Previous Events

ONLINE MEETING Thursday 15 Oct 2020  “From Portrush to Tramore & back by a Devious Route” by Roger Joanes
Roger JoanesO08 Ballinamore 7pm to Dromod 10L SMALL WEB
Ballinamore: 10L, formerly of the Cork Blackrock and Passage Railway with the 7pm train to Dromod
For the London Area first Zoom lecture, attended by a maximum number of 100 participants,  Roger Joanes, a frequent visitor to Ireland since 1959, presented a journey through Ireland with images taken between the mid-1950’s and the 1970’s by Graham Hoare and Chris Gammell. Both photographers made many visits to Ireland and viewed the railways through the eyes of professional railwaymen. The outward journey commenced at Portrush and followed the Derry Central via Magherafelt, later visiting Clones, the Cavan & Leitrim, Mullingar, Streamstown, Banagher, Ballylinan and New Ross. We returned via the coast, via Rosslare, Dublin Harcourt Street, Tullow, the Hill of Howth tram, the Warrenpoint line and Belfast to terminate at our starting point – Portrush. The quality Black and White and Colour images gave a superb overview of Irish railways of the day, informed by Roger’s knowledgeable commentary. He acted as a fine “tour guide” explaining locations, the history of closures and some information on the locos seen. A high light was a series of shots taken at Amiens Street in low winter light – superb!

Lockdown Photo Archive

Week 17

As the lockdown has now finished (unless we get a national resurgence of the virus), I am proposing to end the “Weekly Lockdown Photo”. So what better way to conclude with than an illustration of arguably the greatest class of locomotives to run in Ireland – the B1a 800 class – to the design of E C Bredin and built between 1939/40 – powerful three-cylinder machines they were the equal of UK based machines, and used exclusively on Dublin to Cork route. Named after Queens of Ireland, Maeve survived withdrawal and can be seen in the Belfast Museum at Cultra. A forlorn hope would be to see it restored to operational use!



Received Comments – None

Week 16

The South Munster Railtour – May 2015. The RPSI visited Cork. The first photograph shows No 461 reassembling the tour train into Midleton on the Youghal branch. This was the first visit of steam to the re-opened line. Closed in 1980-81 after the beet season, the line was relaid as far as Midleton and opened in July 2008.


The second photo shows 461 and GNR Compound No 85 Merlin being prepared on the site of the old Cork MPD. No 85 was used for a trip to Cobh and then up the main lines to Dublin and onward to Belfast. The timekeepers on the train on both legs recorded a very fast run! Photographs Bill Allen.


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Week 15

Back to the Michael Davies archive this week and the Irish Narrow Gauge. Cavan & Leitrim section. 4T on last special goods east of Cornabrone. This section of the line was in very close proximity to the road. The photo was taken on Monday March 30th 1959 (the penultimate day before closure)

M Davies 218

4T arrived on the C&L from the Tralee and Dingle in 1941. The loco (a 2-6-0T) was built by Kerr Stuart in 1903. After being used to assist the lifting of the track after closure 4T was cut up.  A companion 5T survived into preservation

Received Comments – None

Week 14

Another RPSI Railtour this week. We see J15 186 on the Province of Leinster Railtour on Sunday 11th  September at Dublin Docklands. The station was formally opened on the 12th March 2007 by the then Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern. A two platformed affair to serve the growing International Financial Services Centre nearby, there are now plans for expansion to 4 platforms. The train was the first steam loco visit to Docklands.


Conversation piece before departure from Docklands to Mullingar. The J15 is now in store at  RPSI headquarters, Whitehead, displayed in the museum. As the latest Five Foot Three quotes “186 has seen considerable attention from museum volunteers who have polished up the brasswork and labelled cab fittings. Someday maybe the call will come again”

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Week 13

This week we have an unusual photograph, supplied by Richard McLachlan from the Simmonds collection which Lance King looked after and subsequently Robin Linsley. It was taken at Inchicore in the 1930s, and is a rather nice photo of a 400 class, No 404. The low angle of the photograph captures the size and power of these machines.

The 400 Class originally designed by E A Watson in 1914 as 4 Cylinder locos along the lines of the GWR Star class. They proved somewhat unsatisfactory and re-building took place to some of the class with 2 cylinders. The history of this class is a complex story. The Railway Magazine 1938 has a detailed article on the class.

G GSWR 057 processed

Week 12

This week we return to Michael Davies Collection for photos taken on the St Patrick’s Day IRRS Railtour on the Cork Bandon & South Coast Railway in 1961. The locomotive featured is No 464 one of the Beyer Peacock 4-6-0Ts delivered to Ireland in 1961. H.C. Casserley describes the class of locos as “good sturdy engines and ideal for the needs of the line. 5 of them survived until final closure (later) in 1961”

M Davies 325

464 crosses Inishannon Viaduct crossing the Shannon River between Kinsale Junction and Bandon

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The special pauses at Ballinhassig not long after leaving Cork Albert Quay. Driver solicitously checking the motion.

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Week 11

This week we have another special working, the RPSI Railtour in May 2002 – “The Corrib” – It was the last steam visit to the Galway line before the replacement of semaphore signalling and, more significantly, the removal of the connection to Galway turntable in 2003. The photos depict Glover 170 S Class 171 “Slieve Gullion” on the Galway leg of the tour. Originally built by Clifford and modernised by Glover pre-war, they were strong and speedy machines as illustrated by O S Nock in his book “Irish Steam”. Currently awaiting completion of overhaul at Whitehead. All photos Bill Allen


Saturday 11th May and 171 pauses at Athlone after leaving Dublin and travelling via Portarlington. The original MGWR route via Mullingar was by now mothballed.

