Engine car on test, Leixlip, Co. Kildare

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Where: Kildare, Ireland

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When: 23 September 1960

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For Thursday we have a different form of transport, if you could call it that, and typically from James O'Dea. A tiny specialist wagon with a strange frame to the front/rear which in a later era might be used for spraying weedkiller(?) Any ideas will be much appreciated...

....and the ideas offered and agreed consensus are pretty convincing. The overwhelming likelihood is that this test car (petrol driven given the starter crank that was highlighted before) was outfitted with a frame to act as a structure guage. The idea being that this car was testing the clearances on the line in late 1960 - possibly in advance of the new locomotives which arrived in Ireland in early 1961.

Photographer: James P. O'Dea

Collection:James P. O'Dea

Date: 23 September 1960

NLI Ref.: ODEA 22/46

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie


Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 18345
jamespo’dea o’deaphotographiccollection nationallibraryofireland cie railroad wagon engine test apparatus leixlip ireland inspectioncar trainstation countykildare frame structureguage clearances testing

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  • profile


    • 22/Sep/2016 07:57:39

    It looks like a toy, a plaything for the lads!!!! Probably one of the most useful pieces of equipment available to the engineering department?

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    Dr. Ilia

    • 22/Sep/2016 08:00:09

    nice capture!

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    • 22/Sep/2016 08:20:19

    Back to the Future Now if we could get it up to 88 MPH and generate the necessary 1.21 gigawatts of electricity to power the time machine - we could make it to Maynooth!!!

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    O Mac

    • 22/Sep/2016 08:26:43

    Are they going up the down line or down the down line backwards?

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    Dún Laoghaire Micheál

    • 22/Sep/2016 08:35:30

    I'm guessing it was some form of gauge or template used to check minimum clearance from constantly invading tree branches. (but those regular 'flaps' on top and bottom dont seem to offer any function)

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    • 22/Sep/2016 08:54:26

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] I agree. It looks the same size as the front of a locomotive, so it's the right size to see if a lok could get under a bridge.

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    • 22/Sep/2016 09:21:18

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] My thoughts also. Checking line clearance for a new locomotive perhaps, especially with regards to bridges.

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    • 22/Sep/2016 09:41:41

    Comments 2. Inland Bray. To "drop into poetry": "-and I end with a French rhyme- (For the French, though they write well, rhyme ill)- March westwards, I beg of you, in double-quick time, And visit the venerable Rye Mill!" Leixlip; or, "Take the woolsack, O Brougham! but let me sit and swig Adam's ale on a meal-sack in Rye Mill!" Leixlip. "Gizmo". Copy: Charles Dickens James Clarence Mangan Wiki'.

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    • 22/Sep/2016 09:51:54

    I wonder how is it powered ?

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    • 22/Sep/2016 10:33:42

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Phil - you lost me with that comment!!

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    Niall McAuley

    • 22/Sep/2016 10:59:59

    This new kind of engine arrived in Jan 1961: US diesels arrive, North Wall, Co. Dublin

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    Niall McAuley

    • 22/Sep/2016 11:32:43

    25" map link at GeoHive Bing aerial view shows a very different station today, built on a new bridge over the line.

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    • 22/Sep/2016 13:10:16

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley One of those travelling through Leixlip featured a couple of years ago: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland/6940680132/

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    O Mac

    • 22/Sep/2016 14:51:04

    The same inspection car at Straffen catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000305433

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 22/Sep/2016 16:33:51

    Indeed [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] - Had forgotten we had this car before. It does look like it's being used at Leixlip perhaps for a different purpose than when we saw it at Straffan. I like and agree with the idea that the "frame" is intended to emulate the shape of the new type of loco - that perhaps hadn't yet run on this section of line?.... www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland/7044664635/

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    O Mac

    • 22/Sep/2016 18:09:44

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland] We also saw the "New Loco" on a trial run at Enfield earlier the following year, Feb. 1961. I'd say [https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley] is right about the profile frame emulating that of the new engine. www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland/6925304409/in/photolist-b...

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    • 22/Sep/2016 19:51:01

    Very nice item!

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    • 23/Sep/2016 01:26:23

    my first thought was a unit to test the pantographs overhead, but I don't see any electrification. Likely a self-propelled gas motor car, a "doodlebug" as we call them in Canada

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    • 23/Sep/2016 07:03:58

    A modern version of a structure gauge test car: www.ascenda-mcl.com/Structure-Gauge-Checks.html S. also en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structure_gauge

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 23/Sep/2016 10:52:53

    Thanks all! I think the theory here is pretty solid. That this was a frame added to the testing car - to check the structure guage and clearances of the lines during late 1960. In advance of the arrival of the new locos in early 1961. Have updated the description/etc to reflect this theory.... www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland/6633962763/

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    • 15/Jul/2020 16:53:23

    The inspection car would have been used to check clearances under bridges and at platforms. There is no guarantee that a relaid track is in exactly the same position as the old one, same goes for rebuilt bridges. Would also be used to check the loading gauge of any new rolling stock. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loading_gauge This makes sense given the imminent arrival of the new 121 class locos. The flexible flaps would be extended both top and sides and would record any interference. The clearance of any new vehicle type is always checked in advance of it entering service. An extra allowance for dynamic movement over and above the static size of vehicle is given. American loading gauge is much more generous than ours, resulting in the new loco having the tallest cab of any Irish loco, just barely within Irish gauge.