When travelling from Dundrum to Belfast in the 1940s, a journey I often did, one of the sights on the journey was of the Ballynahinch branch train. Although sometimes the branch engine was 2-4-0 No.6, more often it was No.2, the Harland and Wolff diesel electric loco of 1933. Looking like a Co, it was in fact a 1B: the front axle was un-powered, and the other two axles motored. Harland and Wolff tried, with a little success, to break into the diesel market in the 1930’s, supplying engines to the LMS. A diesel shunter was supplied to the NCC, and a Bo-Bo, No.28, to the BCDR. No.2 (originally numbered D1) was their first diesel electric locomotive, and was described in some detail in The Locomotive (June 15th 1933) and The Oil Engine (May 1933) from which the general arrangement drawing is taken. The engine was rated at 270hp, and could haul 200 tons up a gradient of 1:100 at 16mph. On the BCDR it spent most of its life on the Ballynahinch branch. As it could not provide steam heating, a set of carriages was modified to provide electric heating. On the closure of BCDR’s main line in 1950, it was sent, together with brake carriage, to provide a short lived service between Newcastle and Castlewellan. It travelled south on Sunday 14th January 1950, illustrated in RM Arnold’s book at Crossgar. I recorded it at Dundrum – it must have travelled via Downpatrick station rather than the Loop Line, as it was cab first at Crossgar, and bonnet first at Dundrum.. Eventually it was returned to Harland and Wolff, and was used by them as a shunter in the shipyards.
When buying Athearn diesel parts for building my Turfburner model (New Irish Lines…), I measured a number of Athearn diesels. I found that the bogie wheelbases of loco PA-1 were the same as those for No.2. This led me to buy an extra bogie. In addition, a set of gears made by the Ernst Manufacturing Co, of Oregon (listed in Walther’s catalogue) enabled the gear reduction to be increased.
I originally thought to make the body myself, but eventually asked Joe Magill, who has made some beautiful models of Irish prototypes in both 4 and 7mm scales, to make it for me – so the striking appearance is his. The distinctive louvres were etched to order by Bill Bedford, to artwork that I drew (they now appear in his pricelist). The paintwork is again by Joe Magill.
So No.2 is ready to enter service, when I get some track laid. Baseboards have already been made, and at the moment the thoughts are of the Ardglass branch – either the very simple Ballynoe station, or Ardglass itself, with its turntable and extension to the quay. Ballynoe station still has its full complement of buildings; Ardglass in 2004 had the goods shed, and a very derelict but complete station building.
The Model: Body