Coaching stock of Ireland

Coaching stock of Ireland

A wide variety of hauled coaches have been used on the railways of Ireland. This page lists all those since 1945.


Republic of Ireland

When formed in 1945, Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ) inherited from its constituents a motley collection of coaching stock from various manufacturers, in equally variegated conditions of repair. Although many were over 40 years old they had to remain in service until a programme of replacement could be found.

CIÉ, which controlled the Republic's railways between 1945 and 1986, and its subsidiary, Iarnród Éireann (IÉ) from 1986, have made great use of hauled coaches, though in recent years IÉ has turned increasingly to multiple units to replace old locomotives and coaches. IÉ and NIR jointly own the current stock used on the Enterprise service between Dublin and Belfast, with IÉ nominally owning the odd-numbered vehicles and NIR the even-numbered ones, though all share a common Enterprise livery.

"Laminate" stock (now withdrawn)

Laminate Buffet 2422TL at Cultra, 2008. Length 61' 6", Width 9' 11.25”, Weight 30 Tons Commonwealth bogies. Introduced in '56 (Number series 2419-2422)
Bredin Laminate Coach at Moyasta Junction, Co.Clare, 2008

The Laminate stock comprised a variety of designs, built to two distinct profiles. The carriages built in the early 1950s had a narrower, more vertical profile with a small tumblehome similar to that used by Edgar Bredin of the Great Southern Railways for its steel panelled coaches. The carriages built from the end of the 1950s had a wider profile with a more pronounced tumblehome.

The earlier coaches included the last compartment stock built for CIÉ. Typically there were 7 compartments per carriage with each having seating for 6 passengers. Seats were aligned to windows and so passengers could enjoy an unobstructed view out of the train from all seats.

Some of which were later converted to steam heating vans to allow the four-wheel and six-wheel heating vans to be withdrawn in the late 1970s and early 1980s. All of CIÉ's restaurant cars prior to the Mark 2 stock were of the vertical profile design. [A brake standard design was adapted as a driving trailer for use with CIÉ's AEC railcar stock][This needs confirmation].

There were three varieties of the later wide body profile coaches:
-a composite (all later converted to brake standards)
-a standard open design with two lavatories at one end
-a standard open design with a single lavatory at each end

The "Laminate" stock was a long distance design but the carriages were extensively used on Dublin and Cork suburban services in the 1970s and 1980s despite their unsuitable layout and limited door openings. Following the Buttevant crash in 1980, the "Laminate" and Park Royal stock was restricted to a 70 mph top speed and later banned from certain routes.

After the electrification of the Howth-Bray route in 1984 and the introduction of Mark 3 stock, the "Laminate" stock was progressively withdrawn. Some have been preserved at various locations around Ireland:
-Downpatrick & County Down Railway has Buffet Car 2419 and Brake Standard 1918TL (orig.2163) .
-Kiltamagh Museum has Standard Open 1460 and Composite 2148 [1]
-The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland in Dublin has Standard 1463, Bar Car 2421 and Brake 3rd 1916[2]. The RPSI also owns Buffet Car 2422TL, which is on display at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.
-Sligo Folk Park in Riverstown has Standard Open 1468 [3][4]

"Park Royal" stock (now withdrawn)

Park Royal at Inchicore, 2005

In 1955 Inchicore Works[1] commenced the construction of 50 coaches from parts supplied by the Park Royal Works in London. These coaches made full use of the Irish loading gauge, being 61 feet 6 inches long and 10 feet 2 inches wide, reducing by 8 inches at their ends. Because of their aluminium and steel construction, they weighed only 26 tons tare (Suburban) and approx. 27¼ tons tare (Main Line). Unusually, these coaches had inward opening doors, similar to the American "Pullman" design, but this proved unpopular and somewhat confusing to the passengers and so were rebuilt conventionally. The suburban coach seated 82, while the main line coach, fitted with lavatories, seated 70 passengers. These coaches rode on Commonwealth bogies,[2] the first in Ireland to be so fitted. Barred from certain routes during the early 1990s, because of their construction, they were withdrawn following the delivery of the first Japanese 2600 Class DMUs in 1994.

