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The Irish Traction Group (ITG) was formed on the 4th June 1989, with the objective of preserving at least one example of each class of diesel locomotive to have operated on the Irish railway system, with the exception of those already lost to the cutter’s torch. The ultimate aim of the Group is to restore its collection of locomotives to full operational condition. The ITG specifically caters for the modern traction enthusiast, providing up to date news of events and workings on the railway systems of Ireland and Northern Ireland, via its quarterly journal The Irish Mail.

The Group is a registered charity, relying solely on volunteers for its restoration and preservation operations, and the main source of income is derived from membership subscriptions and voluntary donations. Previously, this also included profits from the operation of special enthusiast railtours, both in the Irish Republic and the United Kingdom , which featured a variety of motive power, routes and destinations.

Before the Group was able to purchase any locomotive, Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) required the ITG to have a permanent base at which to store any locomotives acquired by the Group.  To this end, and after a few abortive attempts, in June 1992 the ITG reached agreement with Córas Iompar Éireann (CIE) to rent the former goods store at Carrick-On-Suir Railway Station, Co. Tipperary, as an operating base.

The first locomotive purchased by the ITG was 201 (C) class locomotive 226, which was handed over to the Group at a ceremony at Inchicore Works, Dublin, on 23rd October 1992. This locomotive has the distinction of being the first main line diesel locomotive to be preserved in Ireland and is currently undergoing extensive restoration at Carrick-On-Suir. Fellow 201 (C) class locomotive 231 was purchased shortly thereafter on 16th November 1992.

This locomotive was moved to the UK in June 1999, restored to working order by RMS Locotec, and returned to Ireland in August 2000. Locomotive 231 was originally stored at Inchicore Works, but was moved to the West Clare Railway (WCR), Moyasta, Co. Clare, at the end of November 2009. On 7th June 2014, locomotive 231 was transported to Downpatrick & County Down Railway (DCDR), Downpatrick, Co. Down, where work has begun to return the loco to operational condition.

The Group's next acquisition was Sulzer-engined 101 (B) class locomotive B103, the sole remaining example of a class of twelve locomotives built by Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Company (BRCW) at Smethwick, Birmingham, in 1956. The last examples of this type were withdrawn by CIE in 1977 and locomotive B103 was purchased by the ITG on 27th April 1993 and subsequently moved to Carrick-On-Suir where it is stored, awaiting restoration.

The Group is also the owner of two 001 (A) class locomotives, A3R and A39. Both locomotives were purchased from Iarnród Éireann in December 1995 in full working order. Locomotive A3R is presently in CIE black & tan livery, whilst locomotive A39 has been repainted into CIE black livery. Both these locomotives were originally based at Inchicore Works, but locomotive A3R was moved to the WCR at the end of November 2009, whilst locomotive A39 was moved to DCDR at the same time.

In early November 2009, the Group purchased 121 (B) class locomotive 124 and 181 (B) class locomotive 190 for preservation from Iarnród Éireann. Both locomotives are currently in full working order, and were moved down to the WCR at the end of November 2009. During May 2010, 141 (B) class locomotive 146 was preserved by the Group, again in full working order. In November 2010 the ITG also purchased 141 (B) class locomotive 152, primarily as a source of spare parts for locomotives 124, 146 and 190. Locomotive 146 was eventually moved to the DCDR at the end of November 2010, whilst locomotive 152 was moved to the WCR at the same time.

Locomotives 124, 152, 190, and A3R, are eventually to be put on display in a new museum planned for construction at the West Clare Railway. It is hoped that a short running line will also be laid at the site to enable these locomotives to be operated on passenger services.

As well as the mainline locomotives, the ITG also owns four diesel shunting locomotives; these being Deutz (G) class locomotives G601, G611, G616 and G617. Locomotive G601 is stored at Carrick-On-Suir awaiting restoration, whilst locomotive G616 is presently undergoing restoration within the Goods Shed at Carrick-On-Suir. Locomotives G611 and G617 are in full working order and are currently on long term loan to the DCDR.

Apart from the locomotives mentioned above, the ITG also owns Wickham Inspection Car 712. This vehicle is currently stored out of use at the DCDR and is in need of a full restoration.

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