121 Class

Built: 1960 by GM, La Grange Illinois works USA.

15 of these Bo-Bo locomotives were delivered to CIE in 1961, designated as the B Class, and first carried an unusual grey & yellow livery, quickly superseded by black & tan colours after 1962.

The 121s were the first GM locos to work on the Irish Rail system, and had an US style 'switcher' loco appearance with one single cab. The 121s ran bonnet first on trial, but after an accident early in their career they then ran cab front almost all the time. The locos displaced CIE steam engines entirely from mainline services, mainly to Cork, Sligo and Galway. In the mid-1970s, the class were fitted with multiple operation, with additional hand rails on the side walkways. In later years their passenger duties included operating suburban and cross country Mk3 push-pull trains. The last remaining 121 Class locos Nos.124 & 134 were withdrawn from service in March 2008. Both have been preserved by the ITG and RPSI respectively.

Max Speed: 77mph Weight: 64tons Length: 12.15m
Fitted for multiple operation with other GM locos (141+181)
In 'black & tan' livery, No.B123 comes off the Youghal line at Cobh Jct, Cork, with a loose coupled goods train in May 1971. ©Jonathan M.Allen In 2002, two very different generations of General Motors built motive power are seen outside the running shed at Inchicore, with 1960 built 121 Class loco No.123, and 1995 built 201 Class loco No.217. This is No.123 again, seen from the cab end of the loco at Inchicore following its withdrawal from Irish Rail service in August 2008. For thier first few months of service in 1961, the 121s operating bonnet first like their counterparts in the USA. In the summer of 2002, No.124 stands at Limerick Jct on a pushpull train from Limerick City. Now preserved, No.124 entered service in March 1961.
With the starting semaphore signal in the 'off' position, No.124 propels the return working to Limerick City from the junction. These pushpull trains were replaced by 2700 Class railcars in 2003. In later years, the 121s operated in multiple with the cabs facing outwards, as seen with Nos.124+134 at Dublin Connolly. Both these locos have since been preserved by the Irish Traction Group and Railway Preservation Society of Ireland. Seen minus its bogies, No.124 resides at the workshops at Inchicore, Dublin. The loco entered service with CIE on the 23rd of February 1961. In 2008, No.124 was seen again at Inchicore, having been withdrawn from regular service. No.124 now resides at Moyasta, Co.Clare.
Brand new No.B122 in grey & yellow livery is seen been turned on the turntable at Dundalk Works, Co.Louth, in 1961. ©John Camp No.B126 is seen shunting wagons bonnet first at the west end of Athlone Midland Station, Co.Westmeath, in June 1961. ©J.E.Aitken No.127 appeared to be in a sorry state when photographed at Inchicore, Dublin, in 2002. The loco was subsequenty scrapped, having been withdrawn from Irish Rail service in February of that year. No.B130, in original grey & yellow livery, prepares to depart Attymon Station with a Dublin to Galway service in June 1961. Note the tablet snatcher on the cabside. ©J.E.Aitken
In August 1968, No.B132 enters Cobh Jct, Cork, with the daily goods train from Youghal. In 1970s the 121 Class locos received railings on their side walkways. ©John Wallace On the 8th June 1961, loco No.B132 reached Ballaghaderreen Station with a special from Kilfree Junction, a branchline which had remained the haunt of steam motive power until closure in February 1963. ©J.E.Aitken Another 121 Class loco to be seen at Limerick Jct in 2002, was No.134, seen propelling a 3-car Mk3 pushpull train out of the station towards Limerick City. No.134 is caught again at Limerick Jct in 2002, heading north out of the station with an empty stock movement to Dublin.
The remaining 121 Class locos, Nos.134+124, are seen at Carrick-on-Suir, with the Limerick to Waterford cement train, a freight service since withdrawn. Nos.134+124 seen at Dublin Connolly, having worked a fairwell railtour from Sligo, the locos however did not end their career until July 2008. 121/141 Class locos No.134+146 is seen at the head of loaded timber train at the south end of Ballina's freight yard, Co.Mayo. The train would shortly depart for Waterford. No.134 is seen at Inchicore, Dublin, shortly after withdrawal from regular service. Amongst some of its travels, No.134 operated on the rarely traversed Clonsilla to Navan railway line which closed in April 1963.
In 2002, Nos.128+135 are seen stabled alongside the site of the former carriage sheds at Dundalk Station Co.Louth. These locos were withdrawn soon after this photo was taken.