There are several preserved examples;
-The RPSI has two, two Open 3rds, Nos.1383 and 1419. No.1383 is fitted with a shop, whilst No.1419 has been modified so as to be wheelchair compatible.[5]
-No.1944 has been partially restored at the Downpatrick & Co. Down Railway [6]
-Two at the Clonakilty Model Village [7]


When built, these coaches received the standard CIÉ "ivy - leaf" green livery. In the early 1960s, they were re-painted in the new black / tan / white colour scheme (See: Cravens stock / livery)

Cravens Stock (now withdrawn)

Craven in Colbert Station, 2006
No. 1520 being scrapped

In Spring 1961 CIÉ sought tenders for the supply of 40 new Standard Class coaches, 10 to be delivered complete, the rest "part-finished" for assembly in Inchicore with technical assistance from the suppliers. The £500,000 contract was awarded to Cravens of Sheffield. It was reported that these new vehicles "would set a pattern for future construction of CIE carriage stock." The first of the Sheffield-built coaches was unloaded at the North Wall, Dublin on 3 May 1963 and taken to Inchicore for acceptance.

These coaches were built with light alloy bodies on steel underframes on Type B4 bogies.
Each saloon had 64 seats, arranged in eight bays of four around a table, either side of a central gangway, with two toilets situated in the vestibule at one end. The interior was finished in laminated plastics, creating a light and airy feel. They were fitted with a public address system, double-glazed windows and central fluorescent lighting along their length, the first coaches in Ireland to be so treated. Heating was by steam, supplied from a Steam Heating Van.
They were 62 ft 8 in long, 9 ft 6 in wide, 12 ft 7.5 in high, weighed 28 tons and 14 cwt. and were numbered 1504 to 1513. The 30 incomplete coaches were numbered 1514-1543, and although the total order was for 70, only 15 more (numbered 1544-1558) were built to a total of 55.

During early 1963, Inchicore commenced construction of two new First Class coaches in a style similar to, but not connected with, the Craven contract. These coaches were built with an open plan format, double-glazing and air conditioning. Numbered 1145 and 1146, they were the only post-war all-first class coaches to be added to the stock, their immediate predecessor, 1144, was built in 1935.

On 2 April 1964 the new coaches were demonstrated to the press and entered service on 10 April, working the 18.30 Dublin to Cork train. They were common on high capacity specials, with 14 vehicle trains (12 "Cravens" + 2 Gen Vans) not being atypical, with a capacity of 768 passengers.

Prior to their displacement on these services by railcars, right into the 2000s the Cravens could be found on outer suburban workings, such as those from Dublin to Arklow and Longford. They could also be found on rural services such as those on the Rosslare-Waterford-Limerick route and the Mallow to Tralee line.

Throughout 2006 a phased withdrawal of the Craven stock took place. Their final regular duties were "Fridays Only" workings from Dublin Heuston to Cork, Galway, Limerick and Tralee and their return. They were also occasionally used for rugby union and football match specials and other one-off services.

The final set in scheduled service was withdrawn on December 11, 2006 after working the 05:15 Athlone - Dublin Heuston service. The last operation in IÉ ownership was carriage No.1510 on an RPSI steam special on December 17. Craven Carriage Numbers 1505, 1506, 1508, 1514, 1522, 1523, 1529, 1532, 1539,and 1541 have been preserved in regular use by the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (RPSI), along with two BR mk1 generator vans, Nos.3173 and 3185 [3]. A "Dutch" type generator van, no.3158 that would have operated with the Cravens stock, has also been preserved by the RPSI, and now runs with their Whitehead based mk2 set as No.462.[4]


The Sheffield built coaches were outshopped and delivered in the new CIÉ livery of tan below the waist, black on the central panel at window level, roof and ends, with a broad (6"/150 mm) white band between the upper window and roof. Large, white, class numerals were applied to the doors. The two Inchicore First Class coaches were similarly treated. Later on a thin white band of approx. 1" / 25 mm was applied to the waistband, separating the tan and black sections. Following the re-branding to Irish Rail in 1988, two white 3 inch (75 mm) vinyl strips were added, separating the black from the tan above and below it. Two reflective Fluorescent Red 3M Scotchcal 12 inch square panels were applied at each body end.

