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Thread: Irish Railway News 1957-60

  1. #1
    Senior Member jhb171achill's Avatar
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    Irish Railway News 1957-60

    Another dose of nostalgia. I have endeavoured to pick out bits likely to be of most use to modellers, but the originals are well worth a read. This post is again in two parts; here's the first:

    In 1957 the "big talk" was of the draconian GNR / SLNCR closures. I often thought a layout based on the twilight period of CIE goods / mail working on the Dundalk - Clones - Cavan - Mullingar sections 1957-9 would make an interesting and unusual basis for a layout - as, indeed, would any goods-only line, but that's just my thoughts. Certainly, models based around major centres like Dundalk, Drogheda or Mullingar might well have lifting trains appearing in them, setting off down a weed strewn track to one side, to go off "lifting"!

    From July to the closure at the end of September, a special diesel express was laid on to Gt Victoria St, Belfast, using a new 700-class (BUT) railcar hauling an elderly wood-panelled brake third. There's an interesting one to model!

    The winding down of the narrow gauge continued, with only the CDRJC and the two CIE lines still in existence. The first was to succumb at the end of December 1959, though occasional goods trains operated over a short distance until 3rd February 1960, while of the other two the Cavan and Leitrim succumbed earlier in the year, steam-operated to the last. Sufficient photos exist in books to give a modeller enough information, and the same probably applies to the West Clare section - the diesel locos and railcars on which received both the dark green and light green - snail-less and unlined in both cases. The C & L had ended up with one attractively painted coach in particular - a former T & D third was turned out in light green and looked very well.

    But other closures were in the offing. The Inny Jct - Clones - Dundalk sections and all appendages were closed from 1.1.60 along with the Kenmare and Ballinrobe branches, both steam worked to the last. Apart from a brand new 121 deputising for a failed steam loco on a (IRRS?) special, Ballinrobe never saw a diesel; nor did Kenmare as far as can be ascertained. Lifting gangs were beavering away on the Tullow branch, already closed.

    Inchicore continued to turn out new carriages of "laminate" style, and four wheel "tin vans", as per Mayner's superb kit. These had initially been silver, but it seems that after about 1960 they were turned out in light green, older ones being repainted thus. In August 1959 six ex-GN locos were transferred to Broadstone, mostly seeing use on Dun Laoghaire Pier trains. All steam engines based in the area were to end up at Broadstone as the end of steam drew nearer.

    "Stray" locos and rolling stock were of interest, in the same way that the travels of NIR's GM 112 (or 88888880000112 or whatever they call it now!!) were tracked in recent years when she was on loan to IE. In particular, former GNR stock was now venturing onto the CIE system, and green paint and flying snails were appearing on ex-GN coaches, always the lighter shade by this stage, of course. CIE never repainted any GNR steam locos, though the unique German diesel got the green, and later all-black. GN "BUT" sets were regularly used on a new Amiens Street to Arklow working, and another GN AEC set appeared regularly on a Wexford turn. A wooden-bodied GN coach, still in GNR brown, crest and all, was seen in and around Cork, in particular WEST Cork, and on 18th September 1959 the Bantry train had a silver "C" hauling a silver laminate compo, a green "Park Royal", a GNR compo and two GNR vans - all three in GNR livery. Meanwhile, the Loughrea branch set had the usual elderly dark green ex-MGWR brake third and a clerestorey-roofed GNR compo, hauled by an elderly MGWR 0.6.0. This cross-pollination of CIE and the GNR did not stop at rolling stock - a signal box lever frame from Monaghan was installed at Cobh. GNR wagons could be seen all ov er the IE system, and CIE ones were already no stranger to Belfast, Derry and even Larne.

    An E401 class loco was trialled on the Courtmacsherry line in Septembe 1959 and it was reported that this would "probably" provide motive power for beet trains that winter. It was not to be: such traffic remained in the hands of ex-MGWR "J26" class 0.6.0Ts and ex GSWR "J30" class locos 90 and 100, until the line closed a few years later.

    The UTA continued scrapping steam engines. Two ex-BCDR tank engines were among those auctioned off as late as 1959, but production of new MPD railcars and upgrading of existing ones was ongoing. Many were converted from existing steam-hauled coaches, and in late '59 several were turned out in a pale blue-tinted green instead of standard brunswick green. Roofs of these were left, CIE-style, in unpainted aluminium which (as anyone in Inchicore could have told them) would look filthy after an extremely short time in use!

