Midland Great Western Railway
Return to Irish railways page
MGWR 4-4-0 129 Celtic designed Cusack (Rly Mag., 1902, 11, fp. 289)
Incorporated 1845: Dublin-Enfield opened 28 June 1847; reached Galway 1 August 1851, and Sligo on 3 September 1862. Monaghan to Clones opened 2 March 1863. Liffey branch, giving access to the port of Dublin, was opened in 1864. Absorbed Dublin and Meath, Sligo and Ballaghadereen, Navan and Kingscourt Railways. Lines to Killala, and to Clifden and Achill in 1890s. Peak route mileage 538 miles (third largest after GSWR and GNR). Constituent of Great Southern Railway in 1924.
Locomotive construction started at Broadstone, Dublin, in 1879 and accounted for 75% of requirements. Prior to 1879 the works had been involved in improving the existing stock and this policy until amalgaamation.: for instance, some of the older 0-6-0s were rebuilt with Belpaire boilers. The locomotive fleet on amalgamation was 139. Last of 126 engines produced at Broadstone in 1927. Thereafter, railway repair work gradually transferred to Inchicore: works closed in 1933. Locomotive Superintendents were John Dewrance 1847, (contactor) 1849, Edward Wilson 1853, Joseph Cabry 1856, Robert Ramage 1862, Martin Atcock 1872, Edward Cusack 1902, Walter H. Morton 1915. (Information off Internet)
Clements and McMahon whilst excellent in itself, and on its assessment of MGWR locomotive practice suffers in limiting its coverage to the period leading up to the amalgamation into the GSR and the subsequent changes to the locomotive stock. They note that passenger services were "somewhat leisurely" and that there were only two classes of tank engines..
Locomotive and train working in the latter part of the nineteenth
century; edited by L.L. Asher. Cambridge: Heffer, 1951-4. Volume
6 pp 50-64.
Originally published in Railway Magazine 1925/6
Clements, Jeremy and McMahon, Michael. Locomotives of the GSR. Newtownards: Colourpoint, 2008. 384pp.
Chapter 7 covers the MGWR locomotive stock
Reed, K.H. and Fayle, H. Recent developments of Irish locomotive practice, Great Southern Railways. Loco. Rly Carr. Wagon Rev., 1937, 43, 309-11. 5 illus.
Mainly post-1925 modifications: D bogie class (GSR D16): Nos. 531 and 534 rebuilt with X class Belpaire boilers in 1932. No. 531 received larger cylinders. Work between Atlone and Achill. K class 2-4-0 (GSR G2 class): thirteen rebuilt at Inchicore with Y class superheated Belpaire boilers. A class 4-4-0 (GSR D5): No. 124 (524) rebuilt with Belpaire boiler following deliberate derailment at Streamstown in 1924; Nos. 126 and 128 similarly rebuilt. Subsequently renumbered 545-550. C class 4-4-0s regrouped into two classes: D7: those with Robinson superheaters and D slide valves (subsequently, Nos. 536, 537 and 539 fitted with X type superheaters); and D6 with highre-pitched Belpaire boilers.
Shepherd, Ernie. The Midland Great Western Railway of Ireland. Leiceester: Midland Publishing, 1994. 144pp.
In January 1846 tenders were sought for twenty locomotives. Fairbairn offered to supply ten. Rowledge lists Nos. 1-6 and 12-17 supplied in 1847-8. These were 2-2-2s
Grendon 2-2-2 locomotives
In March J & R Mallett, Seville Ironworks, Dublin proposed supplying five locomotives and tenders at £1,900 each, a figure accepted by the board. These were to be constructed according to the specifications of the company's engineer, Hemans, but Malletts had made a mistake and sought to increase the price to £2,030 each, whereupon the order was cancelled. On 16 April, Hemans was authorised to enter into a contract with Thomas Grendon & Co. of the Drogheda Ironworks for five engines and tenders, if possible on terms more favourable than their offer of £2,260 each. Rowledge lists Nos. 7-11.
They were named Dunsandle, Vesta, Venus, Luna and Juno, in due course Nos 7 to 11. Theywere delivered from April to December 1847, Dunsandle worked trial trips and the opening train. A description was included in an article on the first trial trip in the Irish Railway Gazette. It was described as inside-framed, with 14in x 18in cylinders and 5ft 7in wheels. There were 137 brass tubes, 10ft 6in long and 2in diameter with a copper firebox. It was coupled to a 6-wheel tender holding 1,200 gallons of water and sufficient coke for 60 miles. The motion was referred to as being 'directlyvisible', probably indicating that it was partially visible through the frames rather than implying that it had outside gear for its inside cylinders. Two further engines to this design were added in 1852 and 1854, Nos 30 Pallas and 33 Falcon. Juno was sold to Edgeworth the contractor in September 1867 and was probably withdrawn about 1873. No.8 and either 9 or 10 were sold to the A&EJR, the remainder of this batch being withdrawn in 1869-71, Nos 30 and 33 lasted until 1875. They were of a standard Grendon design, some similar locomotives going to the D&D. A letter from Ramage, the locomotive superintendent, was read at the board meeting on 4th April 1866 suggesting that 'one of our light engines be altered to tank with an apartment to hold eight persons at a cost of £200'. This was approved and Falcon thus became a 2-2-4T and was used on Engineer's inspection duties.
