CIE 121 Class

CIE 121 Class

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CIE 121 Class

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The Córas Iompair Éireann 121 class is a railway locomotive which was manufactured by General Motors Electro-Motive Division. These locomotives were in regular service on the Irish railway network until 2002, with the last two remaining in service until 2008.


The Class 121 locomotives were manufactured in December 1960 and January 1961 and numbered B121 to B135. The last two locomotives that survived in traffic (Nos. 124 and 134) were both withdrawn from service on 3 May 2008. Prior to 1961, almost all Irish diesel locomotives were built in Great Britain, but from the 1960s onwards, GM became the sole supplier of locomotives to CIÉ, which eventually also extended to Northern Ireland Railways locomotives at a later stage. These were EMD's first ever fully American-built locomotives delivered to Europe.

The Class 121 locomotives were a typical American-style single cab ‘road switcher'. The layout of the cab was quite different from the other conventional CIÉ diesel models of the time, with the controls to the side of the driver, rather than the front. Due to apparent driver complaints of reduced visibility when operating with cab trailing, it was ultimately decided that these locomotives should only operate in a cab-leading formation. Later conversion for multiple-unit working allowed two 121 class locomotives to be coupled hood-end to hood-end, removing the need to turn them around for their return journey.

Although originally fitted with an EMD 8-567CR...
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