In preservation the Cravens coaches are being outshopped in a new RPSI livery of blue with white numerals and yellow lining, complete with two RPSI crests on the side of each carriage.[5]

Mark 2 (now withdrawn)

Mark 2 in Colbert Station, 2006

In 1972 CIÉ placed an order with BREL for 72 new coaches based on the British Rail Mark IId design. These were built at the Litchurch Lane workshops in Derby. With air conditioning as a principal feature they became known as “AC Stock” and ran on type B4 bogies, with vacuum brakes.

The order consisted of 6 First Class coaches (5101 to 5106), 9 Composites (5151–5159), 36 Standard Class (5201–5236), 11 Restaurant / Buffet / Standard Class (5401–5411) and 11 Generator Vans (5601–5611). Internal fit-out was done in Inchicore, and was quite different from the original BR design, using bench seating rather than individual seats and made extensive use of wood veneer panelling.

Their electrical system also differed from the BR and NIR versions. The Generator Van contained two engine / generator sets, each supplying 220 / 380 Volts 50 Hz AC to two separate "busses" in the train. The air conditioning loads were divided in half, each half fed from each "buss". In the case of failure of one generator set, the other set automatically supplies both "busses". Air conditioning output power would then be halved, but all other loads including Cooking, Lighting and Battery Charging continue to be supplied. This has remained the model for the electrical power supply on all subsequent IE coaches.

To accommodate changes in traffic, five of the Composites, 5153-5156 and 5158 were re-classed as "Standards", while one of the Restaurant / Buffet / Standards, 5408, was converted for use as the Presidential Coach.

The remaining MK 2 carriages were gradually phased out during 2007 and 2008, with the last remaining set operating its final service, the 05:05 Athlone - Heuston, on March 31, 2008. Two of these vehicles (Nos. 5106 and 5203) have been preserved by the RPSI and were moved to their Whitehead base in the first quarter of 2008. They will be renumbered 303 and 304 respectively, and be repainted in RPSI dark green livery.[8] In addition, the Presidential coach No. 5408 remains stored at Inchicore, still owned by Irish Rail. This vehicle is earmarked for preservation by the RPSI.

In addition to the vacuum-braked mk2d fleet, a second fleet of mk2 coaches was used by Irish Rail. These were second hand air-braked mk2 coaches acquired in the early 1990s. They were numbered in the 41XX series for standards, or 44XX series for catering vehicles. These coaches were withdrawn around 2003 following the deployment of 2900 class railcar sets into service. Some of these vehicles have been preserved. 4106 can be found at Kilmeaden station on the Waterford and Suir Valley Railway.

Mark 3 (now withdrawn)

Mark 3 in Heuston Station, 2006
Mark 3 Generator Van in Heuston Station, 2006
Mark 3 automatic door
Mark 3 Dining Car

Introduced on the CIÉ system in 1986 the last set was withdrawn on Monday 28 September 2009. The decision to purchase a new fleet of modern Intercity coaches based on the British Rail Mark 3 design was made because of several accidents involving the older style, wooden framed, coaches. They were already a well-proven design used for BR’s High Speed Trains (HST)
The first 44 Open Standards and all of the Buffets and Generator Vans were built at BREL’s Litchurch Lane workshops in Derby. The remainder was built under licence in Inchicore between 1980 and 1989. The coaches run on 5 ft 3 in gauge versions of British Rail’s BT22 Air Suspension bogie,[6] and are air-braked.

The Irish Mark 3 coaches are similar, but not identical, to their British counterparts. They have a different electrical system (220/380V, 50 Hz) and were the first Mark 3s to be fitted with automatic swing-plug doors. There are also some different internal layouts more specifically suited to Irish traffic.

