IE 201 Class

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NIR / IE 201 Class
Belfast Central (2).jpg
201 Class 228 at Lanyon Place in current Enterprise livery
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-electric
BuilderGeneral Motors Locomotive Group (GMLG), London, Ontario, Canada
Build date1994–1995
 • UICCo′Co′
Gauge1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)
TrucksGC bogies
Wheel diameter1,016 mm (40 in)
Length20.955 m (68 ft 9 in)
Width2.64 m (8 ft 8 in)
Height4.02 m (13 ft 2 in)
Loco weight108.862 tonnes (107.143 long tons; 120.000 short tons)
Fuel capacity4,500 litres (990 imp gal; 1,200 US gal)
Prime moverEMD 12-710G3B
Engine typeV12 diesel
Traction motorsSix axle-hung, nose-suspended D43 traction motors
MU workingAll IÉ and NIR GM-EMD locomotives
Train heatingHEP: Dayton-Phoenix alternator, model E7145, 438 kVA, 220/380VAC, 3-phase, 50 Hz
Loco brakeAir & Vacuum, 27LAV
Blended Brakes, not used
Performance figures
Maximum speed164 km/h (102 mph)
Power output3,200 hp (2,400 kW) gross;
2,970 hp (2,210 kW) traction
OperatorsIarnród Éireann
Northern Ireland Railways
Number in class32 Irish Rail and 2 Northern Ireland Railways

The Iarnród Éireann (IÉ) / Northern Ireland Railways 201 Class locomotives are the newest and most powerful diesel locomotives operating in Ireland and were built between 1994 and 1995 by General Motors. They are model type JT42HCW, fitted with an EMD 12-710G3B engine of 3,200 hp (2,400 kW), weigh 108.862 tonnes (107.143 long tons; 120.000 short tons) and have a maximum speed of 164 km/h (102 mph). A freight version, the EMD Series 66, with the same engine, is used on privately operated European mainline freight duties.


By the early 1990s the locomotives operating passenger services in Ireland were becoming increasingly obsolete, with the newest type in service being the 071 Class introduced in 1976. The economic boom in Ireland in the mid-1990s allowed Iarnród Éireann to begin significant investment in the infrastructure of the railways, which began with an order for 32 brand new express locomotives from GM-EMD. Northern Ireland Railways also purchased 2. The first were delivered in 1994, with deliveries continuing until 1995.

To allow clearance tests and driver training to commence in advance of the delivery of the main order of 201s, it was decided to transport the first locomotive, number 201, to Dublin by air. An Antonov An-124 was used to transport the locomotive from London, Ontario to Dublin Airport, arriving on Thursday 9 June 1994. The first light-engine test run operated from Inchicore works to Kildare on the Tuesday 14.[1]

Unfortunately, the locomotives have had a chequered service history. The authors of Jane's Train Recognition Guide noted that IÉ had had problems with engine fires and bogie cracks.[2]

Technical details[edit]

  • Main Generator Assembly: AR8PHEH/CA6
  • Head End Alternator (HEP): Dayton-Phoenix, model E7145, 438 kVA, 220/380VAC, 3-phase, 50 Hz
  • Standby HEP: 220 kVA from AR8, available only when stationary
  • Auxiliary Generator: 5A-8147,[3] 18 kW (24 hp)
  • Air Compressor/Exhauster: Gardner Denver, model WLPA9B
  • Multiple Working: All IÉ & NIR EMD locos
  • Push Pull Working: Locos 206-209 & 215-234
  • Curve Negotiation Capability:
    • Yard: 80 m (262 ft)
    • Running line: 115 m (377 ft)
    • Coupled to train: 141 m (463 ft)

Equipment new to IÉ locos[edit]

  • Air Dryer
  • Teloc 2200 Event Recorder[4]
  • Electrically heated windscreens
  • Active noise control in both cabs
  • Enclosed body style, last seen on 1950s Metro-Vic A and C Classes
  • Head End Power (HEP)
    • This system supplied AC power to the train for heating, battery charging, etc. and was intended to replace the Mark 2 & Mark 3 Generator Vans used at the time. In the event HEP was only used on the Enterprise cross-border De Dietrich service. HEP is no longer used due to noise while the train is in station, and reliability issues running the prime mover at high speed constantly. Four Mark 3 generator vans remain in use on the Enterprise service. The later CAF-built Mark 4 sets include their own generators in the Driving Van Trailer (DVT).
  • EM2000 digital traction computer
  • Train (carriage) door control
  • D43 Traction Motors
  • Super Series wheel creep control [5]
  • Cab mounted electronic fuel gauges
  • Fire suppression system, FM200 extinguisher


There are three versions within the Class 201:

  • 201 to 205 & 210 to 214
    • Fixed buffers, shackle coupling
  • 215 to 226, 229, 232 and 234
    • Retractable buffers, automatic or shackle coupling,
    • Push-pull capability, electronic fuel gauges
  • 206 to 209, 227, 228, 230, 231 & 233
    • Retractable buffers, automatic or shackle coupling,
    • Push-pull capability, electronic fuel gauges
    • NIR train radio and TPWS/AWS for cross-border service.
    • HaslerRail 2500 Event recorder


