IE 201 Class

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Iarnród Éireann 201 class
Templemore GM 201 Mk4 Caf Train.jpg
IÉ No. 218 in Mark 4 InterCity livery at Templemore Station, July 2011
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder General Motors Locomotive Group (GMLG), London, Ontario, Canada
Model JT42HCW
Build date 1994–1995
UIC class Co′Co′
Gauge 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)
Trucks GC bogies
Wheel diameter 1,016 mm (40 in)
Length 20.955 m (68 ft 9 in)
Width 2.64 m (8 ft 8 in)
Height 4.02 m (13 ft 2 in)
Loco weight 108.862 tonnes (107.143 long tons; 120.000 short tons)
Fuel capacity 4,500 litres (990 imp gal; 1,200 US gal)
Prime mover EMD 12-710G3B
Engine type V12 diesel
Aspiration Turbocharged
Traction motors Six axle-hung, nose-suspended D43 traction motors
Cylinders 12
MU working All IÉ and NIR GM-EMD locomotives
Train heating HEP: Dayton-Phoenix alternator, model E7145, 438 kVA, 220/380VAC, 3-phase, 50 Hz
Loco brake Air & Vacuum, 27LAV
Blended Brakes, not used
Performance figures
Maximum speed 164 km/h (102 mph)
Power output 3,200 hp (2,400 kW) gross;
2,970 hp (2,210 kW) traction
Operators Iarnród Éireann
Northern Ireland Railways
Number in class 32 Irish Rail and 2 Northern Ireland Railways
Numbers 201–234

The Iarnród Éireann (IE) 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 9 June 1994. The first light-engine test run operated from Inchicore works to Kildare on the 14th.[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 IE & 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 supplies AC power to the train for heating, battery charging, etc. and was intended to replace the existing Mk2 & Mk3 Generator Vans. In the event HEP is only used on the cross-border De Dietrich service. The later CAF MK4 trains include their own generators in the Driving Van Trailer (DVT).
  • EM2000 digital traction computer
  • Train (coach) 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, electronic fuel gauges, automatic or shackle coupling, Push-pull capability.
  • 206 to 209, 227, 228, 230, 231 & 233
    • Retractable buffers, electronic fuel gauges, automatic or shackle coupling, Push-pull capability, fitted with HaslerRail 2500 Event recorder, NIR train radio and TPWS/AWS for cross-border service


Iarnród Éireann No.206 (Abhainn na Life) at Colbert Station, Limerick, 2006
No. 215 (An Abhainn Mhor) at Grand Canal Dock DART station
Subclass Number built Number range Operator Notes
201 (NPP) 10 201-205, 210-214 InterCity In storage
201 (PP) 24 215-226, 229, 232, 234
206-209, 227, 228, 230, 231, 233 Enterprise 208-209 owned by NIR; others owned by IÉ. 230 remains out of service after fire in 2013.

* NPP = Non Push-Pull Capable; PP = Push-Pull Capable


InterCity operated, push-pull equipped members of the 201 class were repainted in a new livery of Fern Green to coincide with the deployment of new Mark 4 carriages which were rolled out during 2006-2007 to serve on the Dublin-Cork line. Apart from the Enterprise Dublin-Belfast line, This is the only in Ireland were locomotive hauled coaches are in use. All locomotives have full yellow ends to improve visibility.


Numbers 206, 207, 8208, 8209, 227, 228, 230, 231 & 233 are dedicated for use on the Enterprise passenger service between Dublin and Belfast, and are painted in a special livery of Light Grey, a Purple stripe and a Red stripe. All locomotives have full yellow ends to improve visibility.

Because of the shared nature of these services, 8208 and 8209 are owned by Northern Ireland Railways. This explains the different naming arrangements for these two locomotives. Until September 2012, Enterprise services required electrical power to be supplied from the locomotive - head end power, when four Mark 3 generator vans entered service.