The Mark 3 fleet, as of 2005, comprised 123 standard coaches. Thirty coaches were built for push-pull operation on the suburban rail service including 5 built to Control Cars, numbered 6101 to 6105. Originally use in conjunction with the 121 Class locomotives they are now used with 201 Class locomotives. There are a number of differences between the Irish push-pull Mk3s and the standard Mk3s. An underfloor generator, mounted in the Control Car, provides electrical power to the coaches; unlike on the standard Mk3s, which use a special generator van. This single generator is not as powerful as the two used in the Mk3 generator vans and is the main reason the sets are limited to 6 cars. Irish Mk3 push-pull based rolling stock does not have air conditioning and have opening windows instead. There is also a 70-mph speed restriction imposed on the train due to the fact that at least one of the converted Control Cars is fitted with LHB bogies from an 8100 Class DART.

In 2004 a 1979 vintage BR Mark 3 TRFK coach was converted by Interfleet into a modern Snack Car[7] for use on a Push-pull set. This set was usually used on the Waterford route.

The Mark 3A "Cu Na Mara" set, now withdrawn, operated exclusively on the Dublin to Galway route, and was originally the BREL International Train, a showcase project designed to secure overseas orders. The set travelled to a German rail exhibition in 1988, but returned without any new orders and languished for some years before being sold on through Vic Berry. CIE converted the many different interior layouts to their own standard design, fitted their own Mk 3 type powered door and re-bogied with ABB bogies. Although also re-wired for Push-Pull operation the fact that the "10th coach" wasn't converted to a DVT prevented the set from ever running with this configuration.

This set marked the end of coach building in Inchicore.

The plug door design found on the CIE Mark 3 coaches was later used on the British Rail Class 442 long distance commuter train.

IÉ recently announced plans to sell off the Mk 3 fleet.[8]

All remaining Mk 3 sets were withdrawn from service on September 21, 2009, the final service being a 13:45 Dublin-Cork relief train. However, one set was brought back for a charity event for enthusiasts on April 24, 2010. This tour also formed the 12:40 Limerick - Ennis service train, making this the last passenger service operated by a Mk 3 set.

There are 2 Mk 3 sets stored at Dundalk and it is reported that their bodies are in such a bad state that they can not be brought to Dublin to be scraped so it looks like they will be scrapped on the disused sidings beside the station.

All 5 of the Mark 3 control cars and some of the passenger coaches that are in good condition will be retained in the event that Enterprise introduce a more frequent service between Belfast and Dublin. The push pull dedicated Cafe/Bar is also planned to be kept.

The Mark 3's had a max. speed of 100MPH and could run at this speed on the Cork Mainline if a 201 Class was hauling them.

On 12 December 2009, locomotive 144 brought an ex-Mk 3 Generator van (7608) from Dublin to York Road Depot, Belfast. Then again on 22 December 2009, locomotive 8209 brought another ex-Mk 3 Generator van (7613) from Dublin to York Road. It is expected that NIR will receive 4 ex-Mk 3 Generator vans in total. They have been planned to be painted in Enterprise colours and wired with push/pull to run with the Enterprise sets to replace the HEP supplied by the locomotive.

De Dietrich Stock (in use)

Enterprise DVT Number 9001

Following the introduction of the new Class 201 locomotives, the jointly operated " Enterprise" service between Dublin and Belfast was upgraded in September 1997 with new coaching stock from French train makers De Dietrich Ferroviaire (now Alstom DDF). The interiors of the new stock were based on that of the rolling stock used by Eurostar[9]

The coaches are divided into two classes: Standard, with 2 + 2 seating and “First Plus”, with 2 + 1 seating, individual reading lamps and power adjustable seating with "in seat" audio. All coaches are air conditioned, have powered internal and external doors, tinted windows with adjustable blinds, a single wheelchair accessible toilet with baby changing facilities, LED route maps and scrolling LED information displays.

Electrical power for train HVAC, battery charging and cooking is supplied from the locomotive's Head End Power system as the sets do not include a Generator Van.