    GAA traffic in 1959 continued to provide statistics which would have modern railway operators reaching for valium. On 5th July,thirteen trains travelled to Navan for a Dublin-v-Louth game. 7 came from Dublin via Drumree, 2 from Dundalk, and one each from Killester, Ardee, Drogheda and Oldcastle. The match was drawn and on 23rd July a similar exercise was undertaken for the replay. A few days earlier a match at Clones resulted in specials arriving there from Mullingar, Monaghan, Dundalk and Dublin (via Dundalk). No less than 16 trains went to Killarney on 2nd August, along with 11 to Tullamore. On 26th July the Munster final brought no less than 25 specials to Thurles, as follows:

    6 from Cork
    3 Waterford
    2 Dublin
    2 Clonmel
    1 Annacotty
    1 Dungarvan via Waterford
    1 Wexford via Campile
    1 Grange
    1 Carrick-on-Suir
    1 Mallow
    1 Blarney
    1 Limerick Jct
    1 Tralee
    1 Cahir
    1 Newcastle West via Limerick
    1 Cappagh via Mallow

    September 6th's hurling final at Croke Park brought 27 specials to Dublin, while the footbal on September 26th had 30 specials to Dublin.

    The West Cork's seaside excursions in the final years of the line's life in the very late 50's / early 60s are well known. However CIE also operated seaside day trips over other routes, in some cases off otherwise quite obscure branch lines, thus:

    Ennis-Lahinch
    Drogheda-Laytown
    Cork-Courtmacsherry (as mentioned)
    Loughrea-Galway
    Tuam-Galway
    Ballaghaderreen-Sligo
    Thurles-Waterford (for Tramore)
    Castleisland or Tralee - Fenit
    In addition, heavy traffic on Dublin and Cork suburban routes served similar purposes.

    On 23.8.59 several trains operated along these lines which would not prove to be much other than one-offs: Cork to Bantry and also to Clonakilty (for Inchydoney Strand), and another to Baltimore.

    From one cultural phenomenon to another: the UTA continued to operate well-patronised specials to places where Orange demonstrations were taking place. On the NCC section, "Jeeps" were much in evidence on this type of traffic, but some ex-GN locos worked through from places like Lisburn via the Antrim branch. On the GN section and Bangor line, such traffic was entirely hauled by ex-GN locos in 1959.

    Rugby internationals were another busy source of traffic. At this time specials were typically hauled from the north by ex-GN steam locos of 4.4.0 or 0.6.0 types, but ex-NCC "W" class 2.6.0 No. 95 made an appearance over the winter, as did B106 and A16 from Limerick and Cork respectively. Local trains in the Dublin area serving the matches included two CIE 0.6.0s and a GN one, and two GNR 4.4.0s.

    To be continued in Part 2.

  2. #2
    Senior Member jhb171achill's Avatar
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    And part 2:

    1960 dawned, the CDRJC closure attracting much attention. At the same time the Chairman of CIE announced that he saw little future for any of CIE's branch lines... and moderisation proceeded apace, even as elderly J15s were receiving heavy overhauls and even in a few cases, repaints. The traditional battleship grey steam loco paint stocks must have been running low, as a handful of steam engines (low single figures!) were painted black. But the C class locos were now taking over rural lines for the time being, though closure of most would follow within a few years. The Birr and Foynes branches changed from steam to "C" class operation in the early months of 1960.

    New Year's Eve 1959 saw J15 188 haul three old six wheelers constituting the last train out of Kenmare. Two of this trio were far from home, being of ex-MGWR origin.

    On New Year's Day, the remainder of the GNR in counties Monaghan and Cavan, and peripheral lines, slipped away, but not before an IRRS special traversed the route on 19th December '59 - oh to have been on THAT! It is interesting to note what was out and about on this still-very-GNR section in these twilight days. The IRRS special was a two-coach GNR AEC set (now in CIE green). A short while later, on the last day of traffic, railcar C1 had the Dundalk-Cavan parcels; A16 took 15 wagons out of Carrickmacross on the last goods train out of there - how many of us knew an "A" made it to Carrickmacross? Steam loco 161 was in Clones with the last Monaghan goods. As C1 left Cavan with the last parcel train for Dundalk, C219 was making up the last goods from Cavan via Inny Junction to Dublin.

