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The interior of No.2 cab prior to and after stripping. On the right, the cab approaches completion in December 2006.

May 1990-December 1992

During May 1990 the fledgling Irish Traction Group (ITG) approached Iarnród Éireann with a view to purchasing a ‘C’ class locomotive for preservation. At this stage the Group did not know if it would be offered a complete locomotive, or a gutted shell. On 28th May 1990 a few members of the ITG, accompanied by an Iarnród Éireann representative, examined the eight remaining ‘C’ class locomotives at Inchicore Works that were still fitted with a GM 8-B645E engine. By then, many of the remaining ‘C’ class locomotives had seen their 8-B645E engines removed for re-use in the 121/141/181 class GM locomotives, and a scrap engine dumped in its place.

Locomotives 209, 226 and 231 were found to be the most complete and the best candidates for preservation. 226 was eventually selected for preservation by the Group. Over the following 18 months, Iarnród Éireann put locomotive 226 to one side, and tried to keep it under cover whenever possible to enable the locomotive to dry out prior to restoration taking place. Once the ITG had come to an agreement to rent the Old Goods Store at Carrick-On-Suir station, locomotive 226 was released for sale and was purchased by the ITG on 23rd October 1992 for I£ 500 plus VAT.

This locomotive had the distinction of being the first main line diesel locomotive to be preserved in Ireland. It was officially handed over to the Group during a ceremony at Inchicore Works. 226 was moved by rail from Inchicore Works to Carrick-On-Suir for restoration on 6th December 1992. Restoration work commenced the following weekend with the removal of cab and engine room doors, handbrake pedestals and roof bolts.

January 1993 - December 1993

All of the roof panels, part of the cooler group, all of the droplight windows and remaining cab doors, tablet catchers, electrical cubicle panelling and engine room floor panels were removed. The engine defect which had originally resulted in 226 being withdrawn from service, the nature of which was unknown up to this point, was eventually discovered. Work commenced on making the necessary repairs to the engine.

The engine room cable trunking lids and all of the traction motor cables were removed for safe keeping. All of the rotten end-to-end control cables were cut out and scrapped. The plywood cab floors were lifted in both cabs, which revealed very extensive corrosion to both cab floors. Repainting of engine room pipes and conduits to their correct colour codes commenced. During the Easter period, the fan blade and all of the surrounding cooler group ducting was removed, together with the rain strips. In the second half of the year, both the high and low tension cubicles were stripped out completely.

Work commenced on stripping out No. 2 cab, the two power controllers were removed along with various desk panels and various cab fittings. The rotten headlamp box, and one of the rotten body side panels, was cut out. The air tanks were removed from the engine room along with the air cooling grid.

Locomotive C226 was built for Coras Iompair Éireann (CIE), the Irish State owned transport company, by Metropolitan Vickers at their premises at Dukinfield, Manchester, in 1956. C226 was part of a class of 34 Bo-Bo locomotives, designated ‘C’ class and numbered C201 – C234 inclusive, which were ordered as part of the drive to eliminate the majority of steam traction from the railways of the Irish Republic in the late 1950s.

The contract to build these locomotives was signed at Heuston Station, Dublin, on 5th May 1954. The bodies for the thirty-four ‘C’ class locomotives were constructed by Metropolitan Cammell at their Midland Works in Birmingham between 1956 and 1958.  The English Steel Corporation constructed the bogies in Sheffield, and Crossley Brothers at Openshaw, Manchester, supplied the engines. The electrical equipment for these locomotives was provided by Metropolitan Vickers Electrical Co. Ltd. The completed locomotive bodies were then transported by low loader to Metropolitan Vickers’ premises at Dukinfield, Manchester, for fitting of their engine/generator sets, bogies and for testing prior to shipping to Ireland.

C226 entered traffic with CIE on 21st August 1957. When built, these locomotives were originally fitted with a Crossley ESTVee8 engine of 550 hp. However, the Crossley engines proved to be extremely troublesome and unreliable. In 1969, the decision was taken to re-engine the whole class with General Motors 8-B645E engines of 1100 hp. C226 itself was re-engined on 10th June 1972, and subsequently re-numbered B226 to reflect its higher power classification. Eventually, the letter prefix ‘B’ was dropped, and the locomotive became 226.

Locomotive 226 continued in service with CIE until it was stored unserviceable with an engine defect on 5th May 1984. The locomotive was officially withdrawn on 25th September 1986. 226 covered a total of 612,000 miles during service, 305,000 miles while fitted with a Crossley engine and 307,000 miles whilst fitted with a GM engine.

