Teething troubles for ‘Grand Hibernian’

The inaugural run of Belmond’s latest luxury train was hit by loco and stock problems on its journey around Ireland.

The first run of Belmond’s new luxury train, the ‘Grand Hibernian’, was beset by a number of problems.

On September 10, dedicated Belmond locomotive No. 216 hauls its train of 10 Mk.3s across the Dargan Bridge en route from Belfast York Road depot to Central station, and is about to cross the River Lagan. On each visit to Belfast, the 'Grand Hibernian' runs empty stock to the depot to run round. The cruise ships in the background are the Silver Whisper (nearest the camera) and the Saga Pearl II. Chris Playfair
On September 10, dedicated Belmond locomotive No. 216 hauls its train of 10 Mk.3s across the Dargan Bridge en route from Belfast York Road depot to Central station, and is about to cross the River Lagan. On each visit to Belfast, the ‘Grand Hibernian’ runs empty stock to the depot to run round. The cruise ships in the background are the Silver Whisper (nearest the camera) and the Saga Pearl II. Chris Playfair

Dedicated locomotive No. 216 was still considered to be unreliable for the high-profile inaugural journey, and so the role was instead given to ex-works Intercity-liveried No. 226.

On launch day August 30, No. 226 and the train of 10 Mk.3s left Dublin Heuston at 14.20 for Cork (see last month’s front cover and Headline News).

At 20.30, the tour train departed Cork and ran to Thurles to enable the locomotive to run round, and then returned as far as the down loop at Charleville, where the train was stabled until the following morning.

The requirement for the train to make the 86-mile round trip from Charleville to Thurles and return was because of signalling limitations.

Read more in November’s issue of RE

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