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Locomotive G616 is one of a class of seven shunting locomotives constructed between 1961/62 by Motorenfabrik Deutz at Köln, Germany. The locomotives were specifically designed for shunting and light branch line work. Locomotive G616 entered traffic with CIE on 4th June 1962, and lasted in service until 2nd May 1977. The locomotive was officially withdrawn on 29th July 1977.

Following withdrawal by CIE, this locomotive, along with sister locomotives G611, G613, G615 and G617, were sold to Comhlucht Siuicre Éireann (Irish Sugar Company). G616 was then used for shunting at the sugar factory at Carlow. Locomotive G616 was subsequently moved to the Thurles factory when rail-borne operations at the Carlow factory ceased, where the locomotive was to remain until it was preserved, along with G617, by the now defunct Great Southern Railway Preservation Society (GSRPS) in the mid-1980s. Both G616 and G617 were then moved to the GSRPS’ base at Mallow, where a start was made on their restoration.  

However, this project eventually floundered in 1990, and both locomotives were then sold to the Deutz Operators Group (DOG) in November 1990. The DOG was made up of four of the then Committee members of the ITG, who stepped in to purchase the locomotives to prevent them from being sold for scrap.

At the time, the ITG were unable to take the two locomotives as the Group had not yet secured an operating base. Whilst they were at Mallow some restoration work was carried out on G616, however, as both locomotives were stored outside, and off their wheels, the scope of work that could be carried out was extremely limited.

Once the ITG had secured its base at Carrick-On-Suir, ownership of both G616 and G617 was transferred to the ITG in August 1993. Both locomotives were re-united with their wheels, and then moved by low-loader to Carrick-On-Suir. Once at Carrick-On-Suir, work commenced on stripping down G616. Over the next three years good progress was made on its restoration, with most of the frame and cab fittings being cleaned up and repainted. However, a lack of volunteers, coupled with other various commitments, meant that work on G616 eventually ground to a halt.

In January 2012 work recommenced on the restoration of this locomotive. The cab interior was repainted and the cab refitted back onto the frames. Most of the equipment removed from the cab is gradually being replaced. The inside of the driver’s desk has also been repainted in grey gloss. Many components removed from the inside of the desk have been repainted and replacement of some of these components has commenced. The lower section of the desk containing the control levers and part of the vacuum system, has been fully repainted inside and out, and is being fitted out with equipment. The top section of the desk, containing the gauges, switches and most of the electrical system, has been rewired and replaced on top of the desk.  

Following the replacement of manifolds, and some other minor repairs, the engine was successfully restarted on 29th September 2012 for the first time in 26 years. Work continues on the locomotive with the replacement of various missing components.

G616 and G617 stored at Mallow while under GSRPS ownerhsip.

G616 undergoing restoration in the goods shed at Carrick-on-Suir.

The rear of G616’s control desk during rewiring. 29.09.12. Photo - Aidan Brosnan.

The reassembled control desk of G616. 03.11.12. Photo - Aidan Kehoe

Bob Twigg, with the assistance of Aidan Brosnan, starts the engine of G616 for the first time in approximately 25 years. 29.09.12. Video - Aidan Kehoe