Author Archives: rogerfarnworth

Advent Sunday 2020

Mark 13: 24-37 – 29th November 2020

It is over 30 years since the fall of many of the Soviet states in Europe.

31 years since the Berlin Wall was torn down!

My brothers-in-law travelled there at the end of 1989 and picked up a souvenir piece of the wall. Pieces of the Berlin wall are still on sale today.

Over the New Year Holiday, the Berlin Wall was being dismantled. … The end of the Berlin Wall was the end of probably the most potent symbol of oppression in Europe in the 20th Century.

It’s disturbing to realise that it all happened over 30 years ago now. Maybe, at that time, you shared my sense of unbelief – ‘Is this really happening?’ It was hard to believe that the world order that I had grown up in – that of a Cold War, stand-off between two superpowers – was seemingly coming to an end. Something that even just months before those amazing events at the end of 1989 seemed impossible.

This same seeming impossibility surrounded the Jewish people in the centuries before Christ. They had been longing for a Messiah – someone who would change the course of history for ever. They were so often disappointed, different men came promising what they could not deliver. No doubt Israel felt the mocking eyes of others as they clung onto this seemingly vain hope of a glorious Messiah. Someone who would bring in Israel’s golden age. Everything pointed against it. Israel was a pawn, a minor league nation caught in the ebb and flow of the politics of the real powers.

In Advent, as Christians, we do at least two things – firstly, we remember, we enter into something of the feelings of the people of Israel as they waited for the coming of their Messiah. We wait with them. … They had to wait 500 years from the first promises made to them. We allow ourselves the month of December – but we wait for the coming of the Christ-child. Unlike them we know for sure that he will come – for we’ve read the story before.

But we are in other ways just like them. For we impose our expectations on him – we know what the Christmas story is all about – we’ve got the story neatly packaged. … We need the story to be constant, unchanging because life is too busy, too pressurised at this time of year. ‘Let’s stick to the routine,’ we say, ‘enjoy the celebrations, and hopefully have time to relax in January!’ Although what those Christmas celebrations will be like in 2020 is still a matter of uncertainty.

If we are not careful – if we don’t make the time to reflect, to listen, to wait – we’ll miss the Christ-child. We’ll not see the miracle of God in human form. Just as most of Israel missed its Messiah, so God’s grace will pass us by. Advent is our time to centre ourselves before Christmas, to focus on the true meaning of the Christmas story, to grasp that God’s Son, the Christ, God incarnate, Emmanuel, God with us – Jesus, is coming and he is coming for us, for me.

But we also wait in other ways … for many of us, life is not the way we want it to be and we pray for God’s intervention. It feels at times as though nothing is happening. Times like this are hard. We wait for God to come, and he seems absent. We are a little like the people of Israel awaiting their Messiah.

Advent is not just preparing for Christmas, but about looking forward to Christ’s Second Coming. Jesus spoke about this our Gospel reading. A difficult passage, because this Second Coming seems for Jesus to be so immediate. And so we, the Church, have our questions – raised at different times with different intensity. Why has it been so long? Has God forgotten us? Is Jesus never coming back? Were we intended to take it literally? Was Jesus mistaken? Is it important to believe in the Second Coming?

And these questions are often mirrored in our experience of daily life as at times God seems to be absent. And our experience of waiting in some way matches that of those nations waiting year after year under the tyranny of Communism. Seemingly without hope – yet in 1989 there was that dramatic change. What was unbelievable, happened. The wall came down, Communist regimes toppled.

Similar but different.

In our daily lives, we hold onto a promise – a promise to be taken on trust. Jesus’ promise to be there for us in the midst of all that life brings our way – Christ will come again.

But, as Christians, we also have something of the reality on deposit. In the meal of Holy Communion we look back to the realities of Christ=s first coming – his death and resurrection. And we also look forward to that heavenly banquet in which we will all share – a meal that Jesus promised to eat with us in his Kingdom.

We can believe that God is with us in our suffering. We can believe that Christ will return. Things that people dream about, do happen, God’s, presence with us is real, and Christ Second Coming is no more impossible than the collapse of the Berlin Wall felt to a divided Europe, a divided Germany. The seemingly impossible is possible with God.

Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Railways in Iran – Part 11 – Anglo-Persian Oil Company Ltd.

The Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) was founded in 1908 after the discovery of a large oil field in the South of what is now Iran. [2] Masjid-i-Sulaiman was the location where oil was first discovered in the Middle East. [3]

At the beginning of the 20th century, Khuzestan was one of the most impoverished and least urbanized areas of Iran, itself a desperately poor country. “In 1900 Iran was a fairly primitive, almost isolated state, barely distinguishable as an economic entity. About one fifth of the population lived in small towns; another quarter consisted of nomadic tribes, while the rest eked out an existence in poor villages” [9][11]. “Historical cities of Shushtar, Dezful, Ramhormoz, Hoveyzeh, and Behbahan, had small populations ranging between 7 and 25 thousand. Ahvaz (the provincial capital to the North of Abadan) was initially a large village, but it had been turning into a fast growing market town following the opening of Karun in 1880s to steamship commerce and the construction of the mule transport “Lynch Road” from there through Zagros to Esfahan.” [9].

William Knox D’Arcy, under contract to Ali-Qoli Khan Bakhtiari, obtained permission to explore for oil in Iran, he discovered oil near Masjid-i-Sulaiman in 1908. [3][4][5] This was the first time that oil  had been discovered in the Middle East, changing the history of the region and resulting in wealth beyond what country leaders could ever have hoped for or imagined. The oil discovery led to a petrochemical industry and the establishment of industries that strongly depended on oil.

Masjid-i-Sulaiman, is situated among the foothills of the Iranian plateau, about 130 miles inland from the Persian Gulf. The reserves are very significant and resulted in the construction of a pipeline to link Majid-i-Sulaiman, and another oilfield at Haft Kel, with the Persian Gulf, an oil depot, and what became a large refinery at Abadan.

An early view of the Oilfield at Masjid-i-Sulaiman. [16]

Near Masjid-i-Sulaiman, the pipe line is carried on a suspension bridge. In this illustration men are seen assembling the lengths of pipe line after the completion of the bridge. [17]

Construction of the refinery commenced in 1910 and the contraction was completed in 1912. Its capacity was 2500 barrels/day and it was the first oil refinery in the Middle East. [18]

The island at the junction of the Euphrates and Tigris. The depot of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. Oil fuel was of utmost necessity for the Mesopotamian river traffic in the advance on Baghdad in the First World War. This image is a a view of Abadan from the river at the junction of the Euphrates and Tigris, seen at night. There is a dhow with sails down in the foreground, and the lights and outlines of an oil depot in the background. Date: (First World War). [12]

In 1914, the British government purchased a 51% stake in the oil company, [6] and during the First World War, Abadan refinery was expanded to provide fuel for warships. [18]

The development of Abadan oil refinery accelerated in 1932 and in 1935, APOC was renamed the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) when Reza Shah Pahlavi asked foreign countries to refer to Persia as Iran. An institute of technology was established at Abadan in 1939. [18]

In World War II, after the Allies lost the Burmese oil and refinery, more attention was paid to the expansion of Abadan refinery and it became the largest refinery in the world. It supplied 25,000 barrels/day of aircraft gasoline during the war with the amount of 25,000 barrels per day and, as a result, contributed significantly to the Allied victory in WWII. [18]

Embed from Getty Images

An aerial view of barges in a dock at Abadan, Iran, 12th January 1947. (Photo by Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images) Parts of the 3ft gauge rail network are visible in this image. One track runs alongside the road to the left of the image. Two lines run parallel to each other to the left of the dock wall. They run between the legs of the rail mounted cranes. Wagons can be made out on these lines. This image is embedded from the Getty Images website with their kind permission. [14]

Later the government of Mohammad Mosaddegh nationalized the company’s local infrastructure assets and gave the new company the name National Iranian Oil Company. Mohammed Mosaddegh was Prime Minster of Iran from 1951 until 1953, when his government was overthrown in a coup d’état which was orchestrated by the CIA and MI6. [7]

An aerial view of Abadan in 1951, when the Iranian government nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. Source: The Illustrated London News, London, 8th September 1951, (Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial 4.0 International) [13].

In 1954, after the coup, the Company was renamed again to the British Petroleum Company (BP). [2] The products of Abadan refinery were once again sent to international markets at a rate of up to 300,000 barrels/day. By 1977, the capacity of the refinery had increased to 600,000 barrels/day. With that expansion, Abadan refinery regained its status as the largest refinery in the world. However, in 1980, the Iran/Iraq war brought all production to an end. [18] 

Recovery and further development has been slow and has been significantly affected by the international blockade.