Iarnród Éireann No.206 (Abhainn na Life/River Liffey) at Limerick Colbert Station in 2006
No. 215 (An Abhainn Mhór/River Avonmore) at Grand Canal Dock DART station in 2001
208 In the old green Enterprise livery passing through Musgrave. 208 Was the only locomotive in the class to ever carry this livery
Class Push/Pull
Number Range Operations Notes
 Primary   Other 
201 No 10 201-205, 210-214 None (originally freight) None In storage
Yes 24 215-226, 229,
232, 234
InterCity Freight
Belmond Grand Hibernian
225 in storage
206-209, 227,
228, 230, 231, 233
Enterprise InterCity
Belmond Grand Hibernian
208-209 Owned by NIR
230 in storage
All fitted with TPWS and AWS


Today push-pull equipped members of the 201 class operate the only passenger locomotive hauled services in the Republic of Ireland between Dublin and Cork. They operate with Mark 4 carriages which were introduced to the route in 2006/2007. The current livery was introduced in 2006 and it primarily consists of green and silver. All locomotives have full yellow ends to enhance visibility.

Non push-pull locomotives were withdrawn from service because Mark 4 carriages operate a push-pull system and rolling stock on other InterCity routes was replaced by 22000 Class DMUs. The only other locomotive-hauled service is the Enterprise cross-border service to Belfast which is detailed below.


The Enterprise is a cross-border passenger service between Dublin and Belfast operated by Iarnród Éireann and Northern Ireland Railways. This is also a locomotive-hauled service and operates a similar push-pull system like services to Cork. As this is a jointly operated service, it is marketed as the "Enterprise" and the coaching stock and locomotives carry a separate livery to either operator's own services. It consists of light grey with a purple and red strip. Locomotives also have full yellow ends to enhance visibility.

As the service is shared, locomotives (8)208 and (8)209 are owned by Northern Ireland Railways. The coaching stock is owned by operators, Iarnród Éireann own the odd numbered coaches and NIR own the even numbered coaches.

In addition, Iarnród Éireann introduced four former Mark 3 generator vans, in September 2012, to operate this route, in a bid to improve reliability of the service and reduce maintenance costs. Previously, the service operated with head end power and this caused regular locomotive failures, increased wear and tear and also contributed to locomotive 230 being removed from service after an engine fire, while operating a passenger service with HEP in operation.


201 Class locomotives also operate some freight services as required. There are two container flows between Dublin Port and Ballina and Belview (Waterford) and Ballina. There is also a timber flow between Waterford and Westport/Ballina.

From late 2016 some 201 Class locomotives will operate increased freight services, as the weight and length of some freight services will be increased, due to customer demand.

Common livery[edit]

Locomotives 231 and 233 are painted in a common livery, which consists of light grey with a black stripe. The reason for this is that they are assigned for Enterprise duties and as part of the refurbishment of the Enterprise service, in 2015-2016, only six were given the full livery. Prior to this, some of those given the current livery had previously had the InterCity livery. As part of Iarnród Éireann's logo change, all InterCity 201's will carry the new Iarnród Éireann logo, which includes the Irish flag, and for operational and safety reasons they will not operate cross border services, so a common colour scheme was adopted.

List of locomotive names[edit]

The entire class is named after Irish rivers, with the IÉ locomotives carrying two nameplates, one in Irish and one in English, on each side of the locomotive. As 208 and 209 are owned by Northern Ireland Railways, they carry English language only nameplates. The nameplates are trapezium shaped, with the names in upper case.

8209 at Moira in the current Enterprise livery
210 in storage at Inchicore Works
225 in storage at Inchicore Works
216 at Inchicore Works
Number Name Push-pull
Irish English
201 Abhainn na Sionnainne River Shannon No Old InterCity
202 Abhainn na Laoi River Lee No Old InterCity
203 Abhainn na Coiribe River Corrib No Old InterCity
204 Abhainn na Bearú River Barrow No Old InterCity
205 Abhainn na Feoire River Nore No Old InterCity
206 Abhainn na Life River Liffey Yes Enterprise
207 Abhainn na Bóinne River Boyne Yes Enterprise
208 - River Lagan Yes Enterprise
209 - River Foyle Yes Enterprise
210 Abhainn na hEirne River Erne No Old InterCity
211 Abhainn na Suca River Suck No Old InterCity
212 Abhainn na Sláine River Slaney No Old InterCity
213 Abhainn na Muaidhe River Moy No Old InterCity
214 Abhainn na Brosnaí River Brosna No Old InterCity
215 An Abhainn Mhór River Avonmore Yes InterCity (Current logo)
216 Abhainn na Dothra River Dodder Yes Belmond Grand Hibernian
217 Abhainn na Fleisce River Flesk Yes InterCity (Current logo)
218 Abhainn na Garbhóige River Garavogue Yes InterCity (Current logo)
219 Abhainn na Tulchann River Tolka Yes InterCity (Current logo)
220 An Abhainn Dhubh River Blackwater Yes InterCity (Current logo)
221 Abhainn na Feilge River Fealge Yes InterCity (Current logo)
222 Abhainn na Dargaile River Dargle Yes InterCity (Current logo)
223 Abhainn na hAinnire River Anner Yes InterCity (Current logo)
224 Abhainn na Féile River Feale Yes InterCity (Current logo)
225 Abhainn na Daoile River Deel Yes InterCity (Current logo)
226 Abhainn na Siuire River Suir Yes InterCity (Current logo)
227 Abhainn na Leamhna River Laune Yes Enterprise
228 An Abhainn Bhuí River Owenboy Yes Enterprise
229 Abhainn na Mainge River Maine Yes InterCity (Current logo)
230 Abhainn na Bandan River Bandon Yes Old Enterprise
231 Abhainn na Maighe River Maigue Yes Common Livery
232 Abhainn na Chaomaraigh River Cummeragh Yes InterCity (Current logo)
233 Abhainn na Chláir River Clare Yes Common Livery
234 Abhainn na hEatharlaí River Aherlow Yes InterCity (Current logo)