Although originally ordered as four sets of seven cars, each of the three in-service sets comprise 8 cars:

  • One DVT (No’s 9001 to 9004), with Driving Cab, luggage area, 29 "First Plus" seats & wheelchair space, weight 42 tonnes (46.5 tons)
  • One "First Plus" (No’s 9101 to 9104) with 47 seats, weight 38 tonnes (42 tons)
  • One Café / Buffet, (No’s 9401 to 9404), weight 40 tonnes (44.5 tons)
  • One Standard (No’s 9213 to 9216) with 68 seats & wheelchair space, weight 38 tonnes (42 tons)
  • Four Standard (No’s 9201 to 9212) with 71 seats, weight 38 tonnes (84,000 lbs)

Each carriage is 23.43 m (76 ft 10.4 in) long, 3.787 m (12 ft 5 in) in height and 2.814 m (9 ft 2.8 in) wide.
The odd numbered coaches are owned by and the even numbered by NIR

The Trains have a max. speed of 100MPH but are limited to 90MPH.

On 12th and 22 December 2009, NIR received the first two, 7608 and 7613, of four Mk3 Generator vans from IE for repainting in Enterprise livery. They will eventually replace the HEP power system. The other two Generator vans are due to arrive early 2010.

Mark 4 (in use)

CAF Mark 4 at Limerick Junction, 2006

67 Mark 4 coaches were delivered in 2006 from CAF[10]
Although the name "Mk 4" has entered common usage, these trains have no connection to the BR Mk 4.
Though capable of 200 km/h (125 mph) operation, this higher speed would require both track & signal system upgrade and the provision of a faster locomotive than the currently used 201 class. A possibility being considered is the replacement of the existing 201 with two power cars, one of which would be converted from the existing Generator Control Car.

Seating capacity is 423 (8-car set) and the train is fully accessible to mobility-impaired customers.

Capable of 10-car operation, each in-service set currently comprises 8 cars:

  • Generator Control Car - GC (or DVT) (no seating)
  • One First Class - FC (44 seats + 1 wheelchair)
  • One Catering Car - CC (28 seats)
  • Four Standard Class - SC (69 seats + 1 wheelchair)
  • One Standard End - SCE, with retractable buffers & drop-head buckeye coupling at locomotive end.
  • Length between couplers - 23.66 m (77 ft 7.5 in)
  • Height - 3.85 m (12 ft 7.5 in)
  • Width - 2.85 m (9 ft 4 in)

As of January 2007, seven sets are operated on the Dublin-Cork route's clockface timetable, replacing Mark 3 pull-only carriages. On some off-peak services smaller Class 22000 sets are used since the larger sets are expensive to operate.

Main features

  • Merak HVAC[9]
  • Power operated passenger doors
  • Fire resistance to BS 6553:1999 Cat 1B
  • Public address (PA) including automated announcements in Irish and English
  • Closed-circuit television (CCTV) recording, including a forward-facing camera in the DVT
  • LED Exterior & Interior Destination signs
  • Seat Reservation system with reserved seating LED displays above each passenger seat. System is updated via Wireless LAN (W-LAN)
  • LED Route Maps
  • In-seat audio in First Class
  • Power operated seating in First Class
  • Suspension:
    • Primary coil springs & secondary air bags
  • Sanding on leading axle of GC & trailing axle of SCE cars
  • Scharfenberg coupler[10] between cars, drop-head buckeye couplers [11] each end
  • Wheelchair area & accessible toilets to UK Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations

Mark 4 DVT

CAF DVT at Templemore North Tipperary 2011
  • Air-conditioned driver's cab
  • Fault Diagnostic system, displayed on driver's monitor
  • Luggage Compartment
  • Fire Suppression System
    • Generator engine compartment protected by FM200 extinguisher
    • Fuel tank protected by AFFF extinguisher
  • Generators:
    • Twin MAN 2846 LE 202 (320 kW) / Letag [12] (330kVA) engine / generator sets, assembled by GESAN [13]
  • Length between couplers - 23.81 m (78 ft)

Liveries since inception of CIÉ


Carriages were originally dark (malachite) green, pale (apple) green broad stripe above and below windows and the flying snail emblem Dublin United Transport Company.png. A lighter shade with a pale green waist was introduced in 1955 for the Park Royals. At the end of 1955 unpainted aluminium coaches were introduced with large red 1s and 2s to indicate class and small red running nos. From 1958 all carriages were repainted standard green.