The handover of 226.

January 1994 - December 1994

In January, work commenced on repainting the engine room, as well as some of the items removed from the locomotive, such as the air tanks. The aluminium floor panels were steam cleaned. In April, the inside of the engine room was also steam cleaned. Work continued on the repairs to the engine.

Over the weekend of 2nd/3rd July a crane was used to lift out the exhauster and the cooler fan motor. The crane used was on the site to remove six MV137 traction motors from a set of scrap ‘A’ class bogies which were destined for the preserved BTH Class 15 locomotive D8233 back in the UK.

Work on filling some of the many dents and scratches in the body commenced. The four original buffers were removed and the buffer beams repainted. Replacement buffers were fitted, as the originals were in very poor condition. Most of the remaining pipes in the engine room were removed for cleaning. The high tension cubicle frame was removed and the interior of the cubicle was repainted. The frame was then replaced inside the high tension cubicle. The frame was also removed from the low tension cubicle to allow repainting to take place.

Towards the end of the year most of the electrical cubicle panels were repainted. The load regulator cubicle was stripped out, and a start was made on repainting the interior of it. Repainting of the engine room walls continued. The roof panel bolt holes were tapped out and more filling was done to the body. The last of the wiring was removed from No. 2 cab.

January 1995 - December 1995

The remaining conduit in the engine room was removed. During February the cooler group was fully dismantled and removed from the engine room. The engine repairs were completed. Repainting of the engine room continued. The driver’s side desk and the centre console were removed from No. 2 cab to give access to the holes in the floor.

January 1996 - December 1996

The outside of the main generator was cleaned, and a start made in cleaning the oil from the engine room floor beneath the generator. More of the engine room walls were scraped back to bare metal. The buffers were repainted. Some of the rotten cab floor was cut out in No. 2 cab and the secondman’s desk was removed.

In early 1996, work on restoring 226 virtually ground to a halt. At around this time, three of the Group’s other locomotives, 231, G601 and G611, had all been moved from Carrick-On-Suir to Inchicore Works in readiness for display at the open weekend to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Works in June 1996. Unfortunately, the extra work required to prepare these locomotives for eventual display diverted attention away from 226 for several months.

January 1997 - December 1999

During 1997 more scraping and cleaning of the engine room walls took place and the No. 2 end bulkhead was primed, but work stopped at this point. Between 1997 and 1999, faced with the constant attack on the building and locomotives stored outside from vandals at the Carrick-On-Suir site, coupled with other increasing family commitments of the handful of volunteers who worked there, little work was done on 226.

Subsequent main line operation of the ITG’s two 001 ‘A’ class locomotives in 1999/2000 also kept our small band of volunteers away from Carrick-On-Suir and 226. In addition, at around the same time, the ITG’s other 201 ‘C’ class locomotive 231 had just been shipped to the UK for restoration, which meant that restoration work on 226 was now low down on the list of priorities.

Following the resumption of work at Carrick-On-Suir, some new volunteers came forward who have been vital to the consistent restoration progress that has taken place to on this locomotive since then.

November 2002 - December 2003

Work began with a repaint of the engine room. Work had already started repainting this area several years beforehand. Beginning with the low tension cubicle at No. 2 end, the various surfaces were wire brushed before paint was applied. Three coats of paint were usually applied, which meant that it would be a minimum of three visits before a particular area of the locomotive’s body was finished. There were plenty of channels and beams slowed progress somewhat. As progress was made down the inside of the locomotive’s body, pieces of pipe and conduit that had been removed several years beforehand were replaced. This replacement of parts, no matter how small, enabled us to see progress as we went along. The frame to support the switch gear was replaced inside the low tension cubicle, and work commenced on cleaning up some minor electrical items.

By May, the repaint had reached about half way along each of the body sides. At this stage, No. 2 cab still had a nasty hole in the cab floor that volunteers had to consciously avoid each time they stepped in and out of the cab. The time was rapidly approaching to start doing something about it! Work began on trimming the hole and shaping new steel plate to fit it. During this process we discovered that one of the main vacuum pipes had rotted through from the underneath. Progress was then halted until a repair to the vacuum pipe could be devised and carried out.

By August, the engine room repaint had been completed along one side. Cable holders had been replaced inside the electrical cubicles along with a few resistors. The load regulator was back in the engine room, and work continued with the replacement of pipes and conduit as soon as each section of wall had been completed. Two buffers were re-attached to No. 2 end buffer beam.

