NI Thumpers

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wintonian

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80 class normally works:

06:25 Belfast Central > Whitehead
07:30 Whitehead > Central
08:20 Central > Whitehead
09:00 Whitehead > Central
09:42 Central > Larne Harbour
10:57 Harbour > Central
12:12 Central > Carrickfergus
13:00 Carrickfergus > Central
13:42 Central > Harbour
14:57 Harbour > Central
16:12 Central > Larne Town
17:15 Town > Central

Failing this the other possible diagram is:

06:57 Great Victoria Street > Whitehead
07:56 Whitehead > Central
08:42 Central > Harbour
09:57 Harbour > Central
15:30 York Road > Carrickfergus ECS
16:00 Carrickfergus > Central
16:42 Central > Town
17:43 Town > Central
18:50 Central > Town
19:50 Town > Central.

Both of these are M-F only, and the first one is much more likely and has been the regular turn since last Autumn. Prior to that it worked the peak time only one regularly. It never works diagrams that either start or finish at Larne.

If your boat gets in at 17:00, your only hope for an 80 class that day is to take the 17:47 450 class north from Yorkgate (much nearer docks than Central) to Greenisland for a plus two into the 17:15 Larne Town > Central.

On the second day you should be cool for almost the whole diagram. I wouldn't risk an arrival back at Yorkgate at 18:18 on the 17:15 ex-Larne for a 19:00 boat, but you can bail from the 16:12 at either Carrickfergus or Downshire for a move back to Yorkgate. Leaping at Whitehead (passing place on single line) is a move to oblivion so do not risk it. It looks good in the book, but doesn't work for Belfast > Whitehead > Belfast moves. The train from Larne is let in first, and departs as soon as the train from Belfast arrives.

If you want the timetables and more detail on NIR DEMU ops PM me and I'll post them to you.
Is this likely to still be the case in 2/ 3 weeks’ time?
 
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4SRKT

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Yes, barring total failure and withdrawal of the unit. NIR don't have any spare capacity in the DEMU fleet at the moment, so have to keep everything moving by any means. June 24th is the date when the summer rosters come into place for the C3K CAF fleet and the 2 6-car diagrams become 3-car sets until September.
 

wintonian

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Thanks, will try and have trip whilst I'm over there if I can persuade my friend that Carrickfergus or Larne are particularly interesting towns. :)
 

4SRKT

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Larne is a hole, but Carrickfergus has probably the most complete Norman castle anywhere in the British Isles, so that should be good for a visit. Plus the town walls are partially complete. The coastal ride from Carrick to Larne is very scenic, expecially in an 80 class when you can lean out of the windows, so this may sell itself to normals :)
 

wintonian

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Larne is a hole, but Carrickfergus has probably the most complete Norman castle anywhere in the British Isles, so that should be good for a visit. Plus the town walls are partially complete. The coastal ride from Carrick to Larne is very scenic, expecially in an 80 class when you can lean out of the windows, so this may sell itself to normals :)
Ok you've sold it to me and as it's not far I expect we can find a couple of hours spare. :)

How far from the station is the castle?
 

4SRKT

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Ok you've sold it to me and as it's not far I expect we can find a couple of hours spare. :)

How far from the station is the castle?
Castle is about 5 minutes walk from the station. There's a Weatherspoon's en route, which given how crap beer in Ireland is generally, is a relief to be able to get proper English brews!
 

wintonian

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Castle is about 5 minutes walk from the station. There's a Weatherspoon's en route, which given how crap beer in Ireland is generally, is a relief to be able to get proper English brews!
Cheers.

I thought the only spoons was in Belfast, in any case when in Ireland (north or south) I'll drink Guinnes due to the fact that it doesn’t travel and I won't touch it here and when it's too hot for Guinnes I'll drink Harp good larger, but can't find it over here.
 

102 fan

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Cheers.

I thought the only spoons was in Belfast, in any case when in Ireland (north or south) I'll drink Guinnes due to the fact that it doesn’t travel and I won't touch it here and when it's too hot for Guinnes I'll drink Harp good larger, but can't find it over here.
Harp and good in the one sentance?
 

I T S

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it has been reported today that the sandite equipment is being removed from 97 and fitted to an unknown 450 class for the 2011 sandite season. Current status of the DEMU fleet is below:

451 - Engine Removed
452 - Wheelsets
453 - Portrush branch
454 - In service
455 - In service
456 - On test
457 - In service
458 - In service
459 - In service

69 - York Road stored
82 - York Road stored
89 - York Road stored
90 - In service with 94
93 - York Road stored
94 - In service with 90
97 - Sandite York Road
 

Lad Brookes

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Cheers.