    Steam locos were being stockpiled all over the place for scrapping. Various locations in Dublin had rusting steam locos in varying states of undress - perhaps a scenic appendage for any layouts based in larger centres at this time? Tne UTA was similarly occupied, with ten locos of GNR and NCC origin sold for scrap. On the other hand, the UTA BOUGHT the former SLNCR locos "Lough Erne" and "Lough Melvin"; not only, therefore, were these two the last new steam engines delivered to an Irish railway, but they were by far the last steam engines bought by an irish railway company!

    The Markethill and Banbridge branches were being dismantled. At the same time the UTA was singling sections of the "Derry Road" - only to close the lot a few years later.

    Some unusual rolling stock details from 1960 included the repainting of the old MGWR TPO No. 1M in green, along with a modern TPO; the first ex-GNR dining car (C401N) repainted into CIE green; the first use of a GNR diner on "foreign" metals when GN-liveried 268 worked a special from Westland Row to Galway; an ex-GN BUT car, no. 904, hauling a laminate brake 2nd (1905) on a trial run to Cork and back; and the now-preserved ex-GN diner 88 repainted in UTA green as UTA no. 552. This coach will be known to many as the diner in the RPSI's Dublin "heritage" set. Don't be confused by the livery; while many ex-GN coaches wore that particular CIE green livery, 88 was not one of them, as she went to the UTA, not CIE. She carries her current livery for uniformity with the rest of the set.

    A race special was noted leaving Westland Row for Mullingar in March 1960 hauled by A7 with five GNR coaches all in CIE green, and a 4 wheel "tin van". Among other oddities to be seen in the spring of 1960 was the last Pullman car - the diner no.100 - now in CIE green - in use on the Cork - Rosslare boat train. Over in the west, the last day on the Valentia branch (1st February) saw C201 hauling an 1885-built sixwheel brake third of MGWR extraction, a few wagons and a van in the down direction, while in the up direction C227 had two bogie coaches and two luggage vans. At 19:17 that night, C227 drew to a halt in Cahirciveen, the last train into the place.

    Passenger traffic on the West Clare was brisk, with one pair of trains each day having an average of 80 passengers, necessitating a diesel loco hauling all three of the railcar trailers and / or the ex-C & L coach no. 1. This was to some extent due to the carriage of school children, but the goods was so busy that a relief working often had to run.

    A fire on board the "Enterprise" on 28.1.60 highlighted (for modellers, of course!) the make-up of this train at the time. BUT railcar 906 led, followed by buffet 97, brake 2nd 192, and BUT car 908. A while later the "Enterprise" sets in use included BUT car C906N in green, brake 2nd 114 (now at Whitehead) in GNR blue and cream, buffet 238 in GNR brown, and BUT railcar 904 in blue and cream! The DSER had similar colourful trains; noted at Macmine a few years later was a three car railcar set, with one car in green, the centre coach in GNR blue and cream, the rear car in black'n'tan, hauling a 4 wheeled van in grubby silver!

    On St. Patrick's Day 1960, A60 worked a service train to Belfast. While there, she was taken on a trial run via the Central line to Bangor, thus extending the travels of the class onto the BCDR for the first time. On the same day, a CIE dining car (2400) made its firts visit to Belfast. Former GN ones had been used exclusively until then.

    Livery detail: the UTA announced its full coat of arms, recently designed, would shortly start to replace the "red hand" circular device on all locos, stock, buses and publicity. Also worthy of note for modellers is the the GNR section still retained GNR style station nameboards, trespass signs, and so on, unaltered, until a standard CIE bilingual trespass sign appeared at Malahide. The new UTA coat of arms made its way onto three ex-GNR locos which had been newly painted into UTA lined black. These were Nos. 33, 35 and 48.

    By mid 1960, GNR dining car 292 had become the first GNR catering vehicle to appear in CIE green, being renumbered C292N. It is worth noting that ex-GN goods stock was renumbered by CIE by adding "N", thus wagon 165 became 165N. Coaches and railcars had a "C" in front as well, hence diner 292 becoming C292N. One wonders why they didn't just use "N", or even "GxxxN" - it could be something to do with the fact that the letter "G" as painted in Dundalk, often looked like a "C" - but these coaches had "C"s on them, not "G"'s - whoever made a hames of that, perhaps! Locos did not receive an "N" - they remained as they were under the GNR.

