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103 following withdrawal, stored at Inchicore Works

Locomotive B103 is the sole surviving member of a class of twelve Sulzer engined 101 (B) class locomotives built by the Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Company (BRCW) at Smethwick, Birmingham, in 1956. The locomotives were constructed using parts originally ordered from Sulzer in 1948 for six twin-engined locomotives.

B103 entered service on 13th August 1956, and remained in operation with CIE until it was eventually stopped on 17th November 1977. These locomotives worked all types of traffic across the CIE system. In their final years these locomotives did very little work, mainly being confined to engineer’s trains. The last member of this class to run in service was B106, which soldiered on until 7th February 1978. These locomotives were then stored at Inchicore until 1984, when a decision was made to finally dispose of them for scrap. In the intervening years most of the class, including B103, had been stored in one long siding on the up side of the main line at Inchicore, acting as a sound barrier for passing trains to the adjacent houses. Only B103 was spared the cutters torch, as it had originally been earmarked for preservation by WESTRAIL at Tuam, Co. Galway. B103 then languished at Inchicore Works until 1992, along with prototype Sulzer locomotives B113 and B114, pending eventual sale to their prospective new owners.

Alarmed by the apparent lack of progress and the locomotive’s deteriorating condition, the ITG then approached Iarnród Éireann to ask if they would contact WESTRAIL to see if they still wanted to take up their option to purchase this locomotive. In April 1993 the ITG was informed that it could now purchase the locomotive and it was eventually sold to the Group on 27th April 1993. Locomotive B103 was initially moved from Inchicore Works to Kildare in a ballast train on 1st July 1993. Two days later, on 3rd July 1993, B103 was hauled from Kildare to Limerick Junction where it was to remain until 14th August 1993, when it was hauled to Carrick-On-Suir in a liner train.

This locomotive has been stored outside the goods shed at Carrick-On-Suir since its arrival. Although the locomotive was reasonably intact when purchased by the Group, the bodywork was in very poor condition. When locomotive B103 was first delivered to Carrick-On-Suir, the cab and engine room windows were boarded up for security. Around two years later, B103 was given a coat of green undercoat to help protect the bodywork from the elements. Later on, the locomotive was repainted in black livery in an attempt to improve its external appearance.

During 2003, a ‘dodgy’ looking grey substance was found inside one of the cab doors. Further analysis revealed that this substance was asbestos, more of which was also found in the bulkheads between the cabs and engine room. A suitably qualified contractor was recommended by Iarnród Éireann and the offending substance was professionally removed in March 2004.

During April/May 2010, the locomotive was encased in a protective cladding in order to help protect the bodywork from further deterioration, until such time that restoration work can finally commence.

Some photos taken at the ITG’s Carrick-on-Suir base, showing the deterioration to B103

The  protective layer of steel cladding around locomotive B103 under construction during April/May 2010 in an effort to help protect the locomotive’s bodywork. Photo - Aidan Kehoe

Locomotive B103 under its protective cladding, alongside Deutz locomotive G601 which has received similar treatement.

Photo - Aidan Kehoe

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