16th May 2016 - More Trouble!
Monday 16th May 2016
Another easy start to the day though the end would be rather later than the previous two! A 9:05 departure from the station gave us plenty of time to get to the station and get some photos as No. 4 shunted the stock from one platform to the other before running round.
Due to the turntable issues two days ago, no. 4 had to return bunker first to Dublin but that didn't appear to hamper it in any way as we made our way to Ballyhaunis where there was a water stop. There was a slight delay here meaning that we had to stop again at Castlerea to allow the 9:45 Westport to Dublin past but once that was out of the way, it was a straight run to Athlone for more water. Whilst this was taking place, 085 passed on a liner train and there was time for a quick look at the small display of railwayana in the station before we departed around 35 minutes late.
After further stops to cross a Dublin to Westport train at Tullamore and for more water at Portarlington we were making good progress along the man line back to Dublin until stopped by signals at Hazelhatch with reports of a lineside fire in our wake with the finger of suspicion pointing at no. 4. In the circumstances it was not totally unexpected when Iarnród Éireann control decided to terminate the train at Hazelhatch and Celbridge where we arrived at 15:27. Although the return to Belfast was not due to leave Dublin until after 19:00 with a different loco and set of coaches there was an immediate flap as a group from America who had been with us for the weekend had to be on the 16:50 departure to Belfast and time was getting short for that.
With commendable speed, I.É. decided to terminate a Portlaoise-bound DMU (it wasn't going beyond Hazelhatch in the immediate future due to the fire anyway) and put all the railtour passengers on it to Dublin Connolly, where we arrived at 16:41, just in time for our American friends to catch their train. Meanwhile the rest of us had enough time to get fed and watered before the train back to Belfast with "Merlin" treating us to another storming run on the Mk2 set. This had a handy set down at Botanic just after 10pm, about half a mile down the road from our hotel, the perfect way to end our long overdue return to the Emerald Isle.
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