    As 1960's summer became autumn, lifting gangs were working at several locations on the Irish North and the Kenmare, Valentia, Ballinrobe and Harcourt Street lines. The Donegal system was also being dismantled, with gangs working on the Ballyshannon branch. On 18th March a special railcar train of 14 and 12 with trailer 3 between them, operated from Stranorlar to Killygordon "for recording purposes". What were they recording? If it was to film the line, where is the film now? If not, what was the point?

    The Indian Summer of the West Cork system was the subject of an article in June 1960. To give a flavour of what would make a mouth-watering model layout system, on June 4th we can savour a snapshot of the line in its final season. The 12:15 to Bantry had a three-coach AEC set, the middle coach of laminate ancestry. Few stations en route provided passengers, though a few were set down. At Bandon a C class diesel was shunting in the goods yard. At Drimoleague some 25 passengers got off to join the connection for Skibbereen and Baltinmore, which consisted of C224, an old bogie compo, 8 wagons and a luggage van. The same railcar set returned on the 15:00 with 31 passengers on departure. The branch train at Drimoleague had the same coach and van, but one wagon; it was now hauled by C207. A wagon was attached to the rear of the railcar set, which delayed departure. While no connection at Clonakilty Jct had been made on the down journey, the up journey saw the mixed connect with our railcar set. C225 awaited with an elderly bogie compo (no passengers in it), a "tin van", 8 wagons and 2 goods brake vans. On arrival of the goods ex-Bantry, C225 swopped with its loco, C207, doubtless due to routine return of locos to Cork for fuelling and servicing. The 18:00 down Bantry train was sttrengthened due to a pilgrimage, and had an 8 car AEC set!

    And there we are for now.

  3. #3
    Loving this,thanks for posting.
    ENNISCORTHYMAN

  4. #4
    great info as always

  5. #5
    Senior Member jhb171achill's Avatar
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    Book in process, heirflick.... finding time is the issue, though!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by jhb171achill View Post
    Book in process, heirflick.... finding time is the issue, though!
    Thank you for making the time (when available) -looking forward to a good read.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by jhb171achill View Post
    Book in process, heirflick.... finding time is the issue, though!
    have every confidence that you will make the time... as Kirley said im looking forward to a good read!!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Mayner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhb171achill View Post
    And part 2:

    1960 dawned, the CDRJC closure attracting much attention. At the same time the Chairman of CIE announced that he saw little future for any of CIE's branch lines... and moderisation proceeded apace, even as elderly J15s were receiving heavy overhauls and even in a few cases, repaints. The traditional battleship grey steam loco paint stocks must have been running low, as a handful of steam engines (low single figures!) were painted black. But the C class locos were now taking over rural lines for the time being, though closure of most would follow within a few years. The Birr and Foynes branches changed from steam to "C" class operation in the early months of 1960.

    New Year's Eve 1959 saw J15 188 haul three old six wheelers constituting the last train out of Kenmare. Two of this trio were far from home, being of ex-MGWR origin.

    On New Year's Day, the remainder of the GNR in counties Monaghan and Cavan, and peripheral lines, slipped away, but not before an IRRS special traversed the route on 19th December '59 - oh to have been on THAT! It is interesting to note what was out and about on this still-very-GNR section in these twilight days. The IRRS special was a two-coach GNR AEC set (now in CIE green). A short while later, on the last day of traffic, railcar C1 had the Dundalk-Cavan parcels; A16 took 15 wagons out of Carrickmacross on the last goods train out of there - how many of us knew an "A" made it to Carrickmacross? Steam loco 161 was in Clones with the last Monaghan goods. As C1 left Cavan with the last parcel train for Dundalk, C219 was making up the last goods from Cavan via Inny Junction to Dublin.

