3 R H Smyth Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners 0-6-0ST Avonside Engine Co Works No 2021

CompanyLondonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners    
Weight24t 0cwt
Driving Wheels3ft 6ins
Boiler Pressure160psi
CylindersOutside – 14in x 22in
Tractive Effort13,141lbf  

This locomotive was built in 1928 for the Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners by the Avonside Engine Company Ltd as works number 2021. It is described as being generally similar to a B6 class 0-6-0ST design but with a wheelbase of 9 feet and a gauge of 5 feet 3 inches.

The railway at the port had connections to 5ft 3in gauge railways (The Great Northern and the Northern Counties Committee) and 3ft narrow gauge railways (County Donegal Railways Joint Committee and Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway). In order to service these railways the dual gauge track was laid at the port and the locomotives had to be able to couple to narrow and standard gauge waggons. The dual track included the line over the river Foyle on the lower deck of the Craigavon Bridge.

By the 1920s the port boasted two miles of quays, with warehouses, stationary and mobile cranes, and with railways along the entire length connected to the four rail systems serving the city. The port had regular cross-channel services to Great Britain, and steamer services to North America.

This is one of two locomotives that were employed by the Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners. That have been preserved. The other is Robert Stephenson & Co works number 2738.

By February 1968 the engine had been out of use since being withdrawn from service in 1959 when the Reverend L H Campbell bought it to save it being scrapped.  The locomotive remained at the harbour for some time after this.

In 1972 the owner sold the locomotive to the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (RPSI) for £1 so that it could be restored to working order.

The engine remained outside for some time but was restored to steam again in 1977.

For many years the locomotive acted as yard shunter at the Whitehead headquarters of the RPSI. It was also used to provide train rides to the public on the site.

In the summer of 2000 the locomotive was hired to contractors Henry Boot Ltd who were relaying the Bleach Green – Antrim line for Norther Ireland Railways (NIR). The locomotive pulled over fifty thousand tons of stone for ballast from June until November 2000. Following these duties the engine returned to Whitehead and resumed its shunting activities.

By 2004 the locomotive was in need of overhaul which was not planned to be undertaken soon. This changed when the contractor relaying the Bleach Green – Whitehead line required an engine to haul ballast trains. The locomotive was given a very quick overhaul and spent five months up to December 2005 working for the contractor.

From 2006 until November 2012 the locomotive was loaned to the Downpatrick and County Down Railway although it was out of service for the last two years of that period awaiting a decision on boiler repairs.

In 2019 the locomotive was given a cosmetic overhaul and placed on display at Whitehead.

3 R H Smyth at Whitehead – July 1980
3 R H Smyth at Whitehead – April 2002
3 R H Smyth at Whitehead – July 2018

Back to Ireland – 5ft 3 in Gauge

Back to Avonside Engine Company

Back to Locomotives