I thought the only spoons was in Belfast, in any case when in Ireland (north or south) I'll drink Guinnes due to the fact that it doesn’t travel and I won't touch it here and when it's too hot for Guinnes I'll drink Harp good larger, but can't find it over here.
There's at least the following Spoons in NI:

(South) Belfast
Ards
Lisburn
Carrick
Ballymena
Coleraine
Londonderry x2
Enniskillen
 

K9-70

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A few photos from todays IRRS 80 Class Railtour
8094 Lambeg, empty diesel
8090 Lisburn, ready to depart
8090 passing Thornhill Rd
8094 passing Whiteabbey
8090 passing Sydenham

K9-70
 

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102 fan

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It's a pity neither the DCDR or RPSI wouldn't take one of these, even a 2 car set. It's sad to think that the train that was the backbone of NIR is going to fade away :cry:
 
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4SRKT

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It's more than a pity. It's pathetic. As you say this was the backbone of NIR through good times and (largely) bad. It was the default train in Northern Ireland for 30 years. When I hear that CIE BRCW Bo-Bo no 113 and yet another 141 class are off to Whitehead/Cultra, it makes me want to scream at the distorted priorities of the tiny scene in Ireland. Preserving 113 while allowing the 80 class to go would be like saving some obscure industrial saddle tank and scrapping all the Black Fives.
 

102 fan

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I know what you mean. All I heard from the 2 societies concerned was that the ordinary passenger wouldn't want to travel on them. Surely any heritage railway has to balance what the public wants, and what the enthusiast wants, as they are the workforce that runs the railway.
 

Anon Mouse

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I know what you mean. All I heard from the 2 societies concerned was that the ordinary passenger wouldn't want to travel on them. Surely any heritage railway has to balance what the public wants, and what the enthusiast wants, as they are the workforce that runs the railway.
That is such a backward thinking attitude, one which seems to blight many preservation groups that focus on steam. I thought one of the points of preservation was to keep a link with the past. The Thumpers are of huge importance to the history and development of the railways in Northern Ireland and should be kept as an important exhibt. I am also sure that there are many enthusuasts who would come from far and wide to bash a Thumper. For Goodness sake there is a prototype Pacer bouncing along a preserved line in Ulster! <D
 

jamesontheroad

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For Goodness sake there is a prototype Pacer bouncing along a preserved line in Ulster! <D
Thing is, they didn't have to endure that Pacer for long. NI folk, even rail enthusiasts, have had nothing but unreliable thumpers for decades. They were a compromise when they were "new" and probably don't reflect the side of the railway anyone wants to celebrate or remember. With such a small network and a small fleet, people are just bored of 'em :)

Give it ten years, however, and I suspect it'll be a different story. Don't know what you've got until it's gone etc etc etc.
 

102 fan

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Thing is, they didn't have to endure that Pacer for long. NI folk, even rail enthusiasts, have had nothing but unreliable thumpers for decades. They were a compromise when they were "new" and probably don't reflect the side of the railway anyone wants to celebrate or remember. With such a small network and a small fleet, people are just bored of 'em :)

Give it ten years, however, and I suspect it'll be a different story. Don't know what you've got until it's gone etc etc etc.
The number of times I've heard 'if only we had.....' in preservation circles here!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
If a 4 car Class 80 can be filled on a special, then I would say there is an argument for one to preserved - On top of it's historical signifigance.
 

K9-70

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I know what you mean. All I heard from the 2 societies concerned was that the ordinary passenger wouldn't want to travel on them. Surely any heritage railway has to balance what the public wants, and what the enthusiast wants, as they are the workforce that runs the railway.
Correct to a point.
The RPSI agenda has always been mainline steam railtours not diesel, though they have run some railtours in the past using diesel when steam wasn't available due to one reason or another.

As for Downpatrick, they used to run a diesel either a E or G Class on the last train of the day from Downpatrick to Inch Abbey. Passengers where quite happy to travel behind the diesel as it was something different.

Ok, let's look at it another way.
Suppose the RPSI do obtain a 2/3 car 80/450 Class set, where are they going to operate it ?
NIR/Translink, Irishrail say sorry, but the 80/450 Class doesn't meet our current health and safety regulations/standards, too slow, prone to failing in service, etc.
So you can't operate either class on their respective mainlines.
Driver/guard knowledge of both classes is not upto date, (ticket's expired) ok, retrain selected drivers/guards. Who's going to pay for the driver/guards to be retrained ?
Lets say both companies do agree to run a railtour using either the 80/450 Class and it fails in service. What next ? Mainline blocked, having to wait for a diesel locomotive to haul the failed set back to wherever it started from. Passengers onboard the train not very happy. Fare paying public complaining about delays etc.