The Railway Network in and around Abadan

The Anglo-Persian Oil Company had its own railway network at their Abadan Oil Depot and had a series of other lines which accessed the oil fields. The Wonders of World Engineering Magazine which was published from Spring 1937 to Spring 1938, [16][17] has two articles about the Iranian oilfields. The adjacent sketch map  is included in the second of those articles. [17] The dark lines represent oil pipelines which were already transporting oil in 1937/1938. Of interest for this article are the two railway lines shown. One is the Trans-Iranian Railway which heads North from the port of Bandar Shahpur. Eariier articles in this short series about the railways of Iran cover that line. Towards the top of the map is a short line running from Dar-i-Khazineh to the oilfield at Masjid-i-Suleiman.

Also, it is interesting to read a military report which was written in 1940. Iain Logie, an online acquaintance through the Continental Railway Circle (CRC) and author of an article about the Dar-i-Khazineh Fields Railway in The Narrow Gauge magazine [32], pointed me to this document which is available on the Qatar National Library website. [19] That document focuses on possible supply routes from the Persian Gulf to the North of Iran and so is not particularly interested in the pipeline supplying oil to Abadan.

It is probably very appropriate to note at this point that Iain Logie’s scholarly article in The Narrow Gauge magazine [32] is a comprehensive and detailed look at the Dar-i-Khazineh Fields Railway. I only received a copy of the article after having written this present article based around the 1940 Military Report. I have reviewed the text below in the light of receiving Iain Logie’s article and corrected some things which were incorrect.

The landscape between Abadan and Ahwaz. The River Karun was used for transporting oil/good to and from Masjid-i-Suleiman. (Google Maps)

I find the content, of what was a very long military report fascinating, but for our present purposes, we need to focus on the route to the oilfields. The report tells us that in July 1940: “From Basra, Mohammerah (Khorramshahr) or Abadan the recognised and only reliable all-weather route to the oilfields is by river craft. At Ahwaz transshipment is necessary owing to the rapids.” [19: p13]  The river used was the River Karun. Details regarding transshipment are given later in the military document. I have unearthed some footage from the early 20th century which is shown below. Transshipment took place by means of a tramway at Ahvaz. Sadly I cannot translate the Persian subtitles which appear from time to time.

The Military Report from the 1940s has a plan showing the new railway link to the Trans-Iranian Railway in the centre of Ahvaz. The transshipment tramway is marked on that plan and is highlighted by a light red line on an extract from that plan below. [19: Map 3] By the time the report was written the tramway was no longer in use.

Central Ahvaz in the late 1930s. [19: Map 3]

The short film above and the author of the military report confirm that, “Dar-i-Khazineh is the riverhead, and a light railway (via Tembi) and metalled road to the oil-field (Masjid-i-Suleiman) area start from there.” [19: p13]

The Dar-i-Khazineh Fields Railway

Dar-i-Khazineh is North-northeast from Ahvaz on the River Karun. The location is shown on the satellite image immediately below. The transshipment wharf was at the riverside. The railway only had a few access sidings at that location. A little further to the Northeast were a series of holding sidings.

Dar-i-Khazineh in the 21st century. (Google Maps)

The plan below was included with the 1940 military report, it is from a survey undertaken in the late 1930s and shows the Dar-i-Khazineh site. It is followed by two enlarged extracts. A key to the numbered buildings has also been enlarged below. The railway layout is clear on these plans.

Alongside these sidings you can see the locomotive shed which was the oil-supply point for the locomotives ((10) on the plans). (7)(8) and (9) were the stores, offices and railway workshop. (5) and (6) were living accommodation. (3) was a goods shed and (4) was a store house. (2) was an explosives store. (12) was guest accommodation and (13) was the superintendent’s house. (14) was the site water tank and (15) was the water pump-house.

