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1970's/80s "CIE" aka Irish Rail conversion project


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I live in the US, but I grew up in Dublin. I've had a vague wish for some time to get an Irish passenger train for my N scale layout. The trains I remember from my childhood were run by a state department called CIE or Córas Iompair Éireann (Irish Transport Authority). They had a weird orange & black livery which I think is fairly ugly. But it's a look I'm fond of due to nostalgia. 


There are two main problems. First, very few people in Ireland do N scale (N gauge as they call it there), Second, it's a tiny country without enough market demand for any company to produce N-scale local models. Especially from this period of history. 


I've talked with modelers in Ireland online about this. There are only two ways to obtain n-scale models from this period. 

1. Shapeways sell 3D printed shells that can be fit to a chassis and painted. The quality is low and the models don't look good even when the paint job is done well. I don't plan on going this route.

2. Buy a relatively similar model, customize it and repaint it. I'm thinking of going this route. Although, I don't have the skills to do the conversion myself, so I'd contract it out. 


I'd like to get you guy's opinion on how viable this project is. I probably wouldn't start it for about a year. But if I decide to go ahead with it, I'll spend this year acquiring base models and searching for skilled modelers.


I'll outline the elements of the project below.


Edit: I might think about doing some of the modelling work myself, but I'd practice on random broken shells first. If I couldn't do it well I'd hire out the job. As of right now, I definitely don't have the skill.

Edited by gavino200
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This link shows all of the Irish locos. 




The ones I'm interested in/remember specifically are the 001 class, made by the British Company Metropolitan-Vickers, and the 071 class made by GE. There are a couple of variations of both, but I didn't know the details when I was a kid and I'm not interested in them now. 


I have a preference for the 001 as I had a OO Gauge (similar to HO) model of it when I was a kid.













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This link lists the passenger cars. They call them coaches, or carriages there.




The ones I remember are 'Cravens" made by the eponymous British company, and the British Rail Engineering Linited Mark 2 and 3. These  were identical to British Rail coaches with a special paint coat for Ireland. This is good as it should make sourcing of base models easy. The UK has a much healthier market for N scale.






Mark 2




Mark 3





This is probably what I'd go for.



Edited by gavino200
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001 conversion base model 


The British Rail Class 33 is almost identical to the CIE 001 or "C Class". There seem to be two sets of CIE nomenclatures. I'm not sure why. 

I actually had both of these models in OO gauge when I was a kid. The main differences are the front windows and a weird vent thingy on the roof of the CIE loco.


Dapol makes a model of this loco. Customizing would be great. But I think I'd be happy with simply a good re-paint if necessary.




The C Class/001 from a similar angle for comparison.



Edited by gavino200
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The GE 071 loco was only sold to CIE, Northern Ireland Railways, and Yugoslav Railways. There are no n scale models available. Only 3D printed shells of low quality from Shapeways.


However, there's a guy on an Irish forum who has customized and painted a Hobbytrain Vossloh G 2000 BB, to simulate this loco. It looks pretty good. He also has made T-Trak modules of Irish scenes which are fantastic.




This is the base model.


Hobbytrain Vossloh G 2000 BB n scale


Here's his conversion.  He seems to have done a fair bit of remodeling to the shell. Also in the picture is his passenger car conversion.



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I'm thinking this is a doable project. Now to start acquiring base models.


I've never done anything like this before. I'd appreciate any advice or pointers.




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10 minutes ago, railsquid said:

There have been a couple of articles in the British N Gauge Society magazine about Irish conversions and 3d printing options.


The N Gauge Forum might also be worth perusing, in particular anything by Captain Electra who does various conversion vinyls, e.g. for these Irish Rail Mark 4 Coaches.


Thanks. I'll check out the British literature. 


I saw the Electra prints. http://www.electrarailwaygraphics.co.uk/  Follow the international link, then Republic of Ireland.

I learned about them last night from someone on and Irish forum called Irishrailwaymodeller.com

They seem to have printed windows, which I don't like, and are meant for the shapeways shells which are lacking in detail. 


I'd rather have a well detailed close approximation, than a more authentic model lacking in detail. I'm not a rivet counter. But I like rivets, and want them to look real.



