RPSI’s No. 131 gets full TPWS approval

GREAT Northern Railway (Ireland) ‘Q’ class No. 131 passed the final stages of commissioning its electrical systems on May 21 with a day of electronic testing at Whitehead.

Two test engineers from Thales Ground Transportation Systems UK were on hand to issue
a ‘First- in-Class’ certificate for the Train Protection & Warning System (TPWS) on the 1901-built 4-4-0.

With No. 131’s TPWS trials completed the RPSI now has two 60mph 4-4-0s at its disposal. No. 131 pilots larger GNR(I) sibling No. 85 Merlin at Whitehead Excursion station on June 16. ADAM LOHOFF

Such testing and certification would normally run into five figures, but the RPSI’s charitable, volunteer-led nature resulted in Thales carrying out the work for free.

The tests followed an early hours TPWS trial on April 29, which saw No. 131 undertake a series of braking runs between Whitehead and Belfast Central.

During the trial, No. 131’s TPWS equipment had to bring the five-coach test train to a halt after passing red signals, with derogation obtained to run the loco at 60mph at one point.

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