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Locomotive B152 was built for Coras Iompair Éireann (CIE), the Irish State owned transport company, by General Motors at their premises at La Grange, Illinois, USA in 1962. B152 was part of a class of 37 Bo-Bo locomotives, designated ‘B’ class and numbered B141 – B177 inclusive.

The 141 (B) class locomotives could be seen working all over the Irish Rail network, operating both local and express passenger, and also freight and engineering services, either singly, or in multiple with other 141 (B) class, 181 (B) class and even 121 (B) class locomotives.

B152 entered traffic with CIE on 3rd December 1962. The letter prefix “B” was dropped from 1972 onwards, and the locomotive eventually became 152.

The 141 (B) class locomotives were originally fitted with a GM 8-567CR engine of 950 hp when built. During the course of their operating lives several of the 141 (B) class locomotives had their original engines exchanged with   GM 8-567CR engines from 121 (B) class locomotives and also with the more powerful GM 8-B645E engines from 181 (B) class locomotives. In addition, several examples of the 141 (B) class locomotives were also fitted with GM 8-B645E engines recovered from former 201 (C) class locomotives. Eventually, all the remaining GM 8-567CR engines were modified and upgraded to the equivalent of the GM 8-B645E engine, but still retaining the original engine block. Locomotive 152 still retains the original GM 8-567CR type engine block.

The first locomotive of the class to be withdrawn was locomotive 174, which was taken out of service in October 1993 in need of a body overhaul. Other early withdrawals were locomotives 161 (May 1996), 158 (March 1999), 150 (May 2003) and 157 (July 2003). Between 2006 and 2009 most the other remaining members of this class were gradually taken out of service by Iarnród Éireann, either following major failure, mishap, due major repairs, or simply surplus to requirements, with only a handful of examples remaining in service by the end of 2009.

The last surviving members of the class were withdrawn from main line service in February 2010, although 162, 171 and 175, were retained in operational condition for pilot duties at Inchicore Works and North Wall. These were finally withdrawn during 2011, 171 being the last to go in November of that year.

Locomotive 152 spent its last few months in service operating engineer’s trains mainly around the Mayo area. It was eventually taken out of traffic and withdrawn in February 2010 following a brake problem at Ballyhaunis on 22nd February 2010, which also resulted in the rest of the class being removed from main line service a few days later. Locomotive 152 was sold to the Irish Traction Group in November 2010, primarily as a source of spare parts for locomotives 124, 146 and 190, although it could be returned to working order relatively easily. The locomotive was part way through a brake valve overhaul when work was stopped, as such both cabs are currently part dismantled. Locomotive 152 was eventually moved to the West Clare Railway, Moyasta, Co. Clare on 25th November 2010 for storage.

152 +190 at Waterford on the Docklands Pioneer railtour on 31.03.07

Locomotive 152 is winched off the Allelys low-loader onto a track panel at the West Clare Railway, Moyasta, 25.11.10. Photo - Ken Manto

Locomotive 152 at the West Clare Railway, in the company of locomotives C231 (left) and 190 (behind) shortly after unloading , 25.11.10. Photo - Ken Manto

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