SLNCR Lough class

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SLNCR Lough class
Lough Erne, Whitehead.JPG
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Builder Beyer, Peacock[1]
Serial number 7138, 7242[2]
Build date 1949[1]
Total produced 2[2]
Configuration 0-6-4T[1]
UIC class C2′ t
Gauge 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)
Driver dia. 4 ft 8 in (1.422 m)[1]
Trailing dia. 3 ft 0 in (0.914 m)[1]
Wheelbase 24 ft 7 in (7.49 m)[1]
Loco weight 54.5 long tons (55.4 t; 61.0 short tons)[3]
Fuel type Coal
Fuel capacity 2 long tons (2.0 t; 2.2 short tons)[3]
Water cap 1,300 imp gal (5,900 l; 1,600 US gal)[3]
 • Firegrate area
18 sq ft (1.7 m2)[1]
Boiler pressure 160 psi (1.10 MPa)[1]
Heating surface 962 sq ft (89.4 m2)[1]
 • Tubes 865 sq ft (80.4 m2)[1]
 • Firebox 97 sq ft (9.0 m2)[1]
Cylinders Two
Cylinder size 18 in × 24 in (457 mm × 610 mm)[1]
Train heating Steam
Loco brake Steam
  • SLNCR: Lough
  • UTA: Z
  • SLNCR: none
  • UTA: 26, 27
Official name
  • Lough Melvin
  • Lough Erne
Delivered 1951
Withdrawn 1965, 1969
Disposition One preserved, one scrapped

The SLNCR Lough Class was a class of 0-6-4T steam tank locomotives of the Sligo, Leitrim and Northern Counties Railway (SLNCR).


By the end of Second World War the SLNCR's locomotive fleet was in poor condition, but neither the Great Northern nor Córas Iompair Éireann could spare any suitable locomotives for hire.[4] The SLNCR considered ordering a Garratt articulated locomotive to haul heavier trains, but it could scarcely afford one locomotive of such a large size.[5] Therefore, it decided instead to order two more smaller locomotives, on the basis that if one required maintenance the other could still be available for traffic.[5]

In June 1946 the SLNCR ordered just one new locomotive from Beyer, Peacock and Company[4] at Gorton Foundry, Manchester, England. The SLNCR's financial situation was worsening, but despite this it ordered the second locomotive about a year later.[4] The Lough class was a more modern and more powerful development of the Sir Henry class, which was also built by Beyer, Peacock but was introduced in 1904.[6]

Delivery and SLNCR service[edit]

Beyer, Peacock completed both locomotives ready for delivery in spring 1949[4] but by then the SLNCR could not afford to pay for them.[1] The SLNCR therefore asked the Government of Northern Ireland's Ministry of Commerce to lend it £22,000 to pay for the two locomotives.[4] Protracted negotiations between the SLNCR, Ministry of Commerce and Beyer, Peacock eventually resulted in a hire purchase agreement in 1951, and the two locomotives were shipped from England to Belfast in June and July of that year.[4] They were taken first to the GNR's Adelaide locomotive depot in Belfast, where their side tanks were fitted.[3] They were then delivered to the SLNCR's locomotive depot at Manorhamilton, County Leitrim.[3]

The Lough class became the last new steam locomotives to enter revenue-earning service with an Irish railway company.[3] CIÉ's turf-burning locomotive entered traffic later, but remained experimental and never entered revenue-earning service.[3] The Loughs could haul trains 25% heavier than the Sir Henrys, and they were worked hard from 1951 until the SLNCR's closure.[2]

The SLNCR had never prospered, and in 1957 it closed to all traffic. On Monday 30 September 1957 Lough Melvin hauled the company's last service, a mixed train from Eniskillen to Sligo.[7]

SLNCR livery[edit]

By the 1950s the SLNCR's locomotive livery was unlined black.[5] Brasswork was also painted black but the borders and lettering of the locomotive nameplate[[]]s were picked out in red.[5] Coupling rods and buffer beams were also painted red.[5]


The SLNCR did not number its steam locomotives but named them. The Lough Class were named Lough Melvin and Lough Erne.

Name Builders Works No. Date UTA No. Withdrawn
Lough Melvin Beyer, Peacock & Co., Gorton Foundry 7138 (a) 1949 26 1965
Lough Erne Beyer, Peacock & Co., Gorton Foundry 7242 (b) 1949 27 1969

(a) : Beyer, Peacock & Co. works numbers 7136/7/8 were originally allocated to three War Department Garratt locomotives.[citation needed] This order was cancelled, 7136 and 7137 were re-allocated to two extra Garratts for the Great Western Railway of Brazil, added to a delayed pre-war order sub-contracted to Henschel & Son.[citation needed]

(b) : The last tank locomotive built by Beyer Peacock & Co., order No.1427.[citation needed]

Sale and UTA service[edit]

When the SLNCR closed at the end of September 1957 the Loughs were still on hire purchase from their builders.[2] Beyer, Peacock eventually sold the pair in 1959 to the Ulster Transport Authority (UTA).[2]

The UTA designated the Loughs Class Z and numbered them 26 and 27, but they continued to carry their names and nameplates. For a short while the UTA allocated both locomotives to Adelaide shed for service as shunters on the quays and Grosvenor Road goods yard.[2] It then transferred them to York Road,[2] where they eventually replaced NCC Class Y.[citation needed]

On 28 May 1960, locomotive 26 Lough Melvin hauled a two-coach Irish Railway Record Society special train from Belfast Belfast York Road to Antrim, Lisburn and via the former Belfast Central Railway to Belfast Queen's Quay, the tour eventually terminating at Great Victoria Street.[citation needed] This was recorded as the first passenger working of an ex-SLNCR locomotive in the ownership of the UTA.[citation needed]

The UTA withdrew 26 Lough Melvin from service in 1965 but did not dispose of it.[2] Northern Ireland Railways (NIR) took over the UTA's railway operations in 1967 and sold Lough Melvin for scrap in 1968.[2] NIR withdrew 27 Lough Erne in 1969.[8]


The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland bought Lough Erne and used it to shunt its yard at Whitehead until its boiler failed in 1972.[8] Lough Erne remains at Whitehead awaiting extensive restoration.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Sprinks, 1970, page 89
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Sprinks, 1970, page 91
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Sprinks, 1970, page 90
  4. ^ a b c d e f Sprinks, 1970, page 31
  5. ^ a b c d e Sprinks, 1970, page 70
  6. ^ Sprinks, 1970, pages 82–84
  7. ^ Sprinks, 1970, page 37
  8. ^ a b c "Sligo, Leitrim and Northern Counties Railway Lough Class 0-6-4T "Lough Erne"". RPSI Locomotives. Railway Preservation Society of Ireland. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 


  • Various copies of Modern Railways from the 1970s.[clarification needed]
  • Sprinks, N.W. (1970). Sligo, Leitrim and Northern Counties Railway. Billericay: Irish Railway Record Society (London Area).