Belmond Grand Hibernian
Belmond Grand Hibernian
Belmond Grand Hibernian is the name of a luxury train service in Ireland. The service is operated by Belmond, the operator of several other luxury trains including the Venice-Simplon Orient Express. It was officially launched on 30 August 2016.
Belmond Grand Hibernian Route
The planned routes take in some of the history of rail transport in Ireland and are centred on Dublin. The service is timetabled to operate on a weekly schedule: a four-night tour of the south-west of Ireland during the week, then a two-night weekend tour to Northern Ireland. The "Taste of Ireland" two-night trip is to travel from Dublin to Belfast, Belfast to Waterford and back to Dublin, while the "Legends and Loughs" is to go from Dublin-Cork-Killarney-Galway-Westport and back over four nights. One night per week is planned to be available for maintenance and other activities. For the 2016 season, full six-night "Grand Tour of Ireland" journeys are scheduled to run Tuesday-to-Monday, as these would consist of both the south-westerly "Legends and Loughs" and northerly "Taste of Ireland" segments with a change-over for some passengers in Dublin on the Saturday of each week.
Belmond Grand Hibernian Carriages
The Grand Hibernian carriages are heavily renovated Mark 3's, originally built by British Rail Engineering Limited (BREL) for Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ, now Iarnród Éireann) from 1980 to 1989 and withdrawn in 2009. The carriages underwent extensive engineering redesign and overhaul by Assenta Ltd. and were refurbished in Kilmarnock, Scotland, in 2015 at a cost of £7 million. Internal fitting was carried out in Antrim, Northern Ireland, by Mivan. From the eleven Mark 3 carriages purchased, the train includes five sleeping cars, two restaurant cars for dining, and an observation car. Carriage names are based on the counties of Ireland, several taken from each of the provinces of Ireland. Each carriage bears a dark blue livery, 'Grand Hibernian' lettering, an enamel nameplate, and a 'Celtic knot'
Belmond Grand Hibernian Carriages
Name CIÉ number EVN Layout Double Twin Seats
Kildare 7104 55 60 89-87 103-7 Observation/bar all
Wexford 7169 55 60 88-87 102-0 Dining (casual) 24
Sligo 7171 55 60 88-87 101-2 Dining (formal) 20
Kerry 7137 55 60 76-87 005-2 Cabins (No 1) 4
Down 7149 55 60 76-87 004-4 Cabins (No 2) 1 3
Waterford 7129 55 60 76-87 003-8 Cabins (No 2) 1 3
Leitrim 7158 55 60 76-87 002-6 Cabins (No 2) 1 3
Fermanagh 7116 55 60 76-87 001-8 Cabins (No 2) 1 3
Donegal 7130 55 60 89-87 110-2 Crew accommodation
Carlow 7601 55 60 99-87 104-3 Generator
River Dodder / 216 Diesel locomotive
Abhainn na Dothra
(No 1) One twin-bed cabin in Kerry, adjacent to corridor connection, is designed to be wheelchair accessible with 700-millimetre wide access route to day-facility carriages.
(No 2) One family suite per carriage by connecting door between double and adjacent twin cabin.
Belmond Grand Hibernian Locomotives
IÉ 201 class number 216 River Dodder has been overhauled specifically for use on the Grand Hibernian, having been repainted into the same dark blue livery as the coaches. It was built in 1994 by General Motors but placed in storage at Inchicore in 2010 following an accident. However, it was decided between Irish Rail and Belmond that 216 was the most suitable candidate to become the Grand Hibernian's dedicated locomotive, and as such it was brought back into service. In a green undercoat, it worked several test runs and freight trains in 2016 before being repainted into the Grand Hibernian's blue livery.
A second 201 class locomotive is due to be converted for use with the Grand Hibernian in the event that 216 fails or is unavailable. It is speculated that this may be 225 River Deel.
Belmond Grand Hibernian Refurbishment
In December 2014 IÉ 201 Class locomotive number 229 moved the rake of eleven vehicles from Dublin Heuston Inchicore Works to Dublin North Wall sidings. The Mark 3 carriages in the rake were ordered as 7601, 7149, 7104, 7129, 7169, 7158, 7171, 7122, 7130, 7116 and 7137. Ten of the carriages were transported by road to Scotland in 2015 for refurbishment and painting. However, 7122 remained in Dublin and as of December 2016 is to be used for spare parts for the other vehicles in the set. It remains in Irish Rail's orange livery, with no refurbishment having taken place, in spite of it being purchased by Belmond.
By mid-2016, all of the coaches had returned to Ireland to be taken to Mivan Engineering, Antrim, to have their interiors fitted. After fitting out, they were all returned to Dublin, with the last coach (No. 7149 ''Down'') leaving Antrim on 30 July 2016. All carriages were unloaded at North Wall sidings and taken by rail to Inchicore, where they were assembled into a complete train in preparation for test runs.
Belmond Grand Hibernian In Service
Throughout summer 2016, several test runs took place prior to the train entering service. The first of these took place on 10 August 2016 behind 216, which ran from Dublin to Thurles and back. The first test runs to reach Northern Ireland took place on 28 August 2016, when 201 Class No. 233 (In common user livery) stood in for 216 for a return trial from Dundalk to Belfast York Road. The final trial occurred on 29 August 2016 with 216, which ran from Dublin to Portarlington and back.
The Grand Hibernian was officially launched on 30 August 2016, with Irish Rail Intercity-liveried 226 hauling the inaugural train out of Heuston station at 1420. The final train of the season operated on 24 October, and on 26 October a return trip from Dublin to Thurles was arranged for the Irish Rail staff involved.
On 15 April 2017, the Grand Hibernian was trialled south of Connolly station as far as Gorey.
The 2017 season began on 25 April. On Saturday 29, the train ran to Gorey instead of Belfast as normally scheduled due to engineering works on the Belfast - Dublin line.
Belmond Grand Hibernian Overview
Belmond Grand Hibernian Franchise(s): Railtour Operator
Belmond Grand Hibernian Start Date: 30 August 2016-present
Belmond Grand Hibernian Fleet Size:
10 × Mark 3 carriages
1 201 Class diesel locomotive
Belmond Grand Hibernian Stations Called At: Dublin
Belmond Grand Hibernian Parent Company: Belmond Ltd.