IE 201 Class

Iarnród Éireann 201 Class

201 Class (8)209 light-engine at Moira in the current Enterprise livery
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

Equipment new to IÉ locos


There are three versions within the Class 201:


Iarnród Éireann No.206 (Abhainn na Life/River Liffey) at Limerick Colbert Station in 2006
No. 215 (An Abhainn Mhor/River Avonmore) at Grand Canal Dock DART station in 2001
208 In the old green Enterprise livery passing through Musgrave. 208 Was the only locomotive in the class to ever carry this livery
Class Push/Pull
Number Range Operations Notes
 Primary   Other 
201 No 10 201-205, 210-214 None None In storage
Yes 24 215-226, 229,
232, 234
InterCity Freight
Belmond Grand Hibernian
225 in storage
206-209, 227,
228, 230, 231, 233
Enterprise InterCity
Belmond Grand Hibernian
208-209 Owned by NIR
230 in storage
All fitted with TPWS and AWS


Today push-pull equipped members of the 201 class operate the only passenger locomotive hauled services in the Republic of Ireland between Dublin and Cork. They operate with Mark 4 carriages which were introduced to the route in 2006/2007. The current livery was introduced in 2006 and it primarily consists of green and sliver. All locomotives have full yellow ends to enhance visibility.

Non push-pull locomotives were withdrawn from service because Mark 4 carriages operate a push-pull system and rolling stock on other InterCity routes was replaced by 22200 Class DMUs. The only other locomotive-hauled service is the Enterprise cross-border service to Belfast which is detailed below.


The Enterprise is a cross-border passenger service between Dublin and Belfast operated by Irish Rail and Northern Ireland Railways. This is also a locomotive-hauled service and operates a similar push-pull system like services to Cork. As this is a jointly operated service, it is marketed as the "Enterprise" and the coaching stock and locomotives carry a separate livery to either operator's own services. It consists of light grey with a purple and red strip. Locomotives also have full yellow ends to enhance visibility.

As the service is shared, locomotives (8)208 and (8)209 are owned by Northern Ireland Railways. The coaching stock is owned by operators, Irish Rail own the odd numbered coaches and NIR own the even numbered coaches.

In addition, Irish Rail introduced four former Mark 3 generator vans in September 2012 to operate this route in a bid to improve reliability of the service and reduce maintenance costs. Previously the service operated with head end power and this caused regular locomotive failures, increased wear and tear and also contributed to locomotive 230 been removed from service after an engine fire while operating a passenger service with HEP in operation.


201 Class locomotives also operate some freight services as required. There are two container flows between Dublin Port and Ballina and Belview (Waterford) and Ballina. There is also a timber flow between Waterford and Westport/Ballina.

From late 2016, 201 Class locomotives will operate increased freight services as the weight and length of some freight services will be increased due to customer demand.

Common Livery

Locomotives 231 and 233 are painted in a common livery which consists of light grey with a black stripe. The reason for this is they are assigned for Enterprise duties and as part of the refurbishment of the Enterprise in 2015-2016 only six were given the full livery. Prior to this some of those given the current livery had previously had the InterCity livery. As part of Irish Rail's logo change all InterCity 201's will carry the new Irish Rail logo which includes the Irish flag and for operational and safety reasons they will not operate cross border service so a common colour scheme was adopted.

List of locomotive names

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.

8209 at Moira in the current Enterprise livery
210 in storage at Inchicore Works
225 in storage at Inchicore Works
216 at Inchicore Works
Number Name Push-pull
Irish English
201 Abhainn na Sionnainne River Shannon No Old InterCity
202 Abhainn na Laoi River Lee No Old InterCity
203 Abhainn na Coiribe River Corrib No Old InterCity
204 Abhainn na Bearu River Barrow No Old InterCity
205 Abhainn na Feoire River Nore No Old 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 Old InterCity
211 Abhainn na Suca River Suck No Old InterCity
212 Abhainn na Slaine River Slaney No Old InterCity
213 Abhainn na Muaidhe River Moy No Old InterCity
214 Abhainn na Broshai River Brosna No Old InterCity
215 An Abhainn Mhor River Avonmore Yes InterCity (Current logo)
216 Abhainn na Dothra River Dodder Yes Belmond Grand Hibernian
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 (to be Belmond Grand Hibernian)
226 Abhainn na Siuire River Suir Yes InterCity
227 Abhainn na Leamhna River Laune Yes Enterprise
228 An Abhainn Bhui River Owenboy Yes Enterprise
229 Abhainn na Mainge River Maine Yes InterCity
230 Abhainn na Bandan River Bandon Yes Old Enterprise
231 Abhainn na Maighe River Maigue Yes Common Livery
232 Abhainn na Chaomaraigh River Cummeragh Yes InterCity
233 Abhainn na Chlair River Clare Yes Common Livery
234 Abhainn na hEatharlai River Aherlow Yes InterCity

Current operations

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

A fleet of 10 Mark 3 coaches were sold to Belmond Grand Hibernian, while 216 and 225 will be returned to service to handle the extra traffic generated by Belmond operation. As of May 2016, 216 has returned to service however it's not expected that 225 will return before 2017.

On 15 February 2016, two 201 Class locomotives (226 & 8209) operated freight trials with a long train of 15 HOBS ballast wagons plus one un-powered loco, possibly assessing the loco's capabilities for future freight services.

As of October 2016, Irish Rail are seeking solutions to re-power most of the fleet during a mid-life refurbishment. They are looking for floor-up engine and control gear solutions, which keep the existing cab controls and compatibility with the existing GM fleet and push/pull equipment. The body, cab controls, bogies, and traction motors will remain unchanged. 201 and 205 have been brought in from storage for internal and external inspection, possibly in relation to this re-powering. The re-powering is due to begin in Q1 2017.


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 was also speculation that Hornby, who own the moulds for these models, may make a full production run of these models. This would have been a first, as they have never made an Irish loco for the mainstream market before.

Railtec Transfers [10] and Studio Scale Models 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]


Wikimedia Commons has media related to IÉ 201 Class.
  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. Flanagan, Colm (2010). "Optimism in Northern Ireland". Modern Railways. 67 (737): 60–64.
  4. IRRS Journal 170
  5. "Murphy Models Portfolio". Murphy Models. Archived from the original on September 21, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-17.
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