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Three Decades Ago.........

The 9th of June 1994 was a significant day for Irish Aviation, one that goes down in history and remains a remarkable achievement. Irish Rail (CIE as it was then), was investing in a fleet of new diesel locomotives consisting of 32 General Motors 201's, each rated at 3,200 hp. The delivery date was running behind schedule and so to allow for crew training and familiarisation, it was decided to transport the first loco by air from London, Ontario Canada to Dublin Airport.

Enter Antonov Airlines - The task was taken up by the Ukrainian heavy-lift airline using one of their An-124-100.s.

The 109 ton loco was loaded onto the aircraft using a multi-axle bogie, through the An's open nose. Having performed technical stops for refueling at Montreal, Gander and Reykjavik, the heavy-weight landed at Dublin Airport on the 9th of June 1994 after 12 hours.

With the remainder of engines reaching our shores by traditional shipping methods, the loco went on to be used on the Dublin - Cork and Dublin - Belfast lines, the type becoming a familiar sight the length and breath of the country. During the delivery flight, Antonov chalked up another Guinness World Record, for transporting by air the heaviest payload (plus equipment) of an impressive 146 tons.

Image by Progressive Rail

Image by Antonov Airlines


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