Great Northern 0-4-0 Locomotives in Ireland

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class Steam rail motor (Locobase 10607)

Data from "Steam Rail Motor Services, Great Northern Ry, Ireland)", The Locomotive Magazine, Vol XII (15 February 1907), p. 32. Se also Michael Collins, "Irish steam rail-motors and railcars," Irish Railway Record Society, presented at [].

Collins explains that steam rail motors were adopted primarily to compete with the municipal tramway systems taking root in the Dublin and Belfast areas. At that time, Dublin's United Tramway Company's Clontarf line met end-to-end with the Clontarf and Hill of Howth. Interestingly, the total distance covered was 7 1/2 miles.

It was difficult to find the motive power in the vehicles used for motor coaches on the GNR(I) because they were so carefully integrated into the coach body. And if a trailing coach was added, the effect was to have a long passenger train apparently lacking an engine. (To borrow from diesel locomotive notation, the arrangement was 2-2-B-2.)

The motor coach could carry 59 passengers and the trailer 78. Brush Electrical Engineering supplied the coachwork for the motor coach, while the GNR(I) built the trailers in its Dundalk shops. The Manning, Wardle power bogie had a relatively large vertical boiler and drivers that suggested decent power and higher speeds than many other such designs. The LM report said that the 7 1/2 mile-run between Belfast and Lisburn required 25 minutes overall, a time that included 6 intermediate stops.

Despite their apparent capability, their time in service was quite short. In part, Collins reports, the brevity was due to shortcomings in the design: "Once in operation, the rail-motors were not regarded as a great success being uncomfortable in running and giving a lot of trouble in maintenance." Auto-trains soon replaced them on the Dublin-Howth run.

All seven rail-motors (the other 3 being the NBLC trio described briefly on 10610) were converted in 1913 into "normal, if somewhat longer than standard, coaches", says Collins.

Class Steam rail motor (Locobase 10610)

Data from "Steam Rail Motor Services, Great Northern Ry, Ireland)", The Locomotive Magazine, Vol XII (15 February 1907), p. 32. Se also Michael Collins, "Irish steam rail-motors and railcars," Irish Railway Record Society, presented at [].

See Locobase 10607 for a fuller discussion of the introduction of steam rail motors onto the GNR(I). The Manning, Wardle power bogies on the 4-7 had slightly larger boilers than tht three in this entry, but were otherwise very similar. The NLBCs were introduced in the Belfast area to blunt the competition of a municipal tramway newly built to serve the housing estates springing up along the Belfast-Lisburn main road and the growing town of Lisburn itself.

As noted in 10607, steam rail motor service lasted only a short while. In comparison to the Manning, Wardles, the NBLC were better received on their run of Belfast to Lisburn, Collins noted, "apart from the maintenance problems and vibration." Like the other steam motors, this trio was converted to regular coaches in 1913.

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

ClassSteam rail motorSteam rail motor
Locobase ID10607 10610
RailroadGreat NorthernGreat Northern
Number in Class43
Road Numbers4-71-3
Number Built43
BuilderManning WardleNorth British
Valve GearStephensonWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)8 / 2.448 / 2.44
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)40.77 / 12.4340.77 / 12.43
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)57,120 / 25,90957,120 / 25,909
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)90,720 / 41,15082,320 / 37,340
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)660 / 2.50660 / 2.50
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT) 1.10 / 1 1.10 / 1
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)45 / 114345 / 1143
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)175 / 12.10175 / 12.10
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)12" x 16" / 305x40612" x 16" / 305x406
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)7616 / 3454.567616 / 3454.56
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 7.50 7.50
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)11.50 / 1.07
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)653 / 60.69623 / 57.90
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)653 / 60.69623 / 57.90
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume311.78297.46
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation2013
Same as above plus superheater percentage2013
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area
Power L1
Power MT

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Wes Barris