Belfast Telegraph

Irish rail company Eireann looking to offload iconic intercity trains

State railway company Iarnrod Eireann is to sell off dozens of trains left languishing in a railway 'graveyard' in Dublin.

The last of the iconic 80s orange and black intercity trains are to disappear forever after the company said yesterday it was hoping to sell or lease them. They are likely to end up in the UK.

The Mark III passenger trains first entered service in 1972, and were used across the network until just 10 months ago.

The rail company is seeking offers to buy or lease 82 Mark III passenger coaches built between 1984 and 1986.

Spokesman Barry Kenny said the trains were no longer needed because the company has invested ?400m on a new fleet.

In the space of a decade, Ireland has moved from having one of the oldest fleets in the EU to the most modern.

"These were phased out in recent years as our new fleet came in," he said. "The last run was in November last year. They are air-conditioned, but they don't have the modern comfort standards passengers expect.

"We've never done this before. In the past we ran them until they couldn't be run any more, apart from a couple which went to heritage railways."

The Mark IIIs are based on a British Rail design, and were the first coaches to be fitted with automatic doors.

No longer is the fleet painted in orange and black -- most trains are now green.

Assuming there is one, the successful bidder will have to adjust the train's wheels because Ireland's rail gauge -- the distance between the tracks -- is unique in Europe.

The track gauge is 1,600mm (5ft 3in), and is otherwise only found in Australia and Brazil.

This because the first three railways in Ireland all had different gauges, and the 5ft 3in was settled on as a compromise measure.

The 400m euros upgrade of the fleet included the purchase of 183 Hyundai trains. The last 57 arrive here next year.

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