THE Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s ‘West Awake Railtour’ on April 13 featured the first use of two 071 Class locomotives in multiple on a passenger train between Portarlington and Claremorris.
The only previous RPSI railtour on CIE/IR metals to feature a pair of 071 Class locomotives in multiple was the ‘Munster Double’ on October 14, 2017 when retro-liveried Nos. 071 and 073 were used.
The ‘West Awake’ started from Dublin Connolly with the consist of BR van No. 3173 and seven Cravens coaches hauled by Nos. 075 and 082. These locomotives were replaced as planned by another member of the class, retro-liveried No. 071, at Claremorris for the run to Ballina and return, and thence from Claremorris to Westport and return.
An interesting sight at Claremorris in the afternoon was NIR GM No. 8209, which was recessed with its Ballina-bound IWT container train in the siding that parallels the stub of the branch.
Nos. 075 and 082 were stabled on the stub of the Ballinrobe branch at Claremorris until they replacedNo. 071 for the return trip from there to Connolly. The empty stock workings from Inchicore to Connolly and return featured No. 074 and No. 234 respectively.
All profits from the railtour will be used for the restoration to full working order of the society’s ex-IR 121 Class GM No. B134, which is being undertaken at Inchicore Works. The RPSI has subsequently announced that its ‘Cobh Rambler Railtour’, planned for October 5, will include 071+201 Class “mixed double” multiple working.