At Dar-i-Khazineh, the wharf was 150 to 200 feet long and could accept 5-ton axle loads. Access to the wharf was by good metalled roads and the light railway. The wharf was occasionally submerged during periods of floods – around once in 5 years. Two cranes served the barges. One 15-ton Scotch derrick and one 10-ton travelling crane. [19: Appendix X, p91]

Dar-i-Khazineh transshipment point between river and rail. [19: Map 4] If the numbers can be made out in the image then the key below will be useful!Dar-i-Khazineh, riverside. [19: Map 4]Dar-i-Khazineh, sidings. [19: Map 4]

Key to the maps above. [19: Map 4]

The Light Railway from Dar-i-Khazineh to Masjid-i-Suleiman was a single line 2ft 6 in gauge railway of 36 miles in length, (increasing to 40 miles if sidings are included). The Rails on the earliest section of the railway were 30 lbs. secured to steel sleepers by steel keys. The track was ballasted with sandstone and river shingle. The notes go on to say that the railway had:

“Curves 5° to 45°. Maximum grade 3.2%. There are 3 main bridge[s of] Hopkins Truss type of spans 105, 120 and 120 feet. The line follows the metalled road from Dar-i-Khazineh towards Masjid-i-Suleiman to Abgah after which it turns south-east following the Tembi River to Tembi Power Station and thence runs to Masjid-i-Suleiman and Chashm-i-Ali. There are stations at D.i.K., Abgah (12 miles) Batwand (16 miles) Tembi (27 miles) M.i.S. (32 miles) Chashm-i-Ali (36 miles). The average time taken from D.i.K. to Chashm-i-Ali is 4.5 hours.” [19: p19]

The old railway followed the metalled road between Dar-i-Khazineh and Abgah, (Google Maps). The route f the line has been imposed on the satellite image as a faint red line hugging the South side of the road.The narrow gauge railway followed the road from Abgah to Batvand. It’s approximate route is shown by a faint red line imposed on the satellite image. Close to Batvand the line left the metalled road and followed the course of the River Tembi. 

As a point of clarification, the old railway probably dictated the route of the metalled road at least as far as Abgah. [32] Iain Logie includes a superb picture of the bridge which carried the railway over the River Tembi close to Batvand. [32] His article also includes the map below.

Iain Logie produced this plan of the route in 2017 and included it in his article about the railway [32] Used by kind permission.

I have not been able to find any sign of the route of the railway on Google Earth close to the River Tembi. Nor can I find any modern reference to Tembi Power Station on the internet. For the military report to refer to it, it must have been a reasonably significant structure. All we know from that military report is that between Batvand Railway Station (the location of which I have failed to ascertain) and Tembi Railway Station close to the Power Station was a distance of around 11 miles (18 kilometres).

There was apparently a short branchline from the main line to Masjid-i-Suleiman which was built to serve the construction work on the power station. [32]

The river approaches Masjid-i-Suleiman from the Southwest, that was the direction from which the narrow gauge railway approached the town. Iain Logie has an excellent map of the route of the line and some additional pictures which come from the BP archive.

Masjid-i-Suleiman Station Yard. [20]

I have been able to find one relatively grainy image of the station yard at Masjid-i-Suleiman on wikiwand. It shows what appears to be a saddle tank (possibly an ALCO 0-6-0ST which would have been supplied from Egypt) in steam and a range of goods wagons. [20]

Further searching on the internet identified one Iranian website which covers the story of the construction of the line and provides some other interesting pictures. [21]

That site tells the story like this (translated using Google Translate): “In 1921 AD, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company started the construction of a railway line from the River Karun to Masjed Soleiman and completed it in 1923 AD. The length of this railway was 57 km and the track-gauge was 76 cm. In fact, a railway of this length had never been built in Iran until then. Previously, the only railway linked the city of Rey with Tehran. The national railway of Iran was not inaugurated until 15 years later.” [21]

Stations were established along the way which included Abgah, Haji Abad, Tembi, Malkarim, Masjid-i-Suleiman and Chashm-i-Ali, and finally a Food Depot and Gunpowder Depot. The train stopped at these stations to supply the coal and water it needed, or to pick up and drop off passengers. At Tembi station, the sulfur for transport to Abadan or abroad was loaded. At Malkarim a passing loop was provided and alongside the line a Gypsum Factory produced gypsum for delivery by goods train to various places for use. At Chashm-i-Ali there was a goods warehouse and locomotive maintenance depot.

The railway had eight locomotives, initially it commenced operation with light locomotives that  had been received from the Army Delegation and Sales Board at Kantara railway station in Egypt. (These locomotives were used in World War I). In 1925, two 2-6-0 tank locomotives made by Kerr Stuart and 25 wagons from Britain were transferred to this line. And in later years newer locomotives were added to the line. The fuel for these locomotives was initially coal, but soon changed to oil. [21]

There were several small and large bridges along the railway, some of which still remain. There were four large bridges, three of which were at the intersection of the Tembi River, which were made of metal, and another with crescent-shaped openings on the Behlool River (Batvand), where only traces of concrete or stone pillars are visible. In general, the route has disappeared.” [21]

At the peak of its activity, the railway moved about 9800 tons of goods per month. During its 27-year life, the railway transported more than one million tons of goods and during the first years of its operation also transported passengers. It played a very important role for the oil industry and the development of Masjed-e-Soliman. [21]

The 1940 Military Report continues:

“From D.i.K. to Abgah and from Tembi to M.i.S. the maximum useful lift per train is 45 tons; between Abgah and Tembi, 85 tons.