Current operations[edit]

All of the non push-pull capable locomotives (201–205 and 210–214) were placed in storage at Inchicore during 2009, the last being 214 in July 2009. This was due to the withdrawal of the Mark 3 fleet and their replacement with 22000 Class DMUs on the vast majority of passenger services. This left only the Mark 4 Dublin–Cork services and the cross-border Enterprise service (with De Dietrich rolling stock) as the only locomotive hauled passenger services operated by Iarnród Éireann.

The reduction in the number of locomotive hauled passenger workings, combined with the withdrawal of older GM locomotives, has seen 201 Class locomotives used on freight workings, whilst four push-pull capable units were transferred to join the original four dedicated locomotives in use on the Enterprise.

In 2010 Iarnród Éireann planned to store some of its remaining push-pull capable Mark 3 coaches,[6] which could potentially have been used with 201 Class locomotives to enhance Enterprise's service. However, most Mark 3 carriages were scrapped during 2013 and 2014.[7]

A fleet of 10 Mark 3 coaches were sold to Belmond Grand Hibernian, while 216 and 225 were earmarked be returned to service to handle the extra traffic generated by Belmond operation. In May 2016 216 returned to service, in Belmond livery, and has operated the Grand Hibernian almost exclusively since that time. 225 remains in stored status at Inchicore.

On Monday 15 February 2016 two 201 Class locomotives (226 & 209) operated freight trials with a long train of 15 HOBS ballast wagons plus one un-powered loco, possibly assessing the loco's capabilities for future freight services.

In October 2016 Iarnród Éireann expressed an interest in seeking solutions to re-power most of the fleet during a mid-life refurbishment. The requirement was for floor-up engine and control gear solutions, which kept the existing cab controls and compatibility with the existing GM fleet and push/pull equipment. The body, cab controls, bogies, and traction motors would remain unchanged. 201 and 205 were brought in from storage for internal and external inspection, possibly in relation to this re-powering. The re-powering project was originally scheduled to begin in Q1 2017 but, as of the beginning of 2019, no further progress had been made on the project.

In July 2017 230 received some bodywork repairs [8] after it suffered significant damage, due to a fire in the HEP system[9] in 2013. The loco has been in store since. This work means it will possibly make it the first loco to be repowered.


In the late 90's, Model Irish Railways produced a resin bodyshell kit with nameplates, numbering, brass grills and the standard yellow / black livery line transfers. Marks Models also released a resin kit for these locomotives in 00 gauge in c.2000.

In 2001, Murphy Models commissioned LIMA to produce an '00' gauge 201 model loco.[10] They were produced in IÉ orange (201, 216, 217, 219, 230) and Enterprise (206, 207, 208, 209) liveries, in batches of 300 (except 500 of #207).

In 2011 Murphy Models launched a completely new version of the 201, with all wheel drive, centre can motor and preinstalled speaker. This was released in IÉ orange (original and revised), Green Intercity and NIR blue as well as NIR Enterprise original and revised.

Railtec Transfers [12] and Studio Scale Models [5] make transfers for the full range of 201 liveries, No's 201-234, original and updated Orange, original and updated Enterprise and Green Intercity.

The 201 Class has also been released in virtual form as a player driveable locomotive in the Microsoft Train Simulator add-on, "Irish Enterprise North", by Making Tracks,[13] and for OpenBVE by Celtic Trainsim.[14]


  1. ^ IRRS Journal 125, pages 450/451, October 1994
  2. ^ Howard Johnston & Ken Harris, Jane's Train Recognition Guide, London, HarperCollins, 2005. p. 266.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-02-22. Retrieved 2006-11-11.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-10-16. Retrieved 2006-11-11.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ Flanagan, Colm (2010). "Optimism in Northern Ireland". Modern Railways. 67 (737): 60–64.
  7. ^ IRRS Journal 170 Archived 2012-02-24 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ "Murphy Models Portfolio". Murphy Models. Archived from the original on September 21, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-17.
  12. ^ [3]
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-12-19. Retrieved 2009-12-11.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ [4]

External links[edit]