to the present. Maybe if Dublin Port had gone for locos rather than tractors :D

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The diminutive Irish Shell diesel and one of the Sugar Company Rustons are at Whitehead. Industrial locos were few in Ireland compared with Britain or elsewhere, but a disproportionate amount, even of steam, remain in preservation! Derry Nos. 1 & 2, Guinness No. 3, Sugar Nos. 1 & 3.... On the narrow gauge, several Guinness steam and diesel both here and in GB....


Then there's the whole Bord na Mona story, along with that of other turf lines, the ESB, and Ardnacrusha.

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