800 Maeḋḃ Great Southern Railway 4-6-0 Class 800 CIÉ Class B1a

DesignerE C Bredin
CompanyGreat Southern Railway
WeightEngine – 84t  0cwt Tender – t cwt
Driving Wheels6ft 7ins
Boiler Pressure225psi
CylindersThree cylinders – 18½in x 28in
Tractive Effort33,000lbf  

The Great Southern Railway built three locomotives in 1939-40 at the Inchicore works in Dublin. They were principally designed for express passenger work on the Dublin to Cork line and were restricted to working this route because of the heavy axle load of the engines.

The locomotives were given names after legendary female figures in Irish mythology.

They were significantly more powerful than any other steam locomotive ever to run in Ireland. Originally it was planned to build four or five locomotives of this class but only three were but the boiler from what would have been the fourth was used as a spare.

The ownership of the locomotive passed to Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ) following the Transport Act of 1944.

The locomotives had a relatively short time undertaking the work for which they were designed due to wartime coal shortages and the introduction of diesel engines in the early 1950s. One member of the class was withdrawn from service as early as 1955.

800 Maeḋḃ worked its last train in December 1958 but like one classmate officially remained in service until 1962.

Following its withdrawal from service the locomotive (800 Maeḋḃ ) was repainted at Inchicore for preservation.

This locomotive had entered traffic in July 1939 and completed over 480,000 miles whilst in service.  It is said to have attained the highest recorded speed of 96mph. 

In 1993 was installed in the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum at Cultra near Belfast.

800 Maeḋḃ in the scrap line at Inchicore – March 1963
800 Maeḋḃ in store in Adelaide shed awaiting museum preservation – April 1964
800 Maeḋḃ in the Ulster Transport & Folk Museum at Cultra – May 2019

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