Harland and Wolff - Shipbuilding and Engineering Works

Before the Second World War, the two most progressive British companies working on diesel rail traction were Armstrong Whitworth of Newcastle and Harland & Wolff of Belfast. Regrettably, their efforts are almost forgotten today, but the fact is that they had main line diesels running more than a decade before the LMS Railway’s pioneer No. 10000 and were 20 or more years ahead of the companies which became well known as a result of the BR Modernisation Plan, such as English Electric and Brush.

Before World War Two, it started to develop diesel railway locomotives. The aim was to broaden its market and increase sales of power units.

Had the war not occurred, H&W might have become a major player in diesel locomotive construction, but instead the rise in shipbuilding and armaments work meant it had to abandon its railway initiative.

As a result, Harland & Wolffs entire locomotive output amounted to just eight complete locomotives and spanned a period of only five years, from 1933 to 1938. Most of the products were broad gauge; three small locos and one large being supplied directly to Northern Ireland.



(Left and Above)Loco showing S R. lettering on the side, suggesting this is the one built for Sudan Railways, with a smaller 3ft 6inch gauge.

(Right) Built in 1933, order no. 8252, by Harland & Wolff. It is an 1-B° locomotive for use on the Ballynahich branch of the B&CDR (Belfast & County Down Railway). Rail guage 5ft 3in. Later passed on to Ulster Transport Authority and then sold back to H&W in 1951. Scrapped in 1969.

The engine was a Harland B&W 4 cylinder 270 bhp at 850 rpm.
Harland & Wolff generator and two Laurence Scott traction motors. Length 28ft 7½in, wheelbase 12ft. Weight in working order 33,2 tons. Top speed 50 mph.


(Left) LMS 0-6-0 shunter the only one built to ever to work in England and entered service in February 1935 allocated to Bolton. It had hydraulic transmission and powered by a 150hp Burmeister & Wain 2 stroke engine. It was sold to Northern Counties Committee of the LMS in Ireland in 1943 and had to be converted to their gauge of 5 feet 3 inches and lasted until 1965.

GREAT NORTHERN RAILWAY (IRELAND) "V" CLASS 4-4-0 No.85 "MERLIN" - Extensive renovation at Harland and Wolff 1977-1982

DIESEL ENGINES FOR RAILWAY TRACTION - Two types of H & W diesel engines where specially developed for rail traction service.