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Irish Railway Preservation

The IRISH TRACTION GROUP (ITG) was formed in 1989 with the aim of preserving at least one example of every Irish diesel locomotive class still in existence at the time. The ultimate objective of the group is to restore their collection of locomotives to full working order for enthusiast specials. Amongst their collection of ten locos includes two IR 001 (or A) Class locos which briefly returned to traffic in the late 1990s, as well as preserving the only surviving example of the 101 (B) Class Sulzer engines, B103. Two of their locos, Nos.A39 & 146 are now operating at the Downpatrick Railway, Co.Down.

 

The DOWNPATRICK & COUNTY DOWN RAILWAY (DCDR) are currently the operators of the only preserved standard gauge railway in Ireland. The railway was formed in 1985 with the intention of rebuilding the former BCDR branch from Downpatrick to Ardglass, which closed as long ago as 1950, and it is quite an achievement that so far track has been relaid from Downpatrick out towards the former BCDR mainline from Belfast to Newcastle, near Inch Abbey. A museum, station and railway workshops have now been established at the railway, and train rides are offered to the public during parts of the year. The BCDR have a unique fleet of engines, ranging from former CIE E&G class diesels, and GSWR's 0-6-0 tank engine, number 90(under restoration at Whitehead by RPSI) dating from 1875, along with a fleet former wooden body coach stock, such as the former BCDR Holywood railmotor car. For more info on this railway visit their website.

 

Probably one of the first large scale of Irish railway rolling stock preservation attempts was undertaken thankfully by the RAILWAY PRESERVATION SOCIETY OF IRELAND (RPSI). The RPSI was formed in 1964 to preserve and restore Irish steam locos and other rolling stock to full working order. The RPSI have achieved this in everyway, preserving and operating steam locomotives dating back as long ago as 1879, such as GSWR's J15 0-6-0s, right up to operating one of Ireland's last steam locos, such as the WT 2-6-4 number 4, built in 1947 at Derby, and preserving the last convential steam loco delivered to Ireland, 0-6-4 tank engine Lough Erne, along with a wide range of wooden bodied stock. At their operating base at Whitehead north of Belfast on the Larne line, other steam locos await overhaul and restoration. The RPSI operate steam train excursions all year round on the Irish rail system for the public and enthusiasts alike, some of which feature on this site. For more info and steam train dates visit their website.

 
HELLS KITCHEN BAR

You would have to be crazy if you haven't visited the IRISH RAILWAY MUSEUM located in HELLS KITCHEN BAR in Castlerea, Co.Roscommon. Although this museum may be small, it houses the largest and most fantastic Irish railway memorabilia! If that wasn't enough, the bar is the only one in the world that houses a full size locomotive, this being former CIE A Class Crosley loco A55(later 055), built in 1955 at Dukinfield Works, Manchester. The loco has been restored in its second livery of CIE green with white stripe, minus its engine, which is replaced by a wonderful seating area in the engine room, with the cab controls at either end. The museum has everything, ranging from lamps, station nameboards, signalling equipment, railway documents, brilliant archive photographs, the lot! Sean Browne, the owner, adds something new every year to the growing collection, the latest being a rail bike, dating from 1847! As you can gather, there is something from every era, 1950s diesel loco to 1840s rail bike. The museum is a must for those interested in Irish railways, and railways in general. For more information, on the collection and location of this great little museum, see the website.

 

IRISH RAILWAY RECORD SOCIETY

The IRISH RAILWAY RECORD SOCIETY (IRRS) was formed in 1946, and can keep you up to date on the current railway scene, for over fifty years, through its membership journal, the IRRS have recorded every change on Irish railways and other notable events. Opposite Heauston Station, Dublin, the IRRS HQ holds and preserves a vast collection of artefacts relating to Irish railways, including documents and archive photographs. A library is open to members during the evenings and regular meetings and slide shows are arranged annually. Not only that, the IRRS also arrange regular outings to places of railway interest. See their website for membership details and events.

 

The WATERFORD & SUIR VALLEY RAILWAY is a 6km narrow gauge railway at Kilmeaden, Co.Waterford, which utilises the former trackbed of the standard gauge Waterford to Dungarvan rail line, closed completely in 1982. The track runs mostly along the picturesque banks of the River Suir between Kilmeaden and Waterford offering panoramic views of the River Suir, rolling farmland and mountains. Their operating base is located at the former Kilmeaden Station, and train rides are provided during the summer months, which are well worth a visit .The loco utilised is a restored Simplex 60sp diesel locomotive with a Perkins diesel engine and two mock Edwardian style carriages. The company have ambitious plans for the future, which includes extending the line into Waterford city and developing a railway museum at Kilmeaden.