NIR GM Locomotive 8209 at Templemore

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 8208 and 8209 are owned by Northern Ireland Railways, they carry English language only nameplates. The nameplates are trapezium shaped, with the names in upper case.

Number Name Push-pull
Irish English
201 Abhainn na Sionnainne River Shannon No InterCity
202 Abhainn na Laoi River Lee No InterCity
203 Abhainn na Coiribe River Corrib No InterCity
204 Abhainn na Bearu River Barrow No InterCity
205 Abhainn na Feoire River Nore No InterCity
206 Abhainn na Life River Liffey Yes Enterprise
207 Abhainn na Bóinne River Boyne Yes Enterprise
8208 - River Lagan Yes Enterprise
8209 - River Foyle Yes Enterprise
210 Abhainn na hEirne River Erne No InterCity
211 Abhainn na Suca River Suck No InterCity
212 Abhainn na Slaine River Slaney No InterCity
213 Abhainn na Muaidhe River Moy No InterCity
214 Abhainn na Broshai River Brosna No InterCity
215 An Abhainn Mhor River Avonmore Yes InterCity
216 Abhainn na Dothra River Dodder Yes InterCity
217 Abhainn na Fleisce River Flesk Yes InterCity
218 Abhainn na Garbhoige River Garavogue Yes InterCity
219 Abhainn na Tulchann River Tolka Yes InterCity
220 An Abhainn Dhubh River Blackwater Yes InterCity
221 Abhainn na Feilge River Fealge Yes InterCity
222 Abhainn na Dargaile River Dargle Yes InterCity
223 Abhainn na hAinnire River Anner Yes InterCity
224 Abhainn na Féile River Feale Yes InterCity
225 Abhainn na Daoile River Deel Yes InterCity
226 Abhainn na Siuire River Suir Yes InterCity
227 Abhainn na Leamhna River Laune Yes InterCity
228 An Abhainn Bhui River Owenboy Yes Enterprise
229 Abhainn na Mainge River Maine Yes InterCity
230 Abhainn na Bandan River Bandon Yes Enterprise
231 Abhainn na Maighe River Maigue Yes InterCity
232 Abhainn na Chaomaraigh River Cummeragh Yes InterCity
233 Abhainn na Chlair River Clare Yes Enterprise
234 Abhainn na hEatharlai River Aherlow Yes InterCity


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 is due to the withdrawal of the Mark 3 fleet and replacement with 22000 Class railcars 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 Class 201 locomotives used on freight workings, whilst four push-pull capable units were transferred to join the original four dedicate 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, all Mark 3 carriages were scrapped during 2013 and 2014.[7]


In 2001, Murphy Models commissioned LIMA to produce an '00' gauge model of these locomotives.[8] They were produced in IÉ orange (201, 216, 217, 219, 230) and Enterprise (206, 207, 208, 209) liveries, all in batches of 300 (the exception being 500 of #207).

In October 2010 at the Model Railway Society of Ireland Model Railway Exhibition, Murphy Models announced plans to produce their own version of the class 201 to an all new tooling, complete with a sample model for production in the next year.

Model Irish Railways produce a resin body shell kit that includes 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 around the year 2000.

There is also speculation that Hornby, who now own the moulds for these models, may make a full production run of these models. This would be a first, as they have never made an Irish loco for the mainstream market before.[citation needed]

Railtec Transfers [10] and Studio Scale Models [8] 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,[11] and for OpenBVE by Celtic Trainsim.[12]


  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. ^ [2]
  5. ^ [3]
  6. ^ Flanagan, Colm (2010). "Optimism in Northern Ireland". Modern Railways 67 (737): 60–64. 
  7. ^ IRRS Journal 170
  8. ^ [4]
  9. ^ "Murphy Models Portfolio". Murphy Models. Archived from the original on September 21, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-17. 
  10. ^ [5]
  11. ^ [6]
  12. ^ [7]

External links[edit]