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171 on the turntable after arrival in Galway. Sadly no locos can now be turned here as the connection has been severed. At the time tour participants mooted the idea of a ” Preservation Society for Turntables” to look after and maintain the tables. The spectators on the bridge are over the old route of the Clifden branch.


Sunday 12th May and Slieve Gullion is prepared for the return run to Dublin.

Received comments – none

Week 10

This week we have a photo from Michael Davies taken at Mallow with an IRRS special to Cork (and Youghal) on 17th March 1962. It depicts one of the three cylindered GNR VS 4-4-0s, designed by H.R. McIntosh and built by Beyer Peacock in 1948. 207 was one of a class of 5 locos and named Boyne. The loco was part of the assignments to CIE in 1958 on the disbandment of the GNR Board. Note that the change in ownership is signified by the stencil CIE on the buffer-beam – the lovely GNR blue livery remained. The class is famous for being the last 4-4-0s built in Great Britain and Ireland.

M Davies 337

Received Comments – none

Week 9

Irish Narrow Gauge this week. The Cavan and Leitrim and the centre of the system Ballinamore. The junction where the Arigna branch went off to the right as we look at the photo taken on the 26/05/1958.

Michael Davies comments “Empty coal train arriving from Dromod. I was with the late John Edgington whose photo it is. Mine is not as sharp!”

M Davies 210

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Week 8
The 2013 RPSI May Golden Vale Railtour ended after a trip on NIR metals behind J15 No 186. At Whitehead passengers had the opportunity to see and photograph No 85 Merlin recently restored to full working order. Here the two engines meet!


Merlin has been a consistent performer on RPSI trains since 2013 and is currently based at Dublin. 186 is retired to the Whitehead Railway Museum as an exhibit. When might it run again?

Received Comments – None received.

Week 7

Another magnificent photo from Michael Davies – A wonderful atmospheric photo of Derry Waterside on August 22nd 1964.
Leslie McAllister adds “Yes, and the tank was only a few years old at the time!”

Derry Waterside Aug 22nd 1964 001

Received comments – none

Week 6
We have been privileged to receive and be able to share photographs from Michael Davies’s collection. We start with a glimpse of the Irish Narrow Gauge on the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway, and Tooban Junction

Tooban Jct LLSR June 3rd 1952 001

General view of the junction with 4-6-2T No 10 on a Buncrana train on the left and 4-6-0T No 3 on a Letterkenny train on the right. Photo taken on 3rd June 1952. Michael describes the station as “One of the most obscure junctions in these islands.”

Tooban Jct LLSR Loco 10 for Buncrana. June 3rd 1952 001

Michael comments “No 10 departing for Buncrana is one of my best pictures. Taken with a 7/6d Brownie box camera!”

Received Comments – Responses to photo Wk6

Week 5


Claremorris – once a busy junction – but convenient for the 2009 Carrowbeg RPSI Railtour to water and pass service trains from and to Westport. The derelict part of the Western Corridor goes off to the right to Athenry. Perhaps one day to re-open?


Jeep No 4 waits in the remnants of the Ballinrobe branch before continuing to Westport and the tour participants opportunities to sample yet more Guinness in Matt Molloy’s pub!

Received comments – none

Week 4
A Mystery Photo!


Where is J15 No.186 in the shrubbery and when? (with apologies for the orange jackets)

And another photo that should help the location?

Received Comments – Responses to photo Wk4

Week 3
Two photos this week
Photo 1 for 2 May 1970 (002)
“It is the 50th anniversary of the end of the NIR Spoil Train contract between Magheramourne Quarry (cement works) near Larne, and the shore of Belfast Lough at Fortwilliam, near Belfast. This was powered by ex-NCC 2-6-4T locomotives and used specially designed wagons for the contract. This kept steam alive in Northern Ireland from 1967 to 1970.
The last train ran on Saturday 2nd May 1970, hauled by 2-6-4T loco 53 and banked by No. 4 (now preserved).” Photo selected by Richard McLachlan and taken by Lance King

Photo 3 for 2 May 1970 (002)
This second photo shows the same headboard being used on the RPSI May tour in 2010, celebrating 40 years of the Spoil Trains. This was taken by Richard.
Received comments – None

Week 2


“Once there was an engine shed kissed by the sun – now there is a Motorway where railways used to run”. York Road, Belfast MPD in 1967. Lurking in the distance is J15 No 186 preserved of course by the RPSI.  With apologies to the Brothers Four – Photo by Ron Allen

Received comments – Responses to photo Wk2

Week 1


“Ancient & Modern” K2 461 and a DMU at Limerick  – RPSI Golden Vale Railtour  11/5/13
Received comments – Responses to photo

Talks and Events

Below is a summary of the most recent talks and events hosted by the IRRS London. If you would like any further information about a subject or wish to get in touch with the speaker, please use the Contact Us page.

Please note the March and April meetings of the 2019-20 season were cancelled due to the effects of Covid-19

For events from previous years please select the following:

Programme of Events 2019-20

Programme of Events 2018-19

Programme of Events 2017-18

Programme of Events 2016-17

Programme of Events 2015-16

Programme of Events 2014-15