THE Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s ‘Munster Double’ tour on October 14 broke new ground in more ways than one.
It provided ‘firsts’ for both the society, Iarnród Éireann-Irish Rail and the General Motors Class 071s.
The ‘Munster Double’ was conceived by the RPSI’s loco representative in Dublin Gerry Mooney, and provided a rare opportunity to travel behind a pair of Class 071s working in multiple.
The idea was enthusiastically embraced by IÉ’s chief mechanical engineer Peter Smyth and Philip Clampett, who together with the RPSI’s hard-working volunteers, helped make the tour a reality.
The locomotives selected to work the tour were No. 071, in its 1976 ‘Supertrain’ livery, and recently-outshopped No. 073, wearing the 1987 Irish Rail paint scheme.
During the week before the tour both locos were recalled to Inchicore for the jumper cables to be checked over and tested, both receiving a wash and clean in the process.
The pair spent the night of October 13 in the RPSI’s shed at Connolly station, before backing onto the society’s Cravens set (eight plus Gen Van) in platform 4 the next morning. Unsurprisingly, the tour was a sell-out, and with driver Ray Kenna at the controls the ‘Munster Double’ got underway bound for Cork.
The train picked up at Portarlington, then paused for a photo call at Thurles before making another pick-up at Mallow.
Running was good and the train reached Cork’s Kent station on time at 11.16.
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