GNRI Class S

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GNR(I) classes S and S2
Steam at Lisburn - - 1085909.jpg
171 Slieve Gullion on an RPSI excursion at Lisburn in 1985
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Builder Beyer, Peacock
Build date S:1913
S2: 1915
Total produced S: 5
S2: 3
Configuration 4-4-0
UIC class 2′B h2
Gauge 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)
Driver dia. 6 ft 7 in (2,007 mm)
Cylinders Two, inside
Cylinder size 19 in × 26 in (483 mm × 660 mm)
Operators GNR(I) » CIÉ / UTA
Numbers S: 170–174
S2: 190–192
Preserved No. 171
Disposition One preserved, remainder scrapped

The Great Northern Railway (Ireland) class S was a class of five 4-4-0 steam locomotive that the Great Northern Railway introduced in 1913 to haul Belfast – Dublin express passenger trains. They were followed two years later by the three similar class S2 locomotives.

All were built by Beyer, Peacock and Company at their Gorton Foundry, Manchester.

Table of locomotives[1]
Class GNRI No. Name BP serial No. Rebuilt 1958 Withdrawn Notes
S 170 Errigal 5628 1939 CIÉ 170N 1965
S 171 Slieve Gullion 5629 1938 CIÉ 171N 1965
S 172 Slieve Donard 5630 1938 UTA 60 1965
S 173 Galtee More 5631 1938 UTA 61 1964
S 174 Carrantuohill 5632 1939 CIÉ 174N 1965
S2 190 Lugnaquilla 5901 1939 UTA 62 1965 Named in 1939
S2 191 Croagh Patrick 5902 1939 CIÉ 191N 1960 Named in 1939
S2 192 Slievenamon 5903 1938 UTA 63 1965 Named in 1938


The locomotives were delivered during a time when the GNRI was removing names from locomotives. The S class locomotives carried names from new, but gradually lost them, so by 1925, only 170 Errigal retained its name. This it lost in 1930.[2] The S2 locomotives were allocated the names Lugnaquilla, Carlingford, and Mount Hamilton, but they were never carried. With the introduction the class V locomotives in 1932, the GNRI revived the practice of naming locomotives; the S2 class acquired new names, and the S class regained their old ones as they went though the works for rebuilding in the late 1930s. All were named after mountains in Ireland.

1958 dispersal[edit]

Much of the GNR network was closed in 1957 and the remaining system was split between Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ) and the Ulster Transport Authority (UTA) in 1958, with the fleet divided as equally as possible between the two parties. The UTA renumbered their locomotives, whereas the CIÉ merely added an "N" suffix to the locomotives' former GNRI numbers.

CIÉ soon replaced its remaining steam locomotives with diesels and sold four of its former GNRI steam locomotives – all three S class and one VS class – to the UTA in 1963.[3]

The UTA based some of its S class locomotives in Belfast and used it to haul trains on the Belfast – Portadown main line and Portadown – Derry "Derry Road".


One member of the class, No. 171 Slieve Gullion, is preserved.[4] In preservation it has covered most of the Irish railway system, including many non-GNR(I) lines.

The locomotive was in service until 2002 when its boiler certificate expired. Growing Rural Opportunities Within (GROW) South Antrim is now funding the locomotive's restoration. In January 2014 the locomotive was transported to Railway Restoration North East Ltd in Shildon, County Durham, which is undertaking the work.[4]


An 00 gauge model of the S Class is currently available as an etched-brass kit from Studio Scale Models. It includes transfers, brass etches and cast white metal parts.[5]

See also[edit]


Sources and further reading[edit]