Thursday, August 21, 2014

Holiday Pics: The County Donegal Railcars

RailcarTime for one of the legendary items of the Isle of Man steam railway rolling stock - a pair of diesel railcars from the County Donegal railway in Ireland.

Bought by the Manx line in the 1960s, the plan was for them to support the ailing steam engines by providing some of the passenger services.

As there are no turntables in the island, and the railcars are single-ended, they were couple back to back. Sometimes a van was slotted in between them for added luggage capacity.

Since the gearboxes only had a single reverse gear, when running backward, one railcar would haul the other dead. Presumably this wasn't a huge problem although it can't have helped the top speed much.

Railcar interior

In the 1990s, the railcars had been out of service for some time and a decision was taken to fully restore them. Work started and appears to have been carried out to an Railcar woodworkextremely high standard but then they project ran out of money. For over a decade the cars have been shuffled between sheds and no progress has been made.

Our tour guide hadn't been told that we mustn't have a look at these vehicle, so we did. He also hadn't been told that we shouldn't climb in and have a look. So I did.

An awful lot of work has been carried out and as I say, to a very high (to my eye) standard. At present apparently the cabs are sitting on the wrong chassis. Also there seems to be lot of mechanical parts not fitted, although these are all there and some have been renovated I'm told.

It would be fantastic to see these railcars back on track. As a commuter service during the TT races, something the railway currently run with steam engines, they ought to be a valuable addition to the fleet. Let's hope that it's not too long before we can ride on them again.

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