    The Indian Summer of the West Cork system was the subject of an article in June 1960. To give a flavour of what would make a mouth-watering model layout system, on June 4th we can savour a snapshot of the line in its final season. The 12:15 to Bantry had a three-coach AEC set, the middle coach of laminate ancestry. Few stations en route provided passengers, though a few were set down. At Bandon a C class diesel was shunting in the goods yard. At Drimoleague some 25 passengers got off to join the connection for Skibbereen and Baltinmore, which consisted of C224, an old bogie compo, 8 wagons and a luggage van. The same railcar set returned on the 15:00 with 31 passengers on departure. The branch train at Drimoleague had the same coach and van, but one wagon; it was now hauled by C207. A wagon was attached to the rear of the railcar set, which delayed departure. While no connection at Clonakilty Jct had been made on the down journey, the up journey saw the mixed connect with our railcar set. C225 awaited with an elderly bogie compo (no passengers in it), a "tin van", 8 wagons and 2 goods brake vans. On arrival of the goods ex-Bantry, C225 swopped with its loco, C207, doubtless due to routine return of locos to Cork for fuelling and servicing. The 18:00 down Bantry train was sttrengthened due to a pilgrimage, and had an 8 car AEC set!

    And there we are for now.

    Great stuff JHB

    The daily Irish North goods from Dundalk to Cavan & Monaghan was steam worked to the end probably with an ex-GNR loco with an A Class working the Dundalk-Carrickmacross goods probably as a fill in between other turns. Inny Junction Cavan seems to have been worked by the Mullingar Pilot, presumably the operating department did not fancy the idea of tying up an A Class for up to 20 hours on the Irish North, or possibly loosing a second loco if the first broke down

    The Irish North goods seems to have been an all day job probably with two loco crews, working down to Cavan in the early hours of the morning and fitted in a side trip from Clones to Monaghan in the afternoon theoretically returning to Dundalk some time before midnight.

    I always fancied an American style operating layout based on the West Cork with the main line and the two main branches. The Drimoleague Baltimore line was basically operated as two separate branches with most trains running to and from Skibbereen.

    It seems to have been a line where freight was considered more important than passenger traffic, while the main line was worked by the relatively modern standardish class of Bandon tanks, the branches seem to have been worked by cast off tank locos from the DSER, GSWR, MGWR and WLWR. Modernisation simplified things with an AEC railcar set on the main line and 3 C Class worrking goods and branch services, presumably a Bandon Tank or two was available for cattle and beet specials.

    Clonakilty lost its morning connection from Cork when the branch was dieselised in the late 50s, the mixed worked out from Clonakilty connected into the morning train to Cork, changed personality and worked back as a goods, working down the Courtmacsharry Branch as required before resuming mixed train operation connecting with both up and down evening main line trains.

    While a single AEC railcar set seems to have worked all main line passenger services, loco workings seemed odd while one C Class more or less captive on low milage Clonakilty/Courtmacsharry services, the other pair were kept busy on the two main line goods services and connecting goods/mixed trains working out of Drimiloleague and Skibbereen
    Last edited by Mayner; 09-04-2013 at 08:06 AM.
    John


    If I was going there I would'nt be starting here.

  9. #9
    Senior Member jhb171achill's Avatar
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    Indeed, Mayner - I remember going through a 1960 WTT once with the intention of finding out exactly how many locos, crews etc were needed to do a day's work on that system. As you say, it was an odd working.

    The Bandon tanks were indeed needed on beet specials. A recent DVD shows none other than an 800 class (802, I think) taking beet empties from Mallow to Cork, where a Bandon tank took over to ferry them to the junction. At that point a MGWR J26 (552) set sail with them for Clonakilty; the return journey being a mirror image as far as Cork anyway. Further interest could be added with 90 or 100 trailing 2 or 3 wagons into Courtmacsherry. If that's not fodder for a fascinating model railway setting, I don't know what is! Towards the end, beet was handled on the Cork - Clonakilty Junction with Bandon tanks or on occasion, a C class loco, but Midland J26 0.6.0Ts ruled the branch to the end.

    You are right about the INW turns. There is no way they would have sent an "A" class out to Carrickmacross unless it was spare for a while in Dundalk. And it was generally (if not always) a GNR "A" class 0.6.0 which operated the "rump" INW goods. The locomotive used between Inny Junction and Cavan was generally a "C" class, so it may well have been a Mullingar pilot.

    The railways were undergoing a fascinating period of change at the time, as we all know. I am surprised more model layouts don't concentrate on this period, but with the growing number of truly excellent kits available, there is no reason why this might not change in time.

  10. #10
    hidden-agenda
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    Excellent info John.

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