In 1961, with the introduction of the "Cravens Stock", a radical new livery was introduced consisting of black upper panels, roof and body ends, deep orange (golden brown / tan) lower panels with a 6-inch white band between the windows and the roof.

In February 1987, CIÉ's railway operations were transferred to a wholly owned subsidiary, Irish Rail and the 6-inch white band was replaced by two 3-inch white bands, on each side of the black portion. The words “InterCity” 1987 Intercity logo in large white lettering was added on the lower orange-brown section accompanied by the "IR" logo. Craven coaches and ex-BR Mk 1 generator vans were not re-branded. These continued in CIÉ black and golden brown but the white lining was changed to the narrower style on their next works visit.

In the early 1990s, the golden brown was replaced by a brighter orange (RAL 2011) and the stylised IE icon 1994: Iarnród Éireann replaced the IR track logo. The new logo did not accompany the Intercity lettering 1989 Intercity logo, but was put on all MK2 and MK3 coach doors.

Because of the shared nature of the service the Enterprise has its own unique livery consisting of Dark Grey (NCS 8502-Y), Light Grey (NCS 5502-Y), Dark Green (NCS 9005-G20Y), Bronze strip & Enterprise logos (3M), and either Purple (NCS 5040-R40B) for Standard Class or Dark Red (NCS 4060-R10B) for First Plus.

In 2006, a new livery reminiscent of the original green has been introduced on the CAF Mark 4s. Consisting of Fern Green (NCS 4550-G), Grey (RAL 7000), Yellow (RAL 1021), Black (RAL 9005), Green (NCS 7020- B70G), Yellow Green (NCS 1070 G60Y) & Metallic Silver (761). A new logo has also been introduced to match.IE intercity logo.JPG


Wagons were Oxide brown and departmental stock a dull grey.

Northern Ireland


Although the majority of passenger services in Northern Ireland have been worked by diesel multiple units since the mid-1950s, a number of hauled coaches have been required under the tenure of both the Ulster Transport Authority (1948–1966) and Northern Ireland Railways (since 1967). NIR operates a single rake of coaches to supplement the DMU fleet. The total of ten were all built as Mark 2s for British Rail, and were purchased by NIR in three batches:

  • Generator Van - the set has a single generator van converted from a Mark 2 BFK that was purchased and converted in 1981.
  • Passenger coaches - the main part of the set is formed from eight Class 488 unpowered trailers previously operated on the Gatwick Express, which were purchased in 2001.
  • Driving trailer - a DBSO was purchased in 2006 for use with the train to allow a greater degree of flexibility in its use. This was finally delivered in the summer of 2009.

From 1998, NIR prefixed their numbers with “8” so as to be part of the Translink number series, which incorporates their road vehicles The table below lists the hauled passenger coaches that were in use until June 2009 plus the never used DBSO (This excludes the "De Dietrich" stock jointly owned with IÉ for operating Enterprise services between Belfast and Dublin:

NIR Number Introduced BR Number(s) Built Type
911 / 8911 1981 14104 1969 Derby Generator Van (ex-Mark 2B BFK)
8941 2001 6089 / 72634 1974 Derby TSO (ex-BR Class 488 unit 488318)
8942 2001 6098 / 72637 1974 Derby TSO (ex-BR Class 488 unit 488318)
8943 2001 6082 / 72605 1974 Derby TSO (ex-BR Class 488 unit 488305)
8944 2001 6080 / 72609 1974 Derby TSO (ex-BR Class 488 unit 488305)
8945 2001 6017 / 72626 1974 Derby TSO (ex-BR Class 488 unit 488314)
8946 2001 5974 / 72627 1974 Derby TSO (ex-BR Class 488 unit 488314)
8947 2001 6078 / 72646 1974 Derby TSO (ex-BR Class 488 unit 488319)
8948 2001 6081 / 72647 1974 Derby TSO (ex-BR Class 488 unit 488319)
8918 (2009) 9534 / 9712 1974 Derby
Rebuilt 1985 Glasgow
DBSO (ex-Mark 2F BSO)

See also


External links

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