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Northern Irish trains scrapped

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Veteran Member
23 Jan 2009
It is the end of the line for a series of Northern Ireland trains.

The old 450s have had their day.

For railway lovers, it means goodbye to the old-fashioned "thump thump" engine and the clickety clack of a train running along a track.

Modern computerised trains are swift, smooth and state of the art - the trouble is, you wouldn't know you were on one, some train lovers argue.

The first of Northern Ireland Railway's 450 class trains was broken up at the weekend and another faces the same fate next weekend.

NIR said the cost of repairing them would not have been economically viable.

The company said seven Class 450s remain and will be disposed of through a variety of channels, as yet to be confirmed.

Photographer and rail enthusiast Chris Playfair said: "They cut the trains in half at York Road depot in Belfast, put each half on the back of a lorry and bring them to Ahoghill for scrap,"

The old trains, brought over from British Rail in 1985 and using engines dating back to the late 1960s, carry special memories for thousands like Chris.

"From a passenger's point of view, you knew you were on a train," he explained.

"You'd have the thumper engine - essentially it went thump, thump as you went along.

"The trains were in service in the days when the train tracks would have all been jointed, so you'd get the clickety-clack, clickety-clack sound as well.

"The windows opened on those trains too. Now the modern trains are all computerised and air conditioned."

Chris said railway staff nicknamed the old trains, the "Castle Class".

They were named as follows: 451 - Belfast Castle; 452 - Olderfleet Castle; 453 - Moiry Castle; 454 - Carrickfergus Castle; 455 - Galgorm Castle; 456 - Gosford Castle; 457 - Bangor Castle; 458 - Antrim Castle and 459 - Killyleagh Castle.

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RailUK Forums


Established Member
4 Mar 2010
Next door in the Republic, the old trains some with asbestos were just parked up for ever in a rail tunnel & the entrance sealed.
I don't recall hearing about that (although that certainly doesn't mean that it isn't true!), but I do know that a number of Northern Irish 70 class vehicles were dumped in the flooded quarry at Crosshill upon withdrawal in 1980 due to them being contaminated with asbestos. It was cheaper than having them decontaminated and broken up.

They remained there until quite recently, since when the flooded quarry has been drained to allow for an asbestos decontamination plant to be put in place there, and the submerged (Or partially submerged; some of the carriages were visible on Google maps at one time, I don't know whether it's still the case) carriages were cut into smaller pieces and buried elsewhere within the site.

There's also IIRC a class 27 and a couple of DMU vehicles buried in a Scottish landfill somewhere in the vicinity of Glasgow and the Clyde. Once again, it was cheaper than decontaminating them.
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