The ‘DH’ class comprised three locomotives that were constructed in 1968/69 for Northern
Ireland Railways (NIR) by the English Electric (EE) Co. Limited, at their Vulcan
The locomotives were less than successful during their period of service with NIR, and locomotive 1 was eventually laid up in 1986, with locomotive 3 being stopped two years later. Only locomotive 2 soldiered on, eventually being taken out of service in May 1989. At around that time, NIR decided that they wanted to mark the 150th anniversary of railways in Northern Ireland by having these three locomotives ‘plinthed’ at Lisburn, Belfast Central and Londonderry stations.
In preparation for this, in mid-
Although locomotive 2 was originally taken out of traffic in May 1989, the ITG approached NIR in August 1989, enquiring if it would be possible to organise a farewell railtour using this particular locomotive. NIR graciously agreed to this proposal, and the railtour was scheduled to operate on 10th September 1989. Locomotive 2 was then taken into York Road Works to be prepared for the railtour and also to repaint it into NIR maroon livery. Unfortunately, on 9th September 1989, the day before the railtour, locomotive 2 suffered a catastrophic engine failure whilst running light engine from York Road to Central Services Depot to work the railtour. This was the end of the ‘DH’ locomotives in NIR service.
On 9th August 1991 locomotives 2 and 3 were towed from York Road to Larne Harbour for storage. On 10th and 11th September 1991, the engines and transmissions were removed from these locomotives and sold to a marine engine company. Locomotives 2 and 3 then languished at Larne Harbour until early September 1994 when, along with locomotive 1, they were all purchased for preservation by the ITG.
On 11th September 1994 the three locomotives started the first leg of their remarkable
journey south, eventually destined for the ITG’s operating base at Carrick-
At 12:20 on 7th January 1995, the three DH locomotives set off south on the second leg of their journey, this time to Inchicore Works in Dublin, hauled by a 181 class locomotive. The journey to Dublin Connolly took seven hours to complete, as the movement was restricted to 20 mph, with several stops also having to be made on route to check that the coupling rods and bearings were not running hot. After being shunted around at Dublin Connolly, a 141 class locomotive was used to transfer the three DH locomotives around to Inchicore Works, where they eventually arrived at around 21:00.
After spending a week at Inchicore Works, remarkably parked on the head-
During their long period in store at Carrick-
However, in May 2005, the ITG was contacted by Beaver Power Limited, enquiring if
the Group would be prepared to sell all three locomotives to them for re-
Subsequently, on Wednesday 23rd November 2005, DH locomotive 1 departed Carrick-
Subsequently, it was decided to offer DH locomotive 1 for sale. Prior to this decision being taken, consideration was given to cosmetically restoring locomotive 1, but in the absence of a suitable location at which to display the locomotive, it was not considered worthwhile. On 28th January 2010 locomotive 1 was finally sold to Beaver Power Limited, and is currently stored at their premises in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales. It is understood that there are plans for this locomotive to eventually be rebuilt and overhauled for industrial use, either in the UK or abroad.
DH1 on static display at Lisburn, 1989. Photo -
DH1 stored at Carrick-
DH3 stored at Carrick-
DH3 following refurbishment by Beaver Power Ltd, Merthyr Tydfil
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