 

The COUNTY DONEGAL RAILWAY RESTORATION LTD have done a fine job in preserving former County Donegal Railway stock, which includes the 2-6-4T No.5 Drumboe (currently at the RPSI), and a range of former CDR coaches and goods wagons. Their heritage centre is located at the former CDR station in Donegal Town, and contains a museum and a wealth of artifacts from the CDR. Outside the restored station is some of the CDR stock, as well as a small miniature railway. The society aims to reopen a short stretch of the former CDR line which closed as long ago as 1959, for the preserved stock to operate on. The society has a growing collection of photos of the old railways as well as original documents, film footage, various artifacts and memorabilia of all types, most of these are on display at the heritage centre which is well worth a visit. See their website for more information, and the vast photographic archive of the narrow gauge lines in Co.Donegal.

 

The FINTOWN NARROW GAUGE RAILWAY is the only narrow gauge line currently operating in Co.Donegal and is based at the small village at Fintown, nestling deep in the heart of spectacular mountainous scenery. Fintown was originally located CDR's Glenties branch from Stranolar which closed completed in 1955. Today a small section of this line(just over 2 miles) has been reopened at Fintown and it is a unique three mile journey right along the shores of the scenic Loch Finn. The reopening on the 3rd June 1995 of this first section of the Fintown - Glenties railway restoration project commemorated the centenary of the original opening in 1895. Rolling stock used is an ex-mining Simplex 102T loco and rather unusually three Charleroix Belgian passenger tramcars! The railway also acquired former CDR railcar No.18, more accurate for the route indeed. For more information about the train times and history of the Glenties branch, see their website.

 

The WEST CLARE RAILWAY have reopened a short section of the former WCR narrow gauge line from Moyasta Jnc, which had been closed since 1961. Extensions are in progress to continue all the way back to Kilkee. Moyasta Jnc station also now houses the WCR museum, displaying many pictures and artifacts of the line. The station building, platforms, and newly constructed signal cabin have been restored also. The railway is currently closed pending the completion of the line's extensions.

 

The GIANTS CAUSEWAY & BUSHMILLS TRAMWAY operates on the former trackbed of the 3-foot gauge Giants Causeway Electric Tram which ran between Portrush and the famous tourist attraction, and closed as long ago as 1949. In 1996 a scheme was proposed to reopen part of the line as a steam narrow gauge line, and in 2002 this as achieved when the line was rebuilt from Bushmills to a new station built at the famous Causeway. Rolling stock for the line came from the closed Shane's Castle railway, the motive power being the former Born na Mona steam loco Shane and the former British Aluminium 0-4-0T once based in Larne. The HQ of the line, where also the engine sheds is located is at the Bushmills Station. The line runs for 2 miles along the scenic coastline of the North Antrim plateau and train rides are provided year round.

 

Headhunters Barbers Shop & Railway Museum

HEADHUNTERS BARBERS SHOP & RAILWAY MUSEUM is a small railway museum established in 2002 within a barber shop in Enniskillen town, Co.Fermanagh. With the help from railway employees and enthusiasts the museum has to be credited for preserving what's left of the bordering counties lines of the former Great Northern and Sligo Leitrim Railway around Enniskillen, as well as the narrow gauge Clogher Valley line .The fascinating historical exhibition lovingly recreates working environments such as the General Managerís Office, Station Booking Office and Railway Signal Cabin, and this is complemented by a remarkable collection of railway memorabilia including uniforms, signalling instruments, signs, lamps, tableware, timetables, tickets and photographs from the three railway companies. Whilst Enniskillen Station is long gone, this little museum certainly keeps the spirit of these former lines alive in the town, and is well worth a visit for any rail enthusiast.

 

ULSTER FOLK & TRANSPORT MUSEUM

The ULSTER FOLK & TRANSPORT MUSEUM, located at Cultra, in the Belfast suburbs, houses the largest collection of preserved Irish locomatives and stock, aswell as a vast amount of artefact displays, ranging from signalling, history of Irish railways, railway documents and former promotion railway posters, basically everything you'd expect. Amongst the large variety standard and narrow gauge stock includes the only survivor of CIE's three 800 Class 4-6-0s , this been No.800Meabhe, built in 1939 by the GSR at Inchicore, being the largest locomotive ever to run in Ireland. Other exhibits include CDR's railcar No.1, first convential diesel railcar in the British Isles, the LNWR liveried Dundalk & Greenore coach, as well as the only preserved BCDR locomotive. Most of the major Irish railway companies are covered eg. GNR, CDR ect.. Also one of the GNR's Hill of Howth trams(No.9), as well as the famous Fintona horse tram. That's only a taste of what's there, there's a lot more of course that is too long to list here! See the website for more details.