Towards the end of 2003, work commenced on overhauling some of the electrical switch gear. In addition, the repainting of the engine room had reached No. 1 end cab bulkhead. Work also commenced on cleaning some of the girders to support the cooling fan motor as we wanted to start replacing some of the bigger components.

January 2004 - December 2004

At the beginning of 2004, the regular volunteers at Carrick-On-Suir received a major boost from the UK in the form of a working weekend organised by three volunteers from the Ffestiniog Railway. During their two day visit, a substantial amount of progress was made. One of the most welcome items was the fabrication of a new cab floor for one side of No. 2 cab, so there was no more having to remember the hole in the floor when getting in and out of the cab. Work then continued over the following months finishing the repairs to the cab floor on the secondman’s side. Towards the end of 2004, the extensive rot on the driver’s side of No. 2 cab floor was also cut out and new steel was welded into position. The rotten panel on the cab side on the secondman’s side was also replaced at the same time.

The engine room repaint was completed during this period, which was very welcome. Other jobs completed during the visit were the replacement of a cab side panel at No. 1 end, and wire wheeling of cooling fan support frames. The frame was then replaced a few weeks later. Work continued with the cleaning of various electrical bits, as did the cleaning and repainting of various bits of pipe. The completion of the engine room repaint also meant that the remaining sections of engine room lamp conduit could be replaced. The No. 2 cab bulkhead was given a full wire wheeling and repaint, which improved the look of this cab considerably. Some of the overhauled electrical panels were refitted into the low tension cubicle.

The electrical control cubicles, which had been totally stripped out and had been a rather daunting proposal to rebuild, began to have some of the switch gear refitted onto the frames. At this stage in the restoration a full set of wiring diagrams had been obtained, and were being studied by those who were contemplating the rewire.

In the engine room, work commenced with the wire wheeling areas of the main floor, and also cleaning out the floor area around the bottom of where the cooler group radiator banks used to sit. Attention then turned to the radiator header tanks themselves. It was decided that due to extensive rust pitting, the faces of these tanks would have to be professionally machined. Before the tanks could be sent away, the 160 studs that secured the individual radiator elements to the tanks would have to be removed. Some of these studs required heating three times with oxyacetylene before coming loose, while others came off on the first try.

January 2005 - December 2005

The start of 2005 was occupied with the shaping of steel patches for No. 2 cab weld repairs and replacement of the missing No. 2 end lamp box. Once the majority of the welding was complete, and because the repairs to the floor had now also been completed, work on repainting of the interior of the cab could commence. Over the coming months the whole of the inside of No. 2 cab was wire wheeled back to bare metal and given 3 coats of paint. As the repainting work continued inside the cab, work also commenced on cleaning and repainting each part that had been removed from the cab. These ranged from the large central console down to various oddly shaped pipes and small pipe clips. Some other rotten sections of the locomotive’s body were also cut out and replaced, which meant that 226 had its first partial trip outside the Old Goods Store in many years.

The main engine room trunking lids were cleaned up and repainted. Most of the remaining electrical switches were replaced inside the low tension cubicle making the rewire the next major electrical task. Work commenced on overhauling some of the high tension cubicle components. All of the electrical cubicle covers were fully repainted. Replacement radiator studs were purchased for the radiator header tanks. All of the air pipes were replaced in No. 2 cab, which meant the central console could soon be replaced.

The high tension cabinet after the 4th traction motor switch was added. The cabinet was practically complete by this point. 05.04.08

The low tension cabinet. 27.01.07

The high tension cabinet. 27.01.07

January 2006 - December 2006

In January, the recently installed cab air pipes were tested for leaks and an opportunity was taken to sound the locomotive’s horn! A minor victory, but at least something worked!

Over the coming months, over one hundred different components associated with the driver’s and secondman’s desks were replaced in No. 2 cab. As the year progressed, the cab underwent a complete transformation from a gutted shell to a complete cab. The reverser air circuit was tested, and work continued with replacement of various electrical parts in the cubicles as time permitted. May saw 226 moved outside the shed for the first time in many years. This was to display the locomotive for a railtour that was stopping in Carrick-On-Suir. Whilst the locomotive was outside, some battery conduit and cable was replaced.

Some work was undertaken in No. 1 cab with the removal of the driver’s desk. Work continued in No. 2 cab with the overhaul and replacement of vacuum and air brake valves, and a start was made on overhauling the two cab seats which were in very poor condition; restoration of the two seats took about six months to complete.