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Time to wake up this dormant project. Finally found the 80's CIE "Broken Wheel" logo transfers in N-scale. I'd hate to be a graphic designer in Ireland. The Irish have a habit of making ironic nicknames for everything. I doubt if the designer meant for this to depict a broken wheel. Another was supposed to depict wings and the idea of speed. People noticed a resemblance to a certain shelled mollusk. It became the "Flying Snail" logo. It's really not so unfair. The Irish rail network was quite bad, back then.


Broken wheel logo



Flying snail logo


Edited by gavino200
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A fascinating and perfect resource. Hundreds of Irish train pictures. All taken in 1984. They really capture the bleakness of pre-EU Ireland.




In the link below, the topmost train is the one I'm going to attempt to model. I'll need a Dapol British Rail Class 33, and eight Graham Farish British Rail Mk1 or Mk2a coaches. I may try to alter the Class 33 to make it more like a CIE C Class. That would mean, trying to add vents to the roof, maybe changing the front windows, and upgrading the front bumper to the giant ugly Irish type. 


I'm going to see if Railtec will make me an altered version of their "Broken Wheel" CIE logo. The one I want has an orange ring rather than a white ring. If they won't, I'll just buy the white ring logo and color it.



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4 hours ago, gavino200 said:

A fascinating and perfect resource. Hundreds of Irish train pictures. All taken in 1984. They really capture the bleakness of pre-EU Ireland.






A lot of places now in the EU looked really bleak before the EU took effect like Poland and Portugal. But then the EU invests heavily in public transit and being in the EU has opened up places to real estate investment.

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Just ordered a Dapol Class 33 in British Rail Blue/yellow and three Graham Farish Mk1 coaches in British Rail blue/grey. I also picked up a set of three Class 33 body shells to practice on.   The project begins.

Edited by gavino200
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I got some very beat up shells to practice masking and painting. I may also experiment with altering the body shells to make the BR Class 33 look more like the CIE C Class.

The main differences are:

1. CIE two front windows vs BR three

2. CIE has a giant ugly front bumper.

3. The CIE loco has a funny vent thing on the roof.

4. Front light position is lower on the CIE loco than the BR

5. The CIE is shorter with two vs four side windows


CIE C Class

http://www.stephenjohnsonrailways.co.uk/C201 Class.htm


BR Class 33



Even if I decide not to alter the frame on the the actual project shell (as opposed to the practice shells) I think I'll try it anyway on the practice shells just to see what I can learn.


I actually have a reason to keep the Class 33 unaltered but repainted. When I was a kid the only OO gauge CIE locos available were Lima resprays of the BR class with the roof vent added. I had both a BR and a CIE. I actually thought the BR was damaged and had lost it's roof vent. So for nostalgia purposes a copy of the Lima approximation would be great. My recollection of Irish trains from back then is hazy. But my recollection of my OO gauge trains is still crystal clear.


This is the CIE Lima Class 33 respray. I think this is the actual object of my nostalgia.







I may decide not to 

Edited by gavino200
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My first British N scale train! A Dapol Class 33 and three MK1 coaches. Two of the coaches are new - the third is second hand and will be the practice coach. I need to open it up and see what kind of decoder it takes. 


My plan will be to practice masking and painting on the empty shells and just enjoy the British Rail train until I develop enough skill to turn it into an delightfully ugly, orange and black CIE train.









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I've made 2 attempts to purchase a Dapol HST through 2 different vendors and they both fell through, maybe I'm not meant to own a British train.  Well, actually I do have a Eurostar.  

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16 hours ago, serotta1972 said:

I've made 2 attempts to purchase a Dapol HST through 2 different vendors and they both fell through, maybe I'm not meant to own a British train.  Well, actually I do have a Eurostar.  


I got them from Hattons.co.uk. https://www.hattons.co.uk/


I've only bought a few items there, but I've had all good experiences so far. The site was recommended by @railsquid who I think has bought many trains there. 

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That's correct. I actually ordered from them a few times  in the 1980s during my childhood OO phase, which was the era when you posted in an order based off the price list in a model railway magazine together with a cheque, and waited up to 28 days for delivery.


18 hours ago, serotta1972 said:

I've made 2 attempts to purchase a Dapol HST through 2 different vendors and they both fell through, maybe I'm not meant to own a British train.  Well, actually I do have a Eurostar.  


Technically it's more of a TGV-based design anyway.


The Dapol HST seems to go through phases of unavailibility.  Which reminds me, I have a set 2nd picked up cheap as a non-runner from aforementioned Hattons which I need to restore to working order one day.

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