At present, the A.I.O.C. run an average of one train per day. moving 60 tons from end to end. The maximum ever moved by them in one month is 3,600 tons, or 120 tons average per day.” [19: p19]

The military report then goes on to estimate how much greater use could be made of the line and notes, in 1940, that the locomotives in use burned oil fuel. 

Locomotives and Rolling Stock

The military report [19] has an Appendix which covers the available motive power and wagons in 1940. [19: Appendix XI, 19: p92-93] There were 3 No. Peckett Locos and 3 No. Kerr-Stuart Locos on the line at that time. In addition a Dreary Railcar was available as an inspection vehicle. This does not tell the full story of what motive power was available at different times on the line. But we consider the 6 oil-fired steam locomotives mentioned in the military report, first.

Peckett and Sons Locomotives

It is known that two locomotives were supplied to the railway by Peckett and Sons of Bristol. A detailed description of one of these locos is provided in a paper in the Industrial Railway Record (IRR). [8] The paper was a reproduction of an article first published in ‘The Locomotive Magazine and Railway Carriage & Wagon Review’ on 14th March 1931.

0-6-2 tank locomotive, 2 ft. 6 in gauge, for the Anglo-Persian Oil Co., built by Peckett and Sons, Bristol. This locomotive is No.1750, ‘D.I.K 1928’, of February 1928, a Peckett Type M5. [8]

These locomotives were oil-fired. When fully loaded they carried 520 gallons of water and 200 gallons of fuel oil. [8]

That same article explains that there were around 40 miles of track “linking up the different oil wells at Masjid-i-Sulaiman and providing means of transport for stores and supplies between that district and the depot at Abadan, which is also the port of shipment for the oil.” [8]

Martyn Bane also provides a copy of the paper in the IRR [8] He goes on to say that the “Anglo-Persian Oil Co. must have been happy with their locomotives as “Peckett’s later supplied two more machines: Locomotive No.1816 of October 1930, named ‘D.I.K. 1930’ came first and was followed by No.1909, ‘D.I.K. 1936’ in October 1936.” [1] It was Martyn Bane’s article that first alerted me to the 2ft 6in network at Abadan.

No.1909, ‘D.I.K. 1936’ of October 1936. It is possible that this photograph may be a re-touched version of the photograph above showing No.1750. [1]

Wikipedia lists these locomotives as below:

4 No. Peckett Locomotives used at Abadan. [15] It seems that, at the time of the military inspection only three of these were available. [19: p92]

Kerr Stuart Locomotives

The following Kerr Stuart Locomotives were purchased by Anglo Persia Oil Co. for their 2ft 6in gauge line running from the River Karun to Masjid-i-Suleiman:

Kerr Stuart No. 4189 – May 1923 (Huxley Boiler).
Kerr Stuart No. 4190 – May 1923 (Huxley Boiler).
Kerr Stuart No. 4191 – May 1923 (Huxley Boiler).

They were from a series of 21 No. 104 H.P. 0-6-2T locomotives no a design first built in 1912. Kerr Stuart christened the class, “Matary”. The design was suitable for gauges between 2ft and 4ft 8 ½ inches and rails of between 25-30 lbs per yard. The metre gauge locomotives had inside frames and locomotives with narrower gauges had outside frames. [23]

Further details of the class can also be found on the Fourdees website. [24]

These are noted as being available in the 1940 military report. [19: p92]

Other Motive Power

W.G. Bagnall Locomotives

Internet searches show that Fourdees also make a model which is based on the Bagnall version of the “Matary.”. They say that two of these Bagnall 0-6-2T locos were supplied to the Dar-i-Khazineh line in 1941. [25] There is a series of historical railway photographs from Iran on on ‘flickriver’ [26] among which are the front [27] and reverse [28] of an order card from Bagnall’s works showing one of these locomotives.