The radiator header tanks were finally sent away for machining of the faces. Upon their return, the tanks were wire wheeled down to bare metal and given several coats of paint. The starting contactors were overhauled and replaced inside the high tension cubicle. The two electrical control cubicles were mostly complete at this stage. The 2.5 km of cable required to rewire the locomotive was purchased and delivered to Carrick-On-Suir to await the rewire. Rewiring started with the engine room lamps. These were rewired and operated for the first time on 18th November using a 110V transformer.

January 2007 - December 2007

The hole in the floor of No. 1 cab was squared up and a patch was cut out. With work still continuing on No. 2 cab, and also in the engine room, further work on this cab would have to wait until 2009 before anything substantial recommenced.

With most of the major components refitted back into No. 2 cab, and also into the adjacent electrical cubicles, it was decided to commence the rewire of the locomotive. Rewiring commenced with the connections between the cab and the cubicles being made. With no major difficulties being found, the rewire continued with each side of No. 2 cab being done, together with the cab heaters, marker lamps and other external components. Later on, the central switch panel was rewired, completing the rewire of this cab. Following this success, work commenced on the long awaited rewire of the low tension cubicle. This was undertaken in stages over many Saturdays and some other evenings. With the completion of the low tension cubicle and the cab, work then commenced on rewiring the high tension cubicle. As circuits were completed they were tested, with no faults being found. One set of main generator cables were refitted and laid out along the engine room trunking to the location of the generator. Shortly thereafter, the trunking lids were temporarily replaced to protect the cables.

Following the completion of the rewire, work continued with the overhaul of the cooler group. The recently purchased radiator studs were inserted into the radiator header tanks. It was decided to send the individual radiator elements away for professional washing and pressure testing. There are a total of 40 radiator elements in the cooler group, and they were generally sent away for testing in batches of 10. In readiness for the reassembly of the cooler group, work commenced on the repair and repainting of the cooler group ducting that directs air through the radiators and out through the roof. One section of duct was sent away for patching and the other was repaired on site.

January 2008 - December 2008

A new plywood floor was cut out and fitted into No. 2 cab on 26th January. This made a very pleasant change from stepping over pipes and conduit when working in the cab. More rewiring, testing, and replacing of electrical components took place in the high tension cubicle. On 1st March the reverser was successfully operated from No. 2 cab, followed by the overhauled traction motor switches. The replacement of all of the traction motor cables from the reverser, down along the engine room floor, completed the high tension cubicle rebuild.

Work on the cooler group continued. One side of the cooler group was reassembled and lifted back into position. Following its replacement, work began to install the radiator elements that were returning from overhaul. Once one side was completed a pressure test was carried out. Following a successful test it was then possible to replace one section of the ducting. Over the following months the other side of the cooler group was rebuilt, and elements gradually replaced. It became increasingly difficult to obtain good elements from each batch of 10 being sent for testing. It would be the start of 2009 before a full set was finally obtained. Some badly corroded air pipes were repaired where they run below one of the radiator banks. Some more body work repairs took place early in the year to repair corrosion at the radiator opening. At the same time a patch for No. 1 cab floor was welded into position. Later on in the year, a new plywood floor was cut out for this cab also, and fitted temporarily to make access in and out of the cab a bit easier.

The fuel pump motor was sent away for attention and had been refitted and tested by the end of June. The vacuum control unit was partially dismantled and cleaned. It was found to be in very good condition, and so it was reassembled, repainted, and refitted inside the engine room.

The big job undertaken during this year was the removal of the engine and generator set. As mentioned earlier, 226 was originally taken out of traffic after suffering an engine defect. A small section of the engine block, where the cam shaft was attached, had cracked and broken loose due to excessive vibration on the cam shaft. Replacement engine parts were obtained from former NIR locomotive 109 (ex. CIE 234) when it was being scrapped. An attempt was made to repair 226’s engine by welding the broken piece back into place. However, the effectiveness of this repair was always in doubt, particularly if the engine was to be operating under full load. As such, it was decided to try to obtain a replacement power unit from a 141/181 class locomotive, as several of this class were subsequently re-engined with engines recovered from withdrawn ‘C’ class locomotives. During 2008, a replacement GM 8-B645E engine was successful obtained from Iarnród Éireann. This engine was recovered from 141 class locomotive 149 shortly before it was scrapped, and was known to be in good condition.

