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Irish Narrow Gauge in 2009

Page history last edited by neil 15 years ago


A few photos from a trip around the North of Ireland retracing the routes of County Donegal and Lough Swilly systems, with detours to the Cavan and Leitrim, Clogher Valley and Ballycastle lines.

Although closed for at least 60 years, there is still plenty to see of the remains of these fascinating 3 foot lines - I hope they provide some inspiration for would be modellers.



Ballinamore Station

A remote little station on the Glenties branch of the County Donegal Railway, the fence in the foreground marks the edge of the overgrown platform.



Viaduct at Ballycastle Station

Ballycastle is a lovely little seaside town. The terminus of the 3 gauge foot line took a bit of finding, - with much clambering through damp undergrowth and over fences.

The station still retains its distinctive torpedo shaped water tower, but is now a yard for servicing lorries. I had to climb through holes in 3 fences to get in. Feeling guilty, I asked the what looked like  the man in charge for permission to take photos – no problem - I then apologised for entering through the fence –‘Sure, you won’t be the first one to do it’ was the convivial reply.

There is also a nice little overbridge and a surviving cast concrete milepost still in situ



Belturbet Station

Belturbet was a terminus of the Cavan and Leitrim railway, where it met the broad gauge Great Northern Railway. The station is partly restored, with some broad gauge track and vehicles.

This is the trans shipment shed, in the foreground were the 3 foot lines, the broad gauge the other side of the platform. You can just see the top of the Great Northern water tower


Cavan and Leitrim Van

Also in Belturbet, this rapidly decaying narrow gauge van – the end windows are a later addition, as is the yellow paint!



Cashelnagore Station

A wonderfully atmospheric location on the Burtonport  extension of The Lough Swilly Railway. Seems like just bog and mountains for miles, but according to the guys at the museum in Donegal, this station was surprisingly busy in its heyday .It has been bought by the secretary of the Donegal restoration society, and there is some repair work underway. That's our white van.



Owencarrow Viaduct

Also on the Burtonport extension, this is the famous viaduct where in 1925 four passengers were killed when a gust of wind blew part of the train over the parapet – none of my photos managed to capture the eeriness of this place.



Castlefinn Station

On the ‘main line’ of the Donegal Railway – coming from Derry. In the 1920's this became the first station in the Republic and a busy customs post. It is overgrown but relatively unspoilt and still very evocative. We ran into the other gentlemen, who are members of the well known Chester Model Railway Club - measuring up for their next project.



Platform Shelter at Mohill

Mohill station on the Cavan and Leitrim has been partly restored, and then allowed to decay again. This charming little shelter would make a nice model. The much overgrown trackbed and station building are to the right 

The preservation site at Dromod is the a few miles down the line. -  a marvellous and totally eccentric place.



Barnesmore Gap

A quick pencil sketch of the trackbed of the County Donegal Railway in Barnesmore gap. From this point fairly near the summit the line descends along a ledge on the the left hand side of the steep valley ahead until it reaches the outskirts of Donegal town a few miles away. It was raining BTW!





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