THE Downpatrick & County Down Railway (D&CDR) celebrated the return of steam operations after a three-week hiatus on July 21-22 by having two locomotives in steam at Downpatrick.
While regular locomotive – ex-Cómhlucht Siúicre Éireann (Thurles) Orenstein & Koppel 0-4-0T+WT No. 1 (12475/1934) – was in charge of passenger trains between Downpatrick and Inch Abbey, its newly overhauled sister No. 3 (12662/1935) was undergoing steam tests in the yard.
The tests were to precede a full return to traffic of the former CSÉ (Mallow) No. 3, which last steamed in 2012. Both Nos. 1 and 3 arrived at the D&CDR in 1987, but have never been in steam together apart from for a few hours on May 19 when No. 3 was steamed for the first time post-overhaul.
The two locomotives are the only survivors of a batch of nine O&Ks acquired by CSÉ in the 1930s to shunt at its sugar factories in Mallow, Thurles and Tuam.
Each factory had its own Nos. 1-3, with Mallow’s three being No. 1 (12473/1934), No. 2 (12474/1934) and the D&CDR’s No. 3. Meanwhile, Thurles had No. 1 (now at DCDR), No. 2 (12476/1934) and No. 3 (12663/1935), and Tuam had No. 1 (12478/1934), No. 2 (12477/1934) and No. 3 (12664/1935).
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