The "perishable" at Downshire
​The original “perishable” had been a mid-afternoon goods train, from Belfast to Larne Harbour, conveying perishables, for the GB market, via the evening sailing to Stranraer. Its successor, in the NIR era, was a mid afternoon train, usually hauling about six “brown” vans which ran as a passenger train to Whitehead and continued, empty, as a “fitted” to Larne Harbour.Running at 15.55 ex-York Road, common sense eventually prevailed and it became a passenger train all the way to the harbour. When this photograph was taken the brown vans had been replaced by parcels containers and I don’t think that there were any “perishable” goods.

Words and image by Albert Bridge

We recently found this online by Des Crockett and he says,

 "I have uploaded a photo I took on a Kodak Instamatic 126 camera back in 1976/77. A single unknown 70 class power car is hauling 10 empty fertiliser wagons from Londonderry past the golf links at Castlerock. I do not remember a single power car being used very often."

Thumper Freight


In the 1970's the Northern Ireland Railways used the 70 Class motor cars to haul freight trains.

The formations were normaly two power cars coupled back to back but occasionally there could be a complete 3 car unit hauling a train.

Many people think a thumper with its one driven bogie isn't very powerful but as can be seen in this section they can pack quite a punch.

Two UTA built 70-class DEMUs haul the nightly (Monday - Friday) Londonderry (Waterside) - Lisburn freight service past the strand at Downhill

​Image taken 1977 By The Turf Burner

Another example of a 70 being used on non passenger services is this one of 72 in its Sealink Livery hauling a P-Way train at Greenisland

​Image by Albert Bridge

Built by the Ulster Transport Authority (UTA) 1966-68, the eight 70-class DEMUs where used by the UTA and its successor Northern Ireland Railways (NIR) for both passenger and freight haulage. Their most notable working was the evening Monday - Friday freight service from Londonderry (Waterside) to Lisburn, operated on behalf of CIE whose own locomotives would then take the train on to Dublin. Headed by No. 71 "River Bush", the train is about to enter Downhill tunnel on its was to Lisburn via Antrim and Knockmore Junction. With improved roads in Donegal and Sligo, this service simply petered-out in the 1980.

​Image taken 1979 by The Turf Burner