A letter to ‘The Narrow Gauge Magazine suggests that these two 0-6-2T oil-fired Bagnall Locomotives were actually ordered in 1944 and delivered in 1945/6. [29] Iain Logie agrees with these dates. [32]

Before the line was settled enough to order new locomotives 8 steam and petrol locomotives were in use on the line, all ex-ROD locomotives. Iain Logie has full details of these in a table of the motive power used on the line.[32]

ALCO Locomotives

The 8 steam locomotives were all ALCO locomotives which were manufactured during the Great War and supplied to the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. British  manufacturers were unable to meet the delivery requirements of the Army and so an American supplier was used. Iain Logie says that the locos were first required  for a 2ft 6in gauge light railway which served an elaborate system of defences along the Suez Canal. [32] He continues: “The ALCOs  proved to be rather limited in power and they were soon confined to shunting and local freight trips, rather than being used on the mainline where they were replaced by newer more powerful locomotives.” [32] Iain Logie has one picture of a loco of this class at work in one of the station yards. [32]

It appears that 24 of these locomotives were bought by the ROD in 1916 for use in Egypt. [33]

Hawthorn Leslie Petrol Locomotives

Iain Logie syas that two Hawthorn Leslie petrol locos (Army No 67 and 75) were purchased by APOC in 1922 and were used as shunting locos at Chashmeh-i-Ali and were operated by the stores staff rather than railway staff. [32]

Drewry Railcar

In 1940, one Drewry Railcar was available in the line. It was a 25 hp vehicle. [19: p92] It is likely that this vehicle was the one shown earlier in this article. The photo is repeated here.

In an article in The Narrow Gauge Magazine, [29] Rodney Weaver writes of a series of 19 No. Drewry Railcars were supplied during the 1st World War to 2ft 6in gauge as ambulances for Mesopotamia. The order was designated ‘Mesrail 14’. it was placed on “20th November 1916 and confirmed on 22nd December.
The first nine cars were handed over on 29th March 1917 and delivery was completed on 1st June, Like all Drewry cars between 1911 and 1930 they were actually built by Baguley Cars Ltd. (later Baguley (Engineers) Ltd.) of Burton-upon-Trent.” [29: p19]

Weaver goes on to say: “The cars were built on standard B-type chassis as used for hundreds of more orthodox (and a few more unorthodox) railcars over the years, The frame length was 16ft and the wheelbase 7ft, the light cast wheels being 24″ diameter. Power was provided by a Baguley petrol engine, a four-cylinder unit of 90mm bore x 130mm stroke rated at 20 hp. There was a three-speed gearbox, and a reverse box, one axle only being driven by a roller chain from the latter.” [29: p19]

Weaver describes the railcar like this: “The body comprised two driving platforms with a stretcher compartment between them. Two stretchers could be carried on either side of the car, one resting on top of a folded canvas seat that formed the floor and the other
carried on an upper platform that could be swung out and down on a form of parallel motion. Alternatively both stretchers and the upper platform could be removed and the canvas seat erected, when six walking cases could be accommodated. Between the stretchers was a corridor and seat for the attendant, access to which was gained by a door at one end of the car. The car could thus carry four stretcher cases, two stretcher and six walking cases or twelve walking cases as required.” [29: p19]

He continues: “In service the sides of the cars were normally covered by canvas screens bearing the Red Cross insignia, the rest of the vehicle being painted khaki.” [29: p20]

It seems that APOC must have seen these Railcars in action and decided to purchase two direct from Bauley in 1924. Iain Logie comments that these were intended to provide a passenger service on the line. At the same time as their purchase one trailer was also bought. [32]

The passenger service on the line was short-lived and abandoned in 1930. It seems as though the construction of the metalled road meant that a much quicker journey from Dar-i-Khazineh to Masjid-i-Suleiman was available. Iain Logie also comments that one of the ex-Army bogie vans was converted to provide better passenger facilities. The wartime use of the Drewry vehicle is illustrated below. [29: p22]

Drewry Railcar ambulance for Mesopotamia. [29: p22]

Baguley/Drewry Inspection Trolleys

APOC purchased a number of inspection trolleys, one of which is shown earlier in this article. These are listed by Iain Logie as well. [32]

Closure

Iain Logie’s article goes on to survey the goods wagons available on the line before highlighting the rapide decline of the railway after the Second World War. By the end of the War the military construction of roads had dramatically improved road links. The “road distance from Abadan to Masjid-i-Suleiman was 262 kilometres (163 miles) and that journey could be completed in 8 hours, whereas using the existing river and rail route, the distance was 382, kilometres and the journey would take 4 days, or longer.” [32] The railway closed in 1948 and its track was lifted in 1949.