Lowe records that Longridge supplied five 2-4-0s in 1851/2 (Vulcan, Childers, Arabian, Eclipse and Cygnet) and two 5ft 0-6-0s (No.s 25 Cyclops and 26) in 1852.
Ellis (Trains we loved p. 86) stated "Atock's little locomotives with their floridly curving cabs, wildly varying names and showy finish, carrying their headlamps between the buffers, were like nothing else in Ireland, or, for that matter, in Great Britain". Sylph, a 2-4-0 in emerald green is depicted in the depths of Connemara on a plate facing page 176. Lowe notes that Atock introduced the 4-4-0 type by drastically rebuilding six 2-4-0s, although these did not enter service until after his retirement. Lowe includes a list of locomotives constructed at Broadstone. Clements and McMahon are highly impressed with "the modern engineering practice in a higher proportion of locomotives having superheaters than with any other Irish company". Atock had sought to limit locomotive life to about a quarter of a century: thus there were less antiques wandering around than elsewhere...
Class L: 1885-8
GSR Class 594
Clements and McMahon being Irish state on page 200 (having noted the variants on page 199) that these were known as the Standard Goods. There were originally twenty locomotives, but two (Nos. 64 Leopard, a Civil War loss and 85 Meath) were withdrawn in 1923 and 1924. Furthermore, it is noted that these were of the same type as the 573 J18 Class (except that this latter contained locomotives incorporating parts from older locomotives). The 1948 assessment notes that these were the Miidland edition of the 101 Standard Goods; the design was poor, and very few were alike, and that they wear rapidly.
Class Ln: 1879-80
GSR Class 563 J16
All were rebuilt in 1898-9, and No. 53/567 was subsequently rebuilt in 1919, 1925 and 1942. Clements and McMahon (page 193-4) only quote the post-1898-9 dimensions: coupled wheels 5ft 1½in; 18 x 24in cylinders, 1065ft2 total heating surface and 16.5ft2 grate area. Only No. 567 was actually renumbered, nevertheless, the Class was known as the 563 class. No. 567 was fitted with a Cusack-Morton superheater in 1919, a Schmidt superheater in 1925 (with 8in piston valves), and with a superheater X type boiler in 1942..
Class L: 1876-95
GSR Class 573
Rowledge shows that the class began with ten Robert Stephenson products supplied in 1876. which Clements and McMahon (page 196) credit with WN 2284-90 and 2305-7. They had 5ft 3in coupled wheels, 18 x 24in cylinders and a grate area of 16.5ft2 and a total heating surface of 1065ft2. Thus the type was dimensionally similar to the classic 101 class of the GSWR. The L class was subject to augmentation by locomotives constructed at Broadstone and with the products of Kitson and Sharp Stewart (these latter and some of the Broadstone products supplied at the same time were classified as Lm. .
Class Ln: 1879-80
Included the first locomotive to be constructed at Broadstone: No. 49 Marquis, Credited by Clements and McMahon with 5ft 1½in coupled wheels, but all other dimensions similar to RS supplied locomotives.
Class Lm: 1892-5
Included Sharp Stewart WN4057-61/1895 and Kitson WN 3584-6/1895 and 3599-3600/1895. No. 135 Arran Isles was a Civil War loss.
Class H: 1889: Avonside
GSR Class 619 J6
Ordered by Waterford, Dungarvan & Limerick Railway which refused to accept them due to late delivery and were acquired by the MGWR for £1600 each. They had MGNR RN 96-9 and were named Avonside. Hibernia, Caledonia and Cambria. Their WN were 1211-14 and GSR RN 619-22. As delivered they had 4ft 9in coupled wheels and 17 x 24in cylinders. Between 1906 and 1908 they were rebuilt with Belpaire saturated boilers and between 1918 and 1922 they were rebuilt with superheated (Robinson type) Belpaire boilers (tubes 832ft2, firebox 116ft2 and superheater 172ft2 with a 20ft2 grate area) and 8in piston valves. Their cabs were considered to be comfortable and spacious. They were highly regarded for their free steaming and were excellent goods engines, but were also used on the night mails. Between 1936 and 1941 they received type H superheated boilers: tubes 821ft2, firebox 114ft2 and superheater 167ft2 with a 20.75ft2 grate area. No. 99 was used for extensive trials of the Cusack-Morton superheater in 1915-16. Shortage of spares led to them being out of use during WW2 and all had been withdrawn by 1949. Clements and McMahon pp. 203-4.