On Sunday 12th October, the original engine and generator set from 226 were lifted out of the locomotive. The generator set was then sent away for overhaul, together with the exhauster and cooling fan motors. Meanwhile, the original engine was put on the loading dock inside the Goods Shed, to be retained as a source of spares. Following the removal of the engine and generator set, the engine bed-frame and general floor area was cleaned and repainted. The engine oil filter containers and all of the engine water and oil pipes were also cleaned and repainted.

It had been expected to have the new engine and overhauled generator back in 226 by the end of the year, but difficulties with the insulation of the commutator poles in the main generator delayed its return to early 2009. The traction motor blower motor was overhauled by a local firm and returned to Carrick-On-Suir, where it received a repaint.

January 2009 - December 2009

Towards the end of 2009, the ITG applied to the Heritage Council for a grant to help fund the weld repairs to No. 1 cab, shot blasting of the roof panels and other smaller items. This application was successful, the Group being awarded a grant of €4000, which was around 50% of the cost of the work applied for. This meant we now had a list of jobs, and a deadline of the end of November, to complete. These included the overhaul of the heat exchanger, shot blasting of the roof sections and main air cooling grid, repair to the flexible ducting and new water pipe seals.

The overhaul of the generator set was finished in early January. Six coats of varnish had to be applied to the com-poles before they would pass a 1000 volt insulation test. The generator set was then re-assembled with a new bearing. The cost of the overhaul of the generator set, the cooling fan motor, and the exhauster motor, came to just over €6000. The overhauled generator, exhauster and the cooling fan motor were returned to Carrick-On-Suir in January.

On Sunday 8th February 2009, the replacement power unit for 226, together with the overhauled generator set, were lifted back into the locomotive. The engine was then bolted down on its mountings and the generator set bolted to the engine. However, before the generator casing was bolted down and an attempt made to crank the engine, accurate measurements and adjustments were needed to casing position to ensure that they were correctly aligned. Meanwhile, work commenced on connecting the water and oil pipes to the replacement engine.

After many failures, we finally managed to obtain a full set of suitable radiator elements to complete the reassembly of the remaining radiator bank. Following a successful pressure test, another section of the ducting was replaced. As the year progressed, the water pipes to connect the cooler group to the engine were replaced. The overhauled cooling fan motor was refitted on top of its framing. Connections were made, and the motor was bolted down. The water tank, together with its associated pipe work, was replaced. New water pipe seals were purchased and fitted as part of the grant work.

The heat exchanger was sent away for cleaning and testing. Following its return it was repainted, refitted, and then connected up. All of the other components removed to enable the engine change to take place were replaced. The ‘new’ engine was very oily when it arrived. Over the first half of the year, the outside of the engine was degreased, followed by the air intake and finally the sump. 500 litres of new engine oil was purchased in preparation for the long awaited start-up. All of the 141 class specific parts were removed from the ‘new’ engine as it had been modified slightly to suit 141 a class locomotive during its period of re-use.

During February, work began on removing all of the equipment from No. 1 cab in preparation for weld repairs and full restoration. Over the coming months the cab was completely gutted, and new steel patches were cut out to replace the wasted metal. Towards the end of the year the welding work was completed. As the parts were removed they were all cleaned and given at least 3 coats of paint. Almost all of the parts removed have now been restored, and cab will be rebuilt as soon as the various sections inside the cab are ready. By the end of the year, work had commenced on wire wheeling the cab interior.

The three biggest roof sections were sent away on 23rd May to be shot blasted, repaired and primed before being returned to Carrick-On-Suir on 24th July. Application of the undercoat and gloss paint commenced, and was well advanced by the end of 2009. The compressed air cooling grid, the centre cab console from No. 1 cab, and some seat parts, were also sent away for shot blasting and priming.

Work commenced on sanding and filling the No.2 end as time permitted. The multiple working socket was replaced at this end and minor bits and pieces were fitted back into No. 2 cab.

The engine room with lights working and engine/generator set still in situ. 18.11.06

The engine and generator are removed from the loco. 12.10.08

The replacement engine (from 141 class loco, 149) at an engineer’s yard in Waterford. 16.08.08

Work continued on connecting the engine alongside the that being undertaken on the cabs. A major headache was getting the generator correctly aligned with the engine and despite many attempts, this proved fruitless. The issue was finally solved when a local contractor made the alignment with the help of a hacksaw blade! This alignment now correct, work could progress in preparation for cranking the engine in advance of attempting to restart the loco.

The empty engine room appears deceptively spacious. 12.10.08

The re-installed traction blower motor and compressor. 16.10.10 Photo - Peter Jones

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