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50 years ago. Belfast to Dublin trains.

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I attached this question to an old posting so it was probably missed but I would be interested if others with long memories could help me with a question. I took a number of colour photos of UTA and Guiness Dublin steam in 1963 and 1964 and my question is about international trains which I photographed at Portadown and Dunmurry on 25 and 26 March 1964 (the week after the Beatles "Can't Buy Me Love" was released, to follow up on the Rolling Stones comment). As they were taken in daylight (in March) I believe that they were WT 56 on the 09.15 Belfast to Dublin, and 57 on the 12.30 ex Dublin on Wednesday 25 March and W class 97 (with its higher capacity tender) and an unidentified WT on the same trains the following day. All four trains have a mixture of green and black and tan C I E stock.

At the time I noted the trains as the Enterprise rather than the stopping trains I now believe that they were. Would The UTA locomotives have been replaced by CIE diesels at Dundalk?

So my question is, were the non-stop Enterprises already CIE diesel hauled all the way at that date or were some of them still UTA steam hauled to Dublin (97 was, after all, adapted to do this)?

Many thanks in advance to anyone who can help me with this.

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I like the idea of steam working one of the specials as I have vague memories of a big blue steam loco with smoke deflectors from around the same period crossing the viaduct at Gormonstown.


Its just about possible that steam may have been used on one or more of the specials. It would have been simpler for the UTA to roster as steam loco and a crew to a special move, than try and co-ordinate a pair locos and at least two sets of crews with CIE. Presumably Belfast still had enough steam drivers and firemen who still knew the road to Dublin and wanted on last trash at the mainline.


In 1963 the UTA bought four ex GNR steam locos from CIE S Class 170, 171, 174 & Vs 207 Boyne.


The 207 appears to have been used mainly used the Tourist Train an additional summer service on the main line, she seems to have held down this duty until the summer of 65, there is a photo n Irish Railways a Second Glance" of Boyne 'roaring' through Malahide on a southbound train in July 1965.

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Thanks for the information. I take it then that the non-stop Enterprise (ex Gt Victoria St at 10:30 and 4:45 and ex Amiens Street 11:00 and 5:30) were really non-stop and CIE diesel hauled throughout.


CIE diesels to Dundalk normally, with UTA steam north of there - this was normal set that stage.


However, "international" would then (and now) be a very controversial way of describing them! ;-)

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  • 2 weeks later...

In my capacity as the oldest person on the planet, well maybe this website, anyway - I was "timing trains" fifty years ago, so I the following can be backed up with the logs, WTT etc, if you want.


Each Company ran its own "Enterprise". The UTA one was ex GNR railcars (probably BUTs by the mid sixties) to Dublin at 1030am and back at 5.30pm - non-stop in 2 hrs 10 minutes. The CIE Enterprise was by then a single ended B Class (121 to the younger viewers) to Belfast from Dublin at 11am, back at 4.45pm, both non-stop.


The semi fasts were the 8.15, 12.30pm, 3.15pm and 6.20pm ex Belfast; the 9.15, 2.45pm and 6.30pm ex Dublin - yes unbalanced workings, but there was an early 2.15am ex Dublin, Newspaper Train. These trains were invariably 2-6-4 tanks to and from Dundalk, working South of Dundalk was by CIE diesel.


The "good" day was Sunday when in summer anyway, the sole Belfast to Dublin semi fast was invariably No.207. I only ever timed her North of the border on the 6pm return of this train: on one unforgettable evening, from the footplate - the thrill of flying into the Knockarney dip from the Goraghwood stop - hitting 56mph in 3 mins 12 secs with NINE coaches (say 300 tons) - those were the days!


Goods trains were worked steam in the North, diesel in the south - very seldom, if at all, would a CIE diesel be seen on goods North of Dundalk.


Now, those specials. John M is right that No.207 invariably worked the Thursday Tourist Train throughout to Dublin and back. The CIE shoppers' train was often worked by No.85, at least until 1963.


Again, referring to John M's reply, while No.207 invariably worked Dublin through trains, the three "S" Class 4-4-0s spent most of their time on the GNR Derry Road. In 1964, one was always on the 1015 ex Derry to Belfast and the 3.15pm return. Compulsory trains to travel on if you were out and about in 1964.


Oh to have had my digital stopwatch and GPS then!



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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks for the information, Leslie. I was puzzled by the Belfast - Dublin stopping trains in the 1963 - 64 UTA Winter timetable which shows three southbound (ex Belfast 08:15, 14:15 and 18:20) and just two back (09:15 and 14:45). I rather imagined the CIE carriage sidings getting fuller and fuller! I presume no passengers were allowed on the newspaper train. In March 1964 I saw NCC W class 2-6-0s 91 and 97 as well as WTs on the Belfast -Dublin trains.

Leslie, you said they were often used on the Derry Road at that time. 4-4-0s 170 and 171 were very active on 24 March 1963 and at Adelaide late afternoon 170 passed going South (I believe on on the 17:00 to Derry) and shortly afterwards 171 went Belfast bound ( I think this must have been the 15:45 from Omagh - is this likely?) If you have any timings or loco details for the 24/26/26 March 1964, I would be very interested to see them.

Thanks again.

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