K/Ks Class: 1893-7
GSR 650 class G2
Built as replacements for earlier 2-4-0s which shared same names. Twenty locomotives built between 1893 and 1898: one failed to enter GSR stock (No. 20 Speedy) being a Civil War loss. 5ft 8in coupled wheels; 17 x 24in cylinders; 16.5ft2 grate area; 1115ft2 total heating surface. Most rebuilt several times and lasted into 1950s: last survivor not withdrawn until 1963. Some were rebuilt with superheated Belpaire boilers. Some round-top boilers were also superheated. Gradually the fly away cabs were replaced. They lasted on the Sligo route until replaced by diesel railcars. They were also popular on the DSER Section where they worked the Wexford Mail. Clements and McMahon pp. 208-10.
Class E: 1891-3
GSR Class 551 J26
Sometimes known as Irish Terrier class due to similarities with Stroudley's small tank engines. These were supplied by Kitson (WN 3370-2/1891; 3380-2/1892 and 3527-9/1893) and Sharp Stewart (WN 3693-5/1891).. They had small coupled wheels (4ft 6in), 18 x 22in cylinders and a grate area of 13ft2. There were slight dimensional differences in boiler dimensions. Their names reflected their size: No. 109 Fly, No. 113 Gnat and No. 106 Lark. In 1932 No. 560, in 1935 No. 555 and in 1941 No. 553 were fitted with enlarged cabs for working the Waterford & Tramore section. Clements and McMahon pp.191-2..
Class P: 1880/1890
GSR Class 614 J10
Original MGWR Nos. 100-105. All except No. 105 built in 1880: No. 105 built in 1890. Clements and McMahon pp.201-2.
Class B: NBL: 1906
GSR 646 Class J2
WN 16128-31/1906. RN 143-6 named Canada, Australia, India and Africa. (GSR 646-9). They had 5ft 3in coupled wheels, 18 x 26in cylinders. As builtr they shared the A class boiler, but were rebuilt with Belpaire boilers from 1916 with a Schmidt superheater 211ft2) in the case of No. 43 and the remainder with Robinson superheaters (170ft2) between 1917 and 1919. They were restricted to the Dublin to Galway rout and were withdrawn from 1930-3, although the records show a longer, but inactive, lives. Clements and McMahon p207.
GSR Class 530 D16
Complete rebuilds (renewals?) of Beyer Peacock 2-4-0s (WN 1960-5/1880-1). Clements and McMahon suggest that design was due to Cusack as Atock had an aversion to bogies. Some were further rebuilt with round-topped superheated boilers both prior to and following amalgamation, and with Belpaire boilers from 1929. They carried names on the MGWR. Clements and McMahon pp. 183-4.
GSR Class 545 D5
When new these were the largest locomotives in Ireland, but were limited to working between Dublin and Mullingar until the Shannon bridge at Athlone was strengthened. They had 6ft 3in coupled wheels, 18 x 26in cylinders, a grate area of 20ft2 and a total heating surface of 1363ft2. They were built with Belpaire boilers and introduced the brief royal blue livery. The names added grandeur: Titanic, Celtic, Britannic, Atlantic, Majestic and Mercuric. They were rebuilt under Morton with 8inch piston valves and superheated boilers, and reclassified as As, or if fitted with new frames, and raised running plates classified as A1. Clements and McMahon pp. 183-4. No. 550 was derailed and badly damaged during the Civil War. No. 549 was withdrawn in 1931, but the remainder lasted until 1954 and the last was not withdrawn until 1959. Latterly they were used on cattle trains and were assessed in 1948 as being uneconomic.
Hope, Basil. Midland. Great-Western
Railway, new locomotives and corridor trains. Rly Mag., 1902,
The dimensions of the new 4-4-0 locomotives are given at the foot of the colour plate facing page 289. The electrically-lit 58ft corridor stock ran on four wheel bogies with the exception of the dining car which ran on 6-wheel bogies. The train performed the 254 mile round-trip between Dublin and Galway and was intended to encourage tourist traffic. See also at top of this page..
Clements and McMahon consider that Morton was an excellent manager and sought to equip the stock with superheaters, 8in piston valves and Detroit sight feed lubricators.
Class F: 1921-4
GSR Class 623 J5
The MGWR included two sub-classes (Fa from 1922-3, and Fb from 1924). Nos. 44-8 were the first to be introduced and were constructed by Armstrong Whitworth (WN 175-9) in 1921. The coupled wheel diameter (5ft 8in) may have been set by Armstrong Whitworth. The class lacked names and did not have cast iron numberplates. Clements and McMahon pp. 205-6. Armstrong Whiworth also supplied five sets of frames and cylinders. Morton's membership of the Association of Railway Locomotive Engineers would have made him highly aware of the preparations by the British Government to avoid unemployment by former munitions workers and turning the Armstrong Whitworth into a locomotive manufaturing company. The Class was used to work the Limited Mail between Mullingar and Sligo and were favoured for livestock traffic and passnger extras and excursions...
Originally green; Cusack adopted royal blue for his large 4-4-0s, but later reverted to green due to the poor ageing of the blue. Morton opted for plain black. Clements and McMahon page 180..