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G'day,

I have recently squizzed a video clip at You Tube featuring an interesting preserved diesel loco A39 at Downpatrick.

I am very curious about the controls.

I noticed the European wheel throttle.

Plus, the vacuum brake independent (red) and train (black) valve handles.

These intrigue me.

Release being towards the windscreen and application towards the cab rear wall.

I am wondering just how common this style of brake valve was.

My only exposure to vacuum brake system was briefly during a visit to Western Australia in 1989.

I got to play with a WAGR Y class diesel to get the feel of the vacuum system.

The TGR in Tasmania also possessed vacuum brake system until converted to air brake by Aussie National.

When I transferred down to Tassie in 2004, only some preserved vintage locos continued to possess vacuum system.

And, none of those had brake valve handles similar to these featured in the A39 diesel.

Steve.

 

 

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G'day Kirley and JHB,

Thanks for your responses.

I will take a gander at the Downrail web site to see what info I can scrounge.

Plus, also send an email to the society.

Encountering differing railway facets featured in video clips at You Tube does portray that global railways do have interesting variations.

Steve.

 

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Aussiesteve, yes, contact Innis or Mike Beckett via the DCDR. They will be more than happy to assist. A39 is the last survivor of sixty of these locos - the largest single order of diesel locomotives by a far margin in Ireland, ever.

 

They were introduced in 1955 as A1-A60 (the "A" class), and renumbered 001-060 from 1972 onwards. the last three, 039 (i.e. A39), 015 and 003 were withdrawn in 1995.

 

A39 runs at Downpatrick but is actually owned by the Irish Traction Group, of whom both gentlemen named above are also members.

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14 hours ago, jhb171achil said:

 A39 is the last survivor of sixty of these locos

 

Its the last operational survivor, 4 preserved in total

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G'day JHB and LeGrange,

Mike Beckett has provided some information concerning the Downrail preserved A39.

I have also suizzed a couple more video clips featuring the cab and locomotive interior.

The FOUR control stands does baffle me.

I can only presume being for shunting purposes ?

OR, was there some Right Hand running and signalling on the Irish broad gauge network ?

OR, did Metro Vickers hope to also sell this class to Europe ?

I know that there was some broad gauge in Spain, Portugal, India etc, but have no idea if the cabs were right or left hand.

The only Metro Vickers loco that I was exposed to was the NSWR 46 class 1500 vDC electric loco.

We called them Butter Boxes due to the body shape.

It possessing left hand cab and Westinghouse A7EL brake valve.

The Metro Vickers (Beyer Peacock)  WAGR X class narrow gauge diesel did have right hand cab and vacuum brake system.

This including the European wheel throttle, though there being only a single control stand at each end.

However, I have never been inside the cab of one.

Steve.

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Almost all Irish locomotives could be driven from either side - this went back to steam days.

 

It is still the case with the modern 201s and the 1970s 071 class, all 18 of which (on Irish Rail) and all 3 of which (on Northern Ireland Railways) are still in traffic.

 

Shunting plays a part in it, yes, and signal visibility.

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On 19/09/2019 at 13:41, LaGrange said:

 

Its the last operational survivor, 4 preserved in total

Quite. I didn't make that clear!

 

A3 isn't too far from being operable too, and with a bit of €€€€ could also see the light of day operationally. A15, of course, is pretty nasty internally, though technically restorable with LOTS of €€€€€€€€€€€€€€, while A55 is a shell, the actual engine having been long gone.

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Thanks JHB,

Just found your latest postings.

Yes, I can imagine that the cost of restoration is high.

And, dinkum Crossley donks would not be found.

You infer that Irish steam locos also had dual cab controls ?

Such was rare here Down-Under.

Though our AD60 class Beyer Garratts were modified for dual cab controls, primarily to solve cab heat and fumes when running funnel first through tunnels.

And, not many 105 foot turntables existed on the network.

Steve.

Edited by aussiesteve
additional text added

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Steve, yes, it was possible to drive from either side with most, but usually one side was used due to the driver not getting in the fireman’s way!

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G'day JHB,

Yes, I can imagine a driver darting from one side of the cab to the other while the fireman was swinging the banjo.

I have been told that a right hand drive soot belcher is better for a right handed fireman, in regard to swing angle of the banjo.

I have only swung the banjo on a left hand drive soot belcher many moons ago during a week-end of stomping out to Wallerawang and return to LIthgow.

I spent my early childhood in Bananaland (Queensland) and rode the suburban network which was still mostly soot belching.

Narrow gauge with right hand cabs, though I didn't know anything about such back then.

The oddity being that on double track, trains percolated along the left hand track and signals were mostly plonked on the left side in the direction of travel.

This put the driver on the opposite side of the cab to the sticks.

Most of the Aussie narrow gaugers adopted right hand cab in contrast to the standard, and broad gaugers which adopted left hand cab.

I spent most of my footplate career perched in left hand cab locos, initially on the right side and then on the left side after being appointed as driver.

When I transferred down to Tassiemania, narrow gauge with mostly right hand cab, I had to adjust not only from standard gauge to narrow gauge, but the right hand cab.

Tassie was also ODD in that some rebuilt locos emerged with left hand cabs.

I would be perched on the right hand side some shifts and on the left hand side other shifts depending upon the lead loco.

Not many sticks to worry about down there as the safe working system was Track Warrant Control.

Our global railways do hurl up some interesting oddities.

I guess that if and when Driverless autonomous trains become the norm around the globe, then some of these oddities will vanish.

We now have a driverless Metro in smog hollow Sydney, plus some autonomous ore trains rattling around the Pilbara region of Sandgroper country.

Steve. 

 

 

 

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The (few) only "belchers" I was ever driving or firing were all right hand drive, but others in the past were both or (occasionally) left. Awkward as you say!

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G'day JHB,

Did Brunel (GWR) have any influence on the Irish Railways ?

No soot belching going on here in cockroach (NSW) country, mexico (Victoria), or croweater (South Oz) country.

Total Fire Bans in all three states due to the horrendous bush fire conditions.

Makes me think of that emerald isle.

But, I probably would not be able to endure the Irish winters.

Back in the soot belching era here, all perways were burnt by fettlers to reduce the fire risk during summer.

Since weasels took over, such antics have been forgotten.

The blackened property did look awful at the time, but succeeded in preventing fires from exhaust sparks.

I was amused while toiling down in Tassiemania, about the fire restrictions imposed on some of the old English Electrics.

They would really spurt out the exhaust sparks at night time under full load.

The culprits banned from working the South Line below Parattah (1 in 40 grades south of Parattah) during summer.

But, when motive power shortages occurred, them culprits suddenly appeared on the south line working into Hobart town.

A highrail water tanker truck shadowing the trains to douse any embers lighting up the perway grass.

When I travelled around Yankeeland and subsequently Europe, I was at first nervous about steering a car on the "wrong side of the car and road".

But, I got used to such quickly.

I guess trundling around in left hand cab locos had prepared me a tad.

But, when I first lobbed into Tassiemania and squizzed that narrow gauge track, I wondered how I would keep the train on it.

Fortunately track speeds are very SLOW in Van Diemens Land, 70 kph was the fastest track speed, and there weren't much of that.

Trains mostly percolated at around an average of 35 kph.

Steve.

 

 

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