Iarnród Éireann Stock
2600 Class Railcars

© copyright photographs by Colin Duff

 

The 2600 Class was first of a new generation of railcars for Irish Rail, being imported not from the traditional sources of the USA (locomotives) and the UK (locomotives, carriages and railcars) but from Japan. These diesel multiple units were built by the Tokyu Car Corporation in 1993. The units are formed DMSO(A)-DMSO(B) and the wheel arrangement is B-2 + 2-B. Each railcar has one Cummins 360kW diesel engine and the drive is hydraulic. Maximum speed is 70mph. (Although the Republic of Ireland is now fully metricated - except for dispensing draught beer which remains in pints - the railway system has a dispensation to remain in Imperial units because of potential unsafe situations arising from incorrect conversion of heritage documentation that still applies.) Dellner couplers are used between units, bar couplings between cars within a unit. Each railcar is numbered individually - there is no unit number for the pairings. Nineteen of these railcars were bought, nine pairs plus a maintenance spare. In 2006 the maintenance spare, 2609, was refurbished and paired with 2716 to create a hybrid 2600/2700 unit.

 

2615
2615 in the terminal platforms at Dublin Connolly on 6th April 1995

This is the only picture I have so far of a 2600 Class railcar.

2615, the other of the pair is unidentified, in the terminal platforms at Dublin Connolly on 6th April 1995.

I was not aware of the significance of this picture when I took it. I was not interested in Irish railways at the time and other than the track gauges I knew little about them. I had travelled down for the day from Belfast on The Enterprise. Upon my return, there being a little time after we were allowed from the departure lounge onto the train, my general interest in railways took over and I quickly took a few pictures of everything I could see.

To be honest, at the time I thought this was an export variant of a BR Class 158!

I had not appreciated that this was a relatively new unit at the start of something big. In 1995 the "Celtic Tiger" had yet to roar, at least loudly, and railways in both the Republic and the Province were (excepting Dublin's DART) largely in a backwards time warp. The line between Belfast and Dublin was still of jointed track, telegraph poles with wires strung between them remained lineside and stations still had good yards with track, even if out of use overgrown with grass and weeds. This was before the incremental modernisation of Connolly and it really oozed "steam age". Today Connolly is much smarter, but I am glad I saw it and experienced the pre-modernised railway when I did. Dublin changed considerably in the following decade too!

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