Let's say Downpatrick agree to the use of the RPSI's 80/450 set,
Ok, passengers arrive, but not wanting to travel in either the 80/450 set to Inch Abbey or King Magnus Halt due to it being too modern. So the passengers turn on their hells and walk away and the Society loses money.
Downpatrick request that the RPSI take the set back. Sorry, but the RPSI have nowhere to store it, so it remains at Downpatrick slowly rotting away until it's not fit for service.

My feeling is, both the 80 & 450's will go the same way as the other railcars did when their time was up, and that is to the big graveyard in the sky.


K9-70
 

GM078

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It's more than a pity. It's pathetic. As you say this was the backbone of NIR through good times and (largely) bad. It was the default train in Northern Ireland for 30 years. When I hear that CIE BRCW Bo-Bo no 113 and yet another 141 class are off to Whitehead/Cultra, it makes me want to scream at the distorted priorities of the tiny scene in Ireland. Preserving 113 while allowing the 80 class to go would be like saving some obscure industrial saddle tank and scrapping all the Black Fives.
In fairness B113 has been preserved for sometime now. It was Ireland's first mainline diesel, so in a way would be more akin to preserving Rocket instead of a Black Five. Mind you the 80 class are probably more worthy than a Hunslet, as another poster said they were NIR's backbone for decades.

I don't believe there is another 141 going to Whitehead/Cultra. 175 is earmarked for the RPSI but the plan is only for one 141 to be at Whitehead at a time (currently B142). The 141s have the advantage of still having driver knowledge, wide route availibility, good reliability records. A Hunslet wouldn't have this.

Yes the odd 80 class special will fill (especially when the class is about to be retired) but would one be able to fill two three a year? I doubt it. Pity, really, as the post 1950 Irish Diesel scene is well represented and this will be a hole in that selection, but still alot better represented than the Irish steam fleet (only four GSR classes out of the hundreds that operated!).

I think the best solution is to gather a group of interested enthusiasts willing to pool money and manpower to keeping an 80 class operational, rather than criticise existing preservation groups who already have enough on their hands. Acquire a piece of land/storage building somewhere and keep it there.
 
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4SRKT

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Probably the real best solution is for enthusiasts to buy one as you say, but bring it to Britain and mount it on some second hand class 73/B4 bogies. Not ideal, and not likely to happen, but at least it'd have somewhere to run.
 

jamesontheroad

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Probably the real best solution is for enthusiasts to buy one as you say, but bring it to Britain and mount it on some second hand class 73/B4 bogies. Not ideal, and not likely to happen, but at least it'd have somewhere to run.
Think of it as an investment. In twenty years the RPSI could be knocking door your door :D
 

102 fan

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I think the best solution is to gather a group of interested enthusiasts willing to pool money and manpower to keeping an 80 class operational, rather than criticise existing preservation groups who already have enough on their hands. Acquire a piece of land/storage building somewhere and keep it there.
It was exactly that attitude that made me leave both preservation societies.
 

GM078

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Well in all fairness I wouldn't expect either of the societies (or the ITG for that matter) to invest money and manpower in something which is of questionable viability. Perhaps the solution is for a dedicated "Irish railcar" group to be set up. The RPSI diesel wing was set up by a group of people who pooled money and resources towards the acquisition of Small GM locos and a base at Charleville. I'm only speculating but maybe if a group did the same for the 80 class (including a base) they might get a favourable response, though admittingly the GMs have the advantage in that they can use existing carriages, act as thunderbirds/sub for failed steam locos, shunters, etc. The 80 class would be a very much standalone unit; I'm really sceptical that sufficient trips could be run every year (with full loadings) to cover the costs, I would not expect the RPSI to buy one of its own accord for these reasons. It's a tricky one. For a while I thought the best hope was for a power car to be preserved at the UFTM, though I am now beginning to wonder would they have the space for one if B113 and 102 are going in. Still, at least there's one at the East Lancs, better than nothing if far from ideal.
 

102 fan

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I'm not a member of any of the societies, but I was wondering if the RPSI or DCDR had actually asked any of it's membership if they want their society to get one?
 

GM078

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Interesting concept. I don't believe such a question has been put before the membership of either group as a whole. Indeed, has any society (in general) asked its membership would they like a particular type of stock? It raises problems though - what happens if a majority say yes, but not enough turn up to work on it, what if there is no funding for it without taking away from revenue earning exhibits, etc... But an interesting thought all the same... I still maintain the best example would be to follow that of the Diesel group, and organise funding/resources for the acquistion of such a unit, spares, place to stable it even. After all it worked for the 121/141 class locos.
 
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