While it is not impossible it would be a huge task. To run a loco on the main line the ITG would need to:
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.
Insurance is a big factor when it comes to operating preserved rolling stock. With steam this can at least be offset to an extent by the fact that the general public will buy tickets for as many steam runs as you can supply... hence it easier (I wouldn't say 'easy'!) for the RPSI to pay for such insurance than it is for a diesel only group like the ITG. The ITG tried running A class tours back in the late 90s but apparently passenger numbers dwindled to the point it the insurance was not sustainable. Don't forget that diesels also attract chasers who don't bring any revenue (which they're entitled to do of course but it doesn't pay the bills).
And that was just the 90s... now there are loads of other factors, the operator must have a Safety Management System (SMS) in order to obtain an operating licence from the RSC, etc.
Personally I think in someways the ITG may have advantages in basing some of their locos at the DCDR, the likes of A39 probably gets far more use now than it would have on the mainline (maybe 3/4 tours at most). Not ideal I know but better than sitting on a siding at Inchicore for the rest of its days.
As much as it would be nice to see A/Cs out I doubt 95% of the public would even appreciate their significance.
Incidentally, the steam trips referred to in the OP were actually celebrating the 175th anniversary of the Dublin & Kingstown Railway (chartered by Dun Laoghaire & Rathdown Co.Co.), rather than for DART 25. I think IÉ held a few low key events of its own to celebrate the DART 25.
Just to add,whilst currently suspended,where would you get the chance to drive an A or 141,certainly not on the mainline.
Nowhere for now, sadly; Downpatrick isn't offering footplate courses at the minute. If or when this changes, I'll drop you a PM with more information but don't hold your breath just yet.
Theme park? That is a bit unnecessary considering the effort put in to the place by people who don't get paid for what they do. DCDR makes a significant contribution to the tourist industry in the area.
Apart from that, ideas on how to insure A39 to run on the main line on the back of a post card please. If you are unhappy with the provision at Downpatrick, what are you doing from your armchair to open an Irish gauge heritage railway elsewhere in Ireland?
What makes you, or anyone else for that matter, think that there is not one? How often do other companies publish their security rosters for general perusal by the public (or even non-management members of their own staff)?
What exactly do you hope to achieve by publishing your speculation about a heritage railway you clearly know very little about?
I agree, but the context in which it was described as such came across as sarcastic.
The central theme at Downpatrick would circle itself around vintage railway and live steam in the heart of Down and just like any other theme park they have their specific landscapes, buildings and attractions etc. They also advertise themselves as a suitable location for children's parties, school outings, family and corporate events etc.
I don't see anything wrong with this. In fact it would draw them a lot more business than if they just simply advertised themselves as a "railway museum". There are other historic railway locations around the country that would be more synonymous with the word "scrapyard".
I know enough about Downpatrick thank you and I know that they have had various arson attacks and break-ins and need to take steps to prevent the inevitable. By publishing my 'speculations' I continue to raise the issue and hopefully if I and others bang on for long enough it will be addressed. It is not just Downpatrick that is a concern in this regard and if you look through other threads you will see that I have raised the issue in regard to the 'so-called' National Transport Museum in Howth. There's none so blind and those that will not see!
Have a look here to see what happens at places where there's inadequate security. http://www.kellstransportmuseum.com/
Downpatrick is both a registered museum and a registered working railway with the Northern Ireland DRD, it certainly is not a theme park. Perhaps you should head up and visit it first before making any more comments on what you think it is and isn't.
Losty Dublin is correct, most of the ordinary travelling public would not realise the significance of the likes of A39 and a 141 Class. To them, and most of those who used the rail network, they are a reminder of Black and Orange banger trains.
To an enthusiast, they are beautiful. The A Class in particular has this classic look which could fit into a Thomas the Tank engine cartoon.
Some eyebrows over the windows.
Some eyes drawn in the cab windows.
A frown over the headlights
Sweat pouring down.
I can do it, I can do it, while pulling a rake of Cravens up the gullet.
As for what came before DART......my sentiments are......
We'd rather not remember what was before the DART. Although, it might be wise to show those who do not believe in rail transport what Dublin may have been without it, and persuade them that extending DART more is the future.
To give a clue on railtour costs, I believe one was staged in 2004 from Rosslare to Waterford to celebrate the end of the 121's, and the organiser, an Iarnrod Eireann employee at the time allegedly lost 4,000 Euro on the deal.
The only good train is one that you can shave with.
Brilliant, but thats poor C201 after being bombed at Meigh on the Northern line.
I'm dead if I say the next line, but I just cannot resist.
Thats one annoyed Metrosexual.
Or is it a Metrovick.
"You killed Kenny loco****er"
Or is it Barry Kenny. Mind, back when B201 got bombed he was in the sperm bank while the 101 Class where in the sound bank. Now amidst the soundbites, we could do well with a new soundbank.
Don't think so. You have to know your railway history to unravel the satire here.
The sad thing is that the general public probably won't give two ****s about something like this, which is sad really.