A New Mogul?
By Robin Moron (Steam Railway 462)
An innovative proposal to build an additional Irish mainline locomotive could be set to come off the drawing board - and there is speculation that it could be an LMS-NCC Class W 2-6-0.
The RPSI is giving renewed consideration to the plan to augment its fleet by producing either a Class WT 2-6-4T or a Class W Mogul. None of the Moguls survived into the preservation era, although No.97 “The Earl of Ulster” came tantalisingly close - it survived until 1967.
When steam finished on NIR in 1971 the RPSI prudently secured a spare set of Class WT driving wheels and numerous other components which mean that many of the basic elements of an additional engine are to hand.
Several years ago the Society discussed producing an additional Class WT Jeep, but the plan came to naught at that stage, primarily because the Society was fully committed to the major development of its Whitehead base including restoration of GNR()I Q class loco No.131.
But now the idea has gained renewed traction and it is understood that plans are being drawn up for scrutiny by the RPSI board.
When the plan was first mooted the obvious choice seemed to be another Jeep like the RPSI’s No.4 - the NCC 2-6-4T locomotives being fondly called Jeeps in view of their versatility and ability to run bunk-first at speed, thus avoiding turntables.
But over the years a lobby has been growing for a Class W Mogul. The Moguls, originally built in the 1930s for the LMS-NCC, also saw service on the Great Northern system and are widely acclaimed for their handsome design.
The big attraction would be to recreate a member of a class which is extinct - something that would have widespread appeal for enthusiasts, as has been proved by the new-built A1 Tornado and other projects.
The downside as regards a Mogul would be the need for a turntable, but tables exist at strategic points such as Coleraine, Dublin, Rosslare, and Whitehead itself now. In addition, there are triangles at Kilkenny, Limerick Junction and Belfast.
The RPSI and its engineering subsidiary Heritage Engineering Ireland have already shown their mettle with the rebuild at Whitehead of Class Q No.131 - a project that involved the replacement of many missing components.
Significantly, the principal working parts of the Jeep and Mogul are identical, both having the LMS Fowler tank in their ancestry and using the same drawings.
Peter Scott of the RPSI Locomotive Department said: “I can confirm that the Society is seriously considering this proposal and that an investigation is progressing.
“We are fortunate in having many of the essential parts on which to base either a Jeep or Mogul, so we would not be starting from scratch.
“The RPSI Workshops at Whitehead and HEI are now well set up to handle such a project, which would also require contracting out certain appropriate jobs.”
Mr Scott said it was difficult at this stage to put a price on the project, as much depended on timescale and volunteer input.
He added: “In addition to the enthusiast interest in such a project, we must look to the locomotive requirements in the longer term.
“Ireland did not have the benefit of a Barry scrapyard and as a result, the RPSI is left with only a handful of locomotives which are capable of handling heavy trains and fitting in with today’s intensified company timetables.
“Either a Jeep or a Mogul would fit the bill very adequately and would also give the RPSI greater flexibility in ringing the changes on our mainline locomotive stud.”
(from the RPSI Newsletter)