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The Córas Iompair Éireann 001 Class locomotive was manufactured by Metropolitan-Vickers at their Dukinfield Works in Manchester. The 001 Class locomotive was the backbone of mainline passenger and freight train services on the Irish railway network for forty years from 1955 until the mid-1990s when they were replaced by the new 201 Class.

Córas Iompair Éireann A class
(later 001 class)
23.10.93 Wellington Bridge 051 & 012 (6033721762).jpg
001 Class locomotive No. 051
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-electric
BuilderMetropolitan-Vickers, Dukinfield Works, Manchester
Build date1955–1956
Total produced60
 • UICCo′Co′
Gauge1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)
Length15.55 m (51 ft 0 in)
Width2.692 m (8 ft 10.0 in)
Height3.835 m (12 ft 7.0 in)
Loco weight84 tonnes (83 long tons; 93 short tons)
Prime moverCrossley HSTV8
Re-engined 1968–1971 with EMD 12-645E
GeneratorDC generator
Traction motorsMetropolitan Vickers MV137CW/K, 6 off DC traction motors
TransmissionDiesel electric
Loco brakeVacuum
Train brakesVacuum
Performance figures
Maximum speed120 km/h (75 mph)
Power outputCrossley HSTV8: 1,200 hp (890 kW) at 625 rpm
EMD 12-645E: 1,325 hp (988 kW) at 830 rpm
EMD 12-645E: 1,650 hp (1,230 kW) at 900 rpm (Nos. 027, 036, 046, 054 & 059. All later de-rated to 1325 hp)
Tractive effort275 kN (62,000 lbf) starting,
77 kN (17,000 lbf) continuous at 35 km/h (22 mph)
OperatorsCóras Iompair Éireann
Iarnród Éireann
ClassA, later 001
NumbersA1–A60, later 001–060
DispositionFour preserved, remainder scrapped




Initially they were fitted with eight-cylinder two-stroke, port-controlled Crossley engines. These were a loop scavenge type, which utilised a patented principle that recycled the normally wasted exhaust-pressure pulse to boost charge air in the cylinder. They produced 890 kW (1,200 hp) at 625 rpm and could do 120 km/h (75 mph). The original sandboxes, which were used to improve traction with the rail, were removed after a few years.

Their Crossley engines proved to be notoriously unreliable from the start. Amongst a plethora of problems were:

  • Unbalanced engines resulting in vibration-induced fuel pipe and water pipe fractures
  • Cylinder defects
  • Excessive water temperature causing shutdowns

There were also problems with generator and motor flashovers.

Similar problems were also encountered on the Crossley-engined Western Australian Government Railways X Class and British Rail Class 28 locomotives.


These problems were tackled between 1968 and 1971 through the progressive re-engining of the entire class with a 1,650 horsepower (1,230 kW) 12-cylinder EMD 645E engine (a similar process was implemented for the original 201 Class). However, this power output stressed the ability of the original cooling and transmission systems and the engine output was reduced to 1,325 horsepower (988 kW) for improved reliability. When built, these locomotives were originally numbered A1 to A60, and as locomotives were re-engined, they had the suffix 'R' added to their number. From 1972, the prefix letters were dropped and the locomotives were renumbered 001 to 060.

Accidents and incidentsEdit

  • On Thursday 5 December 1963, locomotive A17 was hauling a passenger train from Westland Row to Westport when it broke down at Mullingar, County Westmeath. Locomotive A42 was sent to its assistance, but collided with the stationary train at a speed of 30 to 40 miles per hour (48 to 64 km/h). Both locomotives were damaged, 16 people were injured.[1]


Four A class locomotives survived into preservation, the details of which are outlined in the table below:

Number Owner Location Operational Livery
A3R Irish Traction Group Moyasta No Black and Tan

(Low bands)

A15 West Clare Railway Moyasta No Unlined green
A39R Irish Traction Group Downpatrick Yes Black and Tan

(High bands)

A55 Hell's Kitchen Railway Museum Castlerea No Lined green


The A Class has been made as a 00 gauge kit by Silver Fox Models.[2]


  1. ^ "Report of Inquiry into Accident on Railway System Córas Iompair Éireann near Mullingar, Co. Westmeath on 5th December 1963" (PDF). Department of Transport and Power via Rail Accident Investigation Unit. 1964. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  2. ^ Silver Fox Models. "Iarnród Éireann 001 Class (A Class) Co-Co". Archived from the original on 31 March 2009. Retrieved 11 April 2009.

External linksEdit