what about A39, running up in Downpatrick, can she not run on the main?
It beats me why this perfectly running main line locomotive is confined to a theme park.
1.Create and implement a safety management system and obtain a operating licence (a huge task in itself)
2. Restore A39 ( or any locomotive) to full mainline operating standard.
3. Pay to have drivers trained to drive it
4. Pay for the insurance
That’s just a quick short list off the top of my head, I am sure there would be a lot more operational and logistical problems to be overcome as well. The unfortunate truth is that even in the good times the ITG were not able to achieve this but they still have to be commended for what they have achieved.
Even if they were to achieve this and put an operational locomotive back on the main line I think that most of the money used to do this would have to be considered dead money that you would never make back. The RPSI has shown that while there is a market for diesel hauled trains it is extremely limited compared to steam. I think it was 1999 when the ITG managed to overcome their insurance problems but they then had to run 4 tours with A39 to make back their money. I don’t think you could depend on the enthusiast market to that extent for very long, the numbers are just not there.