Irish Santa special stops trains – but picks up extra passengers!

By Cedric Johns

AMONGST all the family excitement and hustle and bustle created by the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s sell-out main line Santa specials, one train brought Iarnród Éireann public services to a halt.

According to a brief report issued by the main line operator, passenger services on Saturday, December 15 were subject to 30 minute delays because of a problem with a steam locomotive heading a Santa train returning from Maynooth to Dublin.

GNR(I) Q 4-4-0 No. 131 at Kernan with the 2.50pm Santa train from Portadown to Lisburn on December 9. The locomotive has visited Portadown for the first time in 60 years. GORDON HAWKINS/RPSI

The engine involved was Dublin Connolly-based Northern Counties 2-6-4T No. 4. On the second trip of the day with driver Ken Fox and fireman Connie O’Gara, steaming issues halted the train at Navan Road Parkway for 20 minutes.

As a result of this delay, the Irish Rail Regulator diverted the train to M3 Parkway as there were a number of extra trains running to the Leinster v Bath rugby match at Lansdowne Road.

Arrival at M3 Parkway was 30 minutes late on the Maynooth.times. As No.4 is prohibited from running round at M3 Parkway, other than running light to Clonsilla Junction and returning, it wasagreed that a diesel from Connolly, General Motors 071 Class No. 082, would take the train back there.

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