Abandon Oil-Depot, Port and Refinery

There were railways at the port of Abadan as the image earlier in this article shows. The Abadan Depot and Refinery lines were set at 3ft gauge. More of them can be seen on the photographs below.

An Aerial view of Abadan from sometime in the 1920s or 1930s [10] This image appears to show rail tracks just above the T-junction on the bottom right of the photograph and again at the extreme bottom right with one line apparently running across the image on the near side of the road.Ships unloading at the Abadan waterfront in 1942. The rail lines and some wagons are in evidence. [30]Ships unloading at the Abadan waterfront in 1942. The rail lines and some wagons are in evidence. [30]Another postcard image of the wharf at Abadan. The rails providing access to the wharf are visible near the centre of the card image. [31]

The layout of the refinery railway is shown on the next two images which are taken from the 1940 Military Report. [19] The majority of the network is illustrated on the two extracts.

A two-part plan of Abadan Refinery in the late 1930s contained in the 1940 Military Report. The Railway network is visible although the resolution is not that good. [19: Map 2]

Oil production rose from a capacity of 2,500 barrels per day in the early 1910s to 650,000 barrels per day in the late 1970s. [36: APOC Abadan Refinery Railway]

Notes kept in the Narrow Gauge Railway Society library  say that the railway network at the refinery was 65 miles in length. They say that there were 405 points, that as the refinery expanded around 3 miles of track were laid each month.  Maintenance work saw around 2 miles of track lifted and reconditioned each month with around 5 miles of track ballasted each month! [34]

Iain Logie kindly sent me a distillation from the 1940 Military Report Map above which is held in the Narrow Gauge Railway Society Library. It is much easier to read than the original map. [35]

A map of Abadan as it was in the 1930s. [35] The railways can more eaily be [picked out on this plan.

The Narrow Gauge Railway Society Library holds a set of notes which incorporate the best of the sources about locomotives into one document. [36: APOC Abadan Refinery Railway]

The first railway at the refinery and port was a 2ft gauge railway purchased from a War disposal auction after the Great War. The Company were less than content with the 2ft gauge and despite there being a great deal of 2ft-gauge stock available in the post war years, decided that a 3ft-gauge railway would be meet the needs of the refinery. [36: APOC Abadan Refinery Railway]

The locomotive list for the site in quite long! It included Petrol (4No.), ‘Light’ Diesel (8 No.), ‘Heavy’ Diesel (16 No.) and Fireless (15 No.) Locomotives. [36: APOC Abadan Refinery Railway][37]

Iain Logie very kindly sent me the next two images which show a Hunslet 0-6-0 Diesel Mechanical locomotive as supplied to APOC/AIOC in the late 1930s and during WW2, and Hudswell Clarke Fireless Locomotive Works No. 1646 which was supplied to Abadan in June 1931.

 

 

References

  1. https://www.martynbane.co.uk/peckett/articles/persia.html, accessed on 26th March 2020 and 18th November 2020.
  2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Persian_Oil_Company, accessed on 23rd July 2020.
  3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masjed_Soleyman, accessed on 23rd July 2020.
  4. M.S. Vassiliou; Historical Dictionary of the Petroleum Industry; Lanham; Scarecrow, Maryland, 2009.
  5. Peter Frankopan; The Silk Roads: A New History of the World; Alfred A. Knopf;New York, 2016, p. 319
  6. Daniel Yergin;  The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power; New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991; p138–147, 158.
  7. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad_Mosaddegh, accessed on 16th November 2020.
  8. The Industrial Railway Record, Volume 53, April 1974, p202-203; https://www.irsociety.co.uk/Archives/53/Persia.htm, accessed on 18th November 2020.
  9. https://abadantimes.com/2016/04/28/making-abadan-an-oil-town-1911-1921, accessed on 18th November 2020.
  10. https://ajammc.com/2015/02/16/abadan-oil-city-dreams, accessed on 18th November 2020.
  11. Julian Bharier, Economic Development in Iran 1900-1970; Oxford University Press, London, 1971, p19.
  12. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Extended_caption-_The_island_in_the_mouth_of_junction_of_the_Euphrates_and_Tigris._The_depot_of_the_Anglo-Persian_Oil_Company._