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Irish Narrow Gauge Railways

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by lynbarn, May 27, 2016.

  1. Felix Holt

    Felix Holt Member

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    I was thinking of the W&SVR's plans for a steam loco in the future. One wonders where that's going to come from? Perhaps they need to pay a visit to the Kolin works in the Czech Republic and see if they can do a 914mm gauge O&K replica? ;)
     
  2. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    allegedly is a good word...I heard it from the horses mouth, but still i'm not sure if it will happen
     
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  3. Masterbrew

    Masterbrew New Member

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    From the outside, it appears to me that there are a number of small schemes, in remote locations and with minimal resources (financial and manpower). Might a more practical option be to combine all of these into an Irish Narrow Gauge project, based somewhere that would attract passing trade? This would comprise a museum for unrestored and non-running exhibits, to keep them under cover, a workshop for restorations and a running line, ideally with the potential to go up to 8-10 miles to give a reasonable ride as well. From Andrew's post, I make it that there could be eight locos plus the Scottish loco that could be allocated for this idea plus railcars. As to location, restoring a section of original route would be preferable - would Cork to Blarney or Derry/Londonderry towards Letterkenny be feasible? Alternatively, there may be a section of former branch line that could be relaid. The West Coast lines may be romantic but seem a long way away from the prime tourist areas - their remoteness was the reason for being NG in the first place!
     
  4. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    Seems logical until you remember that the USP original narrow gauge lines have is that they are original narrow gauge lines, with original locos.

    You also need to appreciate how big Ireland is. Belfast is opposite Scotland roughly whilst Cork is opposite Cardiff.

    Both Tralee and Moyasta Junc are on the Wild Atlantic Way ,(In both cases it passes the gate) the main tourist route (allegedly) and so should attract loads of tourists. Tralee isn't remote, it's the County Town.Unfortunately Tralee is moribund and Moyasta is as unlike a UK preserved line as you could get. Don't forget that between the two there is the Listowel and Ballybunion and the three together could be marketed as the Great Little Trains of Ireland.

    It's not really about a line for enthusiasts, it's about a tourist attraction. Neither has achieved this thus far.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
  5. Felix Holt

    Felix Holt Member

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    Of course, the W&SVR is not an original NG line. Nevertheless, it is the longest NG line currently in operation at about 8.5 miles. It is very much a tourist line, and so the need for steam is to attract tourists, not to reflect the history of the line. Get a brand new one to avoid lots of time in restoration. Go to Kolin who (a year or two ago) priced their locos at up to 160K euros. Add some more for development costs, you have 200K euros, as opposed to around 500K pounds for something like Lyn.

    You just need 200 people who can put in a grand euros each!! :D

    http://www.1loco.eu/EN.index.php
     
  6. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    i'd be all in favour of W&SVR doing that, just not by taking original locos away from original lines.
     
  7. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Active Member

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    Reading General sums it all up nicely. The existing schemes are all one-man bands or not much more, except possibly W&SV and Stradbally. All are very much local and may not transfer their interest elsewhere.
    Personally I think some consolidation is the only way forward. Tralee and Giant's Causeway are good tourist locations and with existing infrastructure, as well as W&SV. There are also a couple of Donegal setups in more touristy parts. But all of these locations are very sparsely populated indeed in UK terms, and make Tywyn and surroundings look like Manhattan. Remember how low the population is across the whole island and how concentrated in Dublin and Belfast areas.
    It is tragic that at present there are locos at Tralee, Bushmills, Dromod (and Alan Keefs) and Donegal doing nothing.
    However the locos at Cultra are in excellent hands and fine where they are. Given how few Irish locos survived at all, Cultra has a good collection.
     
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  8. ghost

    ghost Well-Known Member

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    Amen to that! Well said!


    Keith
     
  9. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Active Member

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    Dromod is a viable day trip from Dublin via public transport. If any of them should attract numbers (of volunteers and visitors) it's that one. I suspect that the problem is that the locals just aren't especially interested in steam railways in the way Brits (and indeed Germans and a few others) seem to be, combined with the fact that Irish tourism is sold on the basis of Ireland being a rugged wilderness full of Guinness and folk music, enthusiasts of which are probably therefore to be found mainly either up a mountain or in a pub, rather than riding on trains.
    On the day I visited the C&L at Dromod (must be 15 years ago now) the train out of Dublin was rammed full of people going to wherever-that-line-goes; hardly any of them got out at Dromod though.

    By the way on the subject of 'spare' 3' gauge locos there are several on the Isle of Man not doing anything useful...
     
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  10. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Active Member

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    I've never been, but on the basis of what I have heard the setup was /is of interest only to enthusiasts: not at all scenic, no original locos, no regular services, not very family/visitor friendly facilities... What else is there to attract tourists to Dromod?

    By the same token the UK is largely advertised overseas on the basis of the Royal Family, London fashions, whisky and Harry Potter - although at least the last features a steam train! It is domestic tourists that are needed principally.


    I think you would have the same experience at Keighley, Wroxham, Tywyn, Porthmadog, Kidderminster, Bodmin Parkway.... It is not necessarily the railways easiest to reach from London which are thriving in England (mostly) but those in areas with good numbers of people within day trip range, a big enough population base for volunteers, and domestic tourist areas.


