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After 1945, both CIE and the GNR found themselves in a poor financial position as a result of the deprivations of World War II and increased competition from road traffic. They looked to diesel power as a way to streamline costs and bring them back into profitability. As well as diesel powered loco, railcars offered a cheaper and more flexible means of transportation than steam or loco hauled coaches. As a result in June 1950 the GNR(I) introduced the first of 20 diesel-mechanical railcars (No’s 600-619) ordered from AEC Ltd. of Southall. CIE followed that September ordering 60 (no’s 2600-2659) almost identical versions as part of its dieselisation programme. These were delivered and put in service between 1951 and 1954.


These cars, based on a 1930s AEC/Great Western Railway design, were powered by two AEC underfloor engines of 125 hp, each one driving the inner axle of one bogie through a five-speed, pre-selective epicyclic gearbox. They cost £18,500 each and were capable of 70 mph. They also had improved acceleration over steam, with 15–25 minutes reduction on the Dublin-Waterford running time.

The bodywork was built by Park Royal, which like AEC was a member of the ACV Group. The design incorporated a full width cab at the front and a guard's and luggage compartment at the rear, as well as a...
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