 

 

Message Boards/Campaigns/Modeling

IRISH RAILWAY NEWS, the Informed online resource for all matters relating to Irish railways, ranging from the latest news on locos, railcars/DMUs, the preservation movements, along with discussions on the future of Irish Railways, such as the Luas & Metro. There's also a dedicated section on Irish Rail pictures and websites.

 

NEW IRISH LINES, For over ten years, this little publication has provided help and advice for anyone interested in modelling Irish railways, broad and narrow gauge, historical or modern, fine-scale or popular. It is now published twice yearly (May and November), usually as a 30-page magazine, depending on what subscribers send in. Contributions, on modelling and prototype information, book and kit reviews are always welcome, and we are happy to include request for information from members in future issues. For subscription details, and specimen back numbers, please contact: Alan O'Rourke at
A.J.ORourke@sheffield.ac.uk
72 Sandford Grove Road
Nether Edge
Sheffield S7 1RR
England

 

WEST=ON=TRACK is a campaign group which have highlighted the importance of the reopening of the Western Rail Corridor (WRC) from Limerick to Sligo. Already work, with governmental approval, have started on the Ennis-Athenry section, and will hopefully progress to Tuam and Claremorris, ,and the Collooney section being preserved for future reopening. Some of the stations on the WRC feature on this site, as well as the recent track clearances along the route. The WRC Limerick-Claremorris line section had closed to passengers in 1975, but remained in use for specials and heavy freight traffic until the mid 1990s. For further details and pictures of the route, which includes a fascinating photographic record of the stations on the 'Burma Rd' section shortly after closure in the mid 1970s, see the website.

 

HERITAGE RAILWAY as the name implies is a new railway heritage group aiming to set up a preserved standard gauge railway line in Ireland. The group also plans to establish a storage & maintenance site for any future preserved rolling stock and historical equipment. For details on the project as it evolves visit the website.

 

 

Irish Railway DVD/Films

Markle Associates

MARKLE ASSOCIATES is one of the few if any film makers who regularly produce fascinating DVDs showing the Irish railway scene from the 1960s to the present, using both contemporary and archive footage from early cine era through to the 1980s and 1990s. Several of the films cover the majority of the Irish railway network, featuring many lost passenger and freight trains, including great footage of lines and stations since closed in the past 30 years, including such locations as Loughrea and the 'Burma Rd' line in Co.Mayo. There are also some films dedicated to the Northern Ireland Railway network, covering a period from NIR's formation in 1967 to the present. There is also a separate film devoted to once intensively operated sugar beet trains in the south of Ireland. The films feature all of the primary locomotive classes of Irish railways including the infamous 001 and C201 Class locomotives. The films provide a great insight into the past operations of CIE, later Irish Rail, and Northern Ireland Railways, as well as including informative commentary to those unfamiliar with Irish railways.

 

 

 

 

Irish Railway Photo Sites

Website URL Youtube Channel
Metrovick's Irish Railway Photos http://www.metrovick.com/index.html http://www.youtube.com/user/metrovick001
The Wanderers Photos http://thewandererphotos.smugmug.com/ http://www.youtube.com/user/thewanderersutube

Transport Scene Ireland

http://transportsceneireland.smugmug.com/ http://www.youtube.com/user/csalem

Steve Parker's Transport Photos

http://www.flickr.com/photos/steve75c/ http://www.youtube.com/user/kurleeone

2810 Gricer Transport Photos

http://www.freewebs.com/2810gricer/  

Finbarr's Railway Photographs

http://www.flickr.com/photos/35835471@N00  

Fred's Railway Photos

http://www.flickr.com/photos/be216cd1/ http://www.youtube.com/user/216CD1

Chris Playfair Photography

http://chrisplayfairphotography.weebly.com/index.html  

Joe Bloggs Irish Railway Photos

http://www.flickr.com/photos/joebloggsrailwayphotos/  

Tracking The Light

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/ http://www.youtube.com/channel/

Irish Railway Models

http://irishrailwaymodels.info/  

The Station World

http://stationworld.web.fc2.com/index.html  
Hidden-Dublin http://www.hidden-dublin.com/railfans/railfans01.html  
Project Mapping http://www.projectmapping.co.uk/rail_maps_diagrams.html  
Charlotte Kelly Paintings http://www.charlottekelly.com/home  
Jouef HDI - Irish Railway Models http://www.freewebs.com/jouefhdi/  
Studio Scale Models http://www.studio-scale-models.com/  

If you wish to have your Irish railway website listed here, please use the email contact below

ciaran@eiretrains.com

 
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