MGWR Classes F, Fa, and Fb
|Midland Great Western
Classes F, Fa, and Fb
|Type and origin|
|Designer||Walter H. Morton|
|Builder||Armstrong Whitworth (5),
MGWR Broadstone Works, Dublin (18)
|Serial number||AW 175–179|
|UIC classification||C h2|
|Gauge||5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)|
|Driver diameter||5 ft 8 in (1,727 mm)|
|Axle load||18 long tons 0 cwt (40,300 lb or 18.3 t)|
|Locomotive weight||49 long tons 4 cwt (110,200 lb or 50 t)|
|Fuel capacity||Coal: 7 long tons 0 cwt (15,700 lb or 7.1 t)|
|Water capacity||2,500 imperial gallons (11,000 l; 3,000 US gal)|
|Boiler pressure||175 lbf/in2 (1,206.58 kPa)|
|Firegrate area||17.3 sq ft (1.61 m2)|
– Tubes and flues
|821 sq ft (76.3 m2)|
|– Firebox||126 sq ft (11.7 m2)|
|Superheater area||210 sq ft (20 m2)|
|Cylinder size||19 in × 26 in (483 mm × 660 mm)|
|Valve type||8 in (203 mm) piston valves|
|Tractive effort||20,530 lbf (91.32 kN)|
|Operator(s)||MGWR → GSR → CIÉ|
GSR/CIÉ: 623 or J5
The MGWR Classes F, Fa and Fb are a group of similar classes of 0-6-0 steam locomotives of the Midland Great Western Railway of Ireland which were designed and built between 1921 and 1924. The locomotives could be used to handle goods and also for passenger traffic.
The Midland Great Western Railway was looking to modernise its motive power fleet, and turned to their Chief Mechanical Engineer, Walter H. Morton, to design a locomotive which could be capable of handling goods, and if required, for local passenger traffic. The design from the Broadstone Works (Dublin) Drawing Office was for a six-coupled (0-6-0) tender locomotive, and the first appearing from the works in 1921, the last in 1924.
This was the last complete class of locomotives designed and built at Broadstone before closure and transfer of work to Inchicore Works. The only other locomotives to follow from Broadstone were the first of the "kit-built" Woolwich Moguls (GSR Class 372) before this was also transferred to Inchicore.
There was a total of 23 members of the class, the first three were Class F, the next ten (including the five Armstrong Whitworth built locomotives) were Class Fa, and the last ten were Class Fb. All were classified by the Great Southern Railways (GSR) as Class 623, or Class J5. All passed to the Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ) on its formation in 1945. Examples of the class survived until 1963, almost to the end of steam on the CIÉ.
In the severe winter of 1946/47 coal was in short supply and, with services disrupted, the CIÉ. took the decision to convert 97 locomotives to oil-burning, the main classes chosen for this being the various 2-6-0s and the 623s, although this was extended to some 4-6-0s.
Locomotives which were converted to oil-burning had a white circle painted on the smokebox and tender sides. A supply of coal from America arrived in March 1947 but it took a further three months to build up stocks before normal services could be resumed.
On their first visit to the workshops following the 1925 amalgamation to form the GSR the class were repainted into the standard "dark battleship grey" colours of the new company. Buffer beams were vermilion. Following nationalisation, some locomotives acquired a livery of "CIÉ Green", lined out in black and white; the footplate and smokebox were black and buffer beams vermillion.
Towards the mid-1950s the livery became unlined black on some locomotives with vermillion buffer beams. The number was in large yellow numerals on the cab side and the Flying Snail on the tender. A single example acquired a unique livery in the very last years of steam — the very early 1960s. It had a painted number on the cab side, and "flying snail" CIÉ emblem on the tender, both in eau-de-nil, and was painted black with lining of a single red line. The loco was treated thus for working the Cork – Mallow – Waterford expresses. Diesels soon took over — so this was short lived livery.
- Clements, Jeremy & McMahon, Michael (2008). Locomotives of the GSR. Newtownards: Colourpoint Books. pp. 205–206. ISBN 978-1-906578-26-8.
- Modelling Irish Steam by Drew Donaldson. "Model Railways" magazine, 1978
- Irish Railway Modelling.Yuku.com (Response to a "Request for information" on liveries)