    Careful, that's fighting talk...
     
  11. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    Personally I despair of anything being developed in Ireland, other than what we have (thank God for them!) unless a dynamic enthusiast arose to galvanise people. I can't see it happening at all. Someone said the other day about ex-pat Brits being mush in evidence at W&SVR, very telling. Ireland largely doesn't have the same volunteer ethos, probably the Wartime Spirit lingering
     
  12. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Active Member

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    You're probably right. If the line could be extended so it went somewhere it might help, but I've no idea if that is even feasible (or if there is any decent scenery further on). When I went they were hoping to extend but it involved crossing a road and nothing has happened.

    Doesn't explain the lack of volunteers though; think that's a cultural thing. People in Ireland don't tend to lovingly restore old houses either, they buy a plot of land and build a new one. If the C&L had the numbers backing it that many of the welsh NG lines do it would surely have got further than it has even without enough visitors.
     
  13. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    meanwhile at the other end of the Cavan and Leitrim line is Belturbet. This is the 5'3" platform as was with a diesel and a couple of coaches but the narrow gauge platform still exists the other end of the station. I've no idea if a running line is feasible here, but there evidently is some local interst Belturbet_20060707_0014_CC.jpg
     
  14. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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    used to be like this c7938017-01c5-4f02-95bc-c4ec1b2b6a7f.1.jpg
     
  15. Reading General

    Reading General Part of the furniture

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  16. ghost

    ghost Well-Known Member

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    I don't think the Belturbet group ever had any ambitions for running - just to collect a few railway items to enhance the conference centre. They used to have a GNR(I) carriage which had unfortunately mostly collapsed on itself and it's now used as a flat after the remaining body was removed. They had applied for a grant for restoration/rebuilding, but I'm not sure what happened to that proposal. As also shown in RG's link above, the only known remaining C&L wagon is also based there, but again there's been no news for years so I'm not sure of the current status.


    Keith
     
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  17. MuzTrem

    MuzTrem Member

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    I sometimes wonder whether it is a political thing as well. For example, I have heard that in Ireland country houses tend to be left abandoned because they are associated with the old Anglo-Irish aristocracy, and hence with oppressive British rule. Not sure how true that is, though.

    In Britain, country branch lines were viewed as the lifeblood of their communities. In Ireland, there was a lot of resentment because lines like the C&L were funded through guarantee schemes - i.e. the landowners put up the capital, but local ratepayers then had to fork out to pay guaranteed returns on their investment. Perhaps some of that bitterness still lingers? That is only a theory though, I have never had a chance to talk to anyone in Ireland about it!
     
  18. Masterbrew

    Masterbrew New Member

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  19. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Active Member

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    Not sure wartime spirit has much to do with it. Unless we have data to show that in Ireland organisations such as the Red Cross struggle for volunteers then the sweeping statement is a bit bold. I used to work in humanitarian aid, in which field Irish people are very well represented.
    In any case, is volunteering at a heritage railway really a selfless act of service, ot something more self-indulgent? How much do many of us do it to serve the public, and how much so we get to play with the trains...
    In Britain nostalgia is big, mostly rose-tinted and whimsical. In Ireland as mentioned above it may be more bittersweet. The supposed "golden ages" of railways in Britain (19th century, just before WW1, 1930s, 1950s) were all period of severe deprivation, civil strife and depopulation in Ireland. Irish railways had no golden age, they were always struggling. Ireland was never an industrial place, so railways paid less part in national life. There were very few commuters, for example, and even the main lines had very few trains. There were never more than a few hundred locos in the whole island. And, at the end of the day, there are just remarkably few people around anyway!
     
  20. Avonside2

    Avonside2 New Member

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    Hi This is Micheal Kennedy from the C&L in Dromod , I have been 25 years in Dromod and for a small group of Enthusiasts
    we have achieved a lot, But the people on the ground to support a railway are not there . our plans were for to build a line to Mohill,
    which is 5 miles away , where the station is sitting there , Waiting for a Train to Return. We have 2 no 3ft Gauge Steam engines , Dromod and Nancy, not in Steam
    Nancy is with Alan Keef in Ross on Wye we have spent €£125000 to date on the Restoration
    Since the last 8 years we have went through a huge recession , and all we could do is Survive without Spending Money,
    and if it was not for the few of us there would be Nothing here, Someone asked what else there is to attract visitors to Dromod,
    We are on the Shannon , with a Beautiful Harbour , There are four Restaurants With B&B attached, we are on the main Railway line from Dublin to Sligo
    The R220 the Main Road To Sligo and the North west, so If your interested In our Railway Heritage we also Have Sean Browne's Railway Museum in Castlerea,
    which is 40 minutes away, Arigna Mines Museum is Just 30 minutes away they have some Railway artefacts as well, also just an Hour away you will find Headhunters Railway Museum in a Barber shop in Enniskillen well worth a visit, hope this information is of Value to you, the first pic is Dromod station Restored. the Second is Mohill Station taken today
    ST835837.JPG 20170109_125508.jpg www.cavanandleitrim.com
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2017

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