DROGHEDA 16 OCTOBER 2023
I decided to visit Drogheda this week and I booked a seat on the Enterprise and it took less than 40 minutes to travel from Connolly in Dublin to Drogheda. Unfortunately the return journey was not at all pleasant – even though I had reserved a seat the train was packed to the extent that it was close to impossible to board the train and of course it was impossible to get to my seat. I had to stand in the area between two carriages as did many many others. Apparently an earlier train had broken down and unfortunately this is not an infrequent event [over a period of about three years I have twice been on Enterprise trains that have failed].
Enterprise is the cross-border inter-city train service between Dublin Connolly in Ireland and Belfast Lanyon Place in Northern Ireland, jointly operated by Iarnród Éireann (IE) and NI Railways (NIR). It operates on the Belfast–Dublin railway line.
Each push-pull trainset consists of seven coaches and a 201 Class locomotive. The 28 carriages were delivered as four sets of seven but entered service as three sets of eight, with two locomotives from each operator. The coaches were manufactured by De Dietrich Ferroviaire, while the locomotives are from GM-EMD; ownership of the rolling stock is shared between both operators, with carriage maintenance by NIR and locomotives maintained by IE. The coaching stock is based on the Class 373 EMU stock used by Eurostar, with the interiors identical. The EMU stock is articulated and permanently coupled, but the Enterprise is ordinary coaching stock.
The service had suffered from a lack of reliability of the locomotives, which provide head end power to the train. Unlike CIÉ’s Dublin-Cork services, which operate with the locomotive operating with a generator control car that provides power for lighting and heating the train, the Enterprise fleet was only equipped with an ordinary control car, which had no power generating capability. This meant that the locomotive had to provide all the power for the train, both motive and generating. Extended operation in this mode caused damage, so four further locomotives were allocated to Enterprise from the CIÉ fleet. However, this still required locomotives to be used in HEP mode, so in May 2009 the Minister for Regional Development in Northern Ireland requested an estimate for the provision of generator functions for the existing rolling stock so that head-end power mode would no longer be needed.
In order to avoid further problems, a modified Mark 3 Generator van, formerly 7604, was introduced on Monday 10 September 2012. Three further such generator vans have since entered service.
The original Drogheda station, on the Dublin and Drogheda Railway line, opened on 26 May 1844. It was originally located about a quarter mile southeast of the current station. The passenger station was relocated when the first temporary Boyne Viaduct opened on 11 May 1853.
The former GNR(I) branch to Oldcastle (opened to Navan in 1850; throughout 1863) diverges from the Dublin-Belfast mainline immediately south of the station. This serves Irish Cement at Drogheda and Tara Mine near Navan.
The present station is located on a sharp curve on the southern approach to the Boyne Viaduct. Formerly there were three lines through the station between the ‘up’ and ‘down’ platforms, but when the station was refurbished in 1997, the up platform line was removed and the platform widened.
It was given the name MacBride on Sunday 10 April 1966 in commemoration of John MacBride, one of the executed leaders of the Easter Rising of 1916.