Steve Johnson Modelmaker
Bord na Mona
Bord na Móna (BnM) has had a large an interesting fleet of narrow gauge locomotives. The first locomotives were either inherited from the Turf Development Board upon formation in 1946 or acquired from elsewhere. Some of the first bogs used 2ft. gauge track, but the majority of bogs are 3ft. gauge.
Early locomotives include the usual Ruston & Hornsby products you would expect to find, but others include a Whitcomb. Once established, the fleet was mainly Ruston & Hornsby models of varying types.
Because of the unique type of operation, BnM wanted a purpose built type of locomotive. A prototype was built by Ruston and used on the system. However, a disagreement followed when BnM reputedly asked Ruston to fit a Ford Transit diesel engine instead of Ruston's own Oil Compression Ignition engines. Ruston's understandably declined, having been first in the field with the Hornsby-Ackroyd Engine of 1886 (Dr. Diesel came much later!). No further orders were made with Ruston and BnM turned elsewhere.
Another prototype was built, this time by Hunslet of Leeds. The 0-4-0 jackshaft driven locomotive was just what BnM were looking for and was christened the 'Wagonmaster'. Many of these were built and provided sterling service. Other manufacturers types however, did appear. Products from Deutz, Simplex and a couple of Gleismacs were bought.
Further orders from Hunslet produced an updated design of loco called the DH. This is a 4 wheel diesel-hydraulic locomotive and a number were built and are still in service.
As the 'Wagonmasters' have neared their lifespan, BnM has taken it upon themselves to rebuild them as more modern diesel-hyraulics, similar to the Hunslet DH. There are of course a few differences and the re-building programme continues today.
, or Irish Peat Commission, is a semi-state body formed in 1946 to develop the peat reserves of the Republic to best advantage. Upon its formation, BnM acquired bogs worked previously by the at Glenties, Clonsast and Lullymore.
The business of BnM is split into three main operating areas, the Peat Energy Division, the Horticultural Division and the Home Fuels Division. The largest division, Peat Energy, supplies peat for use as fuel in the Electricity Supply Boards (ESB) power stations. The Home Fuels Division uses peat to make a peat briquette for use as a home fuel. The Horticultural Division supplies peat for, as its name suggests, horticultural use. Shamrock Peat is the trade name used by the Horticultural Division.
Bord na Móna is not just some small industrial operator, this operation is big. BnM operate nearly 1,200 miles of 3ft gauge track throughout the Republic, moving some 5 million tons annually. This makes it not only larger than the state passenger carrier Iarnród Éireann, but surely one of the largest industrial railways in Europe.
Most of the Bord's operations are concentrated in the Bog of Allen, a vast tract of bogland stretching from the outskirts of Dublin in the east almost to Galway in the west.
The Bord have a varied fleet of some 350 locomotives to haul the trains of bogie wagons around the countryside. The majority of the fleet is made up of Hunslet Wagonmasters. The Wagonmaster is a Bord designed locomotive built by the Hunslet Engine Company. Other types include various Ruston's, Deutz and Gleismac locomotives. Recently, the Bord have started to build their own locomotives and rebuild some Wagonmasters in their own works.