GNR(I) 4-4-0s shine on RPSI’s annual May tour

THE Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s annual multi-day May railtour ran almost as planned between May 11-15, which included a turn by newly restored ‘Q’ 4-4-0 No. 131 in the north.

Whitehead-based GNR(I) Compound No. 85 Merlin arrived at Dublin Connolly with the society’s Mk2 set from Belfast during the afternoon of May 10, but was given the following day off as diesel power took precedence.

This was the ‘Second Strand’ tour from Connolly to Rosslare Strand, which was hauled throughout by retro-liveried GM No. 071.

With Cork driver Ken Fox at the controls, LMS-NCC No. 4 makes light work of the infamous Bower Bank as it passes Stagmount level crossing with the Tralee to Mallow leg of the ‘Cork & Kerry Railtour’ on May 13. NEIL DINNEN

While the diesel tour was heading south, Dublin-based LMS-NCC ‘WT’ 2-6-4T No. 4 was dispatched to Mallow in readiness for its role the next afternoon. This was the main ‘Cork & Kerry Railtour’, which left Connolly 12 minutes late behind No. 85 at 08.47 on May 12. The train, made up of seven Cravens coaches and the BR ‘Gen Van’, ran via Hazelhatch and Portarlington (water stop) to Thurles, where Merlin was again watered then detached as 071 Class No. 085 took over to take the stock to Limerick Junction.

Merlin followed, being turned on the junction triangle before taking over again for the run to Mallow.

Here, the 4-4-0 relinquished duties to No. 4, which left 13min down at 16.08 and proceeded on to Killarney for a water stop, and finally on to Tralee, where the train arrived at 18.50 after being delayed by service trains.

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