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Locomotive G617 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 G617 entered traffic with CIE on 24th May 1962, and lasted in service until 9th December 1976. The locomotive was officially withdrawn on 14th November 1977.

Following withdrawal by CIE in November 1977 this locomotive, along with sister locomotives G611, G613, G615 and G616, were sold to Comhlucht Siuicre Éireann (Irish Sugar Company). G617 was then used for shunting at the sugar factory at Thurles where it was to remain until it was preserved, along with G616, 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. No work was carried out on G617 at Mallow, as efforts were concentrated on sister locomotive G616.

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 getting G617 operational.

On 29th May 1994 this locomotive was started for the first time in ITG ownership. It was given a quick repaint into ‘black and tan’ livery prior to a visit of an ITG railtour to Carrick-On-Suir on 26th November 1994.

In September 1995 the locomotive was placed on long term loan to the Downpatrick & Co. Down Railway, where it has remained ever since. During the latter part of 2007, and the first half of 2008, this locomotive received a body and mechanical overhaul at Downpatrick, which included a repaint into CIE black livery and the fitting of replacement LED marker lights recovered from withdrawn 80 Class railcar vehicles.

G617 sees regular use, mainly on shunting duties, but occasionally on passenger services.

G617 is started for the first time in many years.

G617 in the goods siding at Carrick-on-Suir.

G617 following overhaul and repaint at Downpatrick. 05.05.08. Photo - Colin Holliday

G617 on the cathedral siding at Downpatrick. 21.12.13. Photo - Mike Beckett