IFI ammonia train

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    eastawat's picture


    53° 21' 1.764" N, 6° 29' 50.388" W
    Joined: 30 Oct 2019

    Presenting the IFI ammonia train, as operated by Irish Rail until the collapse of IFI in the early 2000s.

    This was a pretty massive undertaking, as it consists of six separate models: a locomotive, three ammonia tankers and two barrier wagons. The diesel is powered by two Circuit Cubes motors, although as yet they're untested because I barely have enough track to hold this lot.

    I'd been wanting for a while to design an Irish Rail diesel of some sort, in the old orange livery. I considered a few options:

    The 001, old 201, 113 and 121 classes, which I quickly dismissed as they're so old I've never seen them
    The 141 and 181 class, with distinctive narrow mid-sections - too narrow for a battery box
    The GM 201 class, still in service, but with 6 wheels on each bogie instead of 4, making them very difficult to work with for train motors and difficult to scale to a length short enough to navigate standard Lego curves

    I settled on a 141 class, using circuit cubes to get around the space issue - I figured worst case if it doesn't work out I can buy an old 9v train motor and electrify my plastic track with copper tape.

    It wasn't possible to get the thin upper white stripe to continue along between the windows unfortunately, due to the use of some SNOT techniques, and I decided not to tackle the challenge of a brick built CIE logo - it's been done before but I think it would be impossible to do right without severely plagiarising Dfenz's design!

    Having settled on a diesel, the cargo of ammonia seemed fitting. I owe my Irishness to IFI, as my parents moved here in 1990 when my dad took a job at Marino Point. This highly recognisable and sometimes controversial train transported ammonia between IFI's three factories at Marino Point, Arklow, and Belfast.

    Here's a closer look at everything individually:

    For the ammonia tankers, it was the first time I've ever found the Lego colour "bright light orange" useful - it looks just right for the stripe. Supposedly the chassis was dark green but these things were constantly so dirty that it's hard to verify that from photos.

    And here's a barrier wagon - these carried water which acted as a defence against spillages of the highly flammable ammonia in the event of a derailment. These were also rarely clean enough to look green in photos, but it looks nice so I decided to persevere with the colour despite the more limited part availability!

    There are more photos on flickr - the photos above are linked.

    This is my last train for the foreseeable future - now it's time to focus on city building and having somewhere to actually run the trains!