14th May 2016 - The Loco's not for Turning
Saturday 14th May 2016
Day one of the main three day "International Railtour" started from Dublin Connolly with "Jeep" 2-6-4T no. 4 which is usually based in Dublin along with ex Dublin an South Eastern Railway 2-6-0 no. 461 which was not appearing on this tour, we guess due to it's low maximum speed.
The tour started from Dublin Connolly again and took the same slow route to Islandbridge Junction that the diesel tour took yesterday but once on the Cork mainline no. 4 quickly got the seven Cravens and generator van up to speed. Not for long though as we stopped at Kildare where single line working was in operation and the pilotman had just sent a train through in front so our train had to wait for it to clear the section . We didn't have to wait to long for our turn, proceeding carefully "wrong road" past the worksite where a ballast cleaner and regular were working. Our next stop was Portarlington where 087 was stabled in the sidings with an engineers train and no. 4 was booked to take water courtesy of the fire brigade who were on hand to pump water from the hydrant on the overbridge down to the platform.
Leaving Portarlington, the train turned right towards Tullamore, Athone and Roscommon, where there was a stop to pass a service train, and a further stop to allow another one to overtake us at Castlerea where it appeared that a good proportion of the local population had turned out to see the train.
A long stop had been planned at Claremorris to service and turn the loco. The track layout had been heavily rationalised and control passed to the CTC in Dublin since our previous visits though the signal box was still standing and the turntable was still in situ and had been recently overhauled. Unfortunately it resolutely refused to turn when no. 4 was placed on it, despite the loco being repositioned several times and defeat was eventually conceeded; the loco trundling off to stand on the line to Athenry to be checked over and replenished with coal and water. Once this was done, the train carried on to Westport, arriving at the very sociable time of 17:29, despite being over an hour late by this time. A couple of coaches were available for the trip to the hotel (Wyatts) but as it was barely a mile away and it was a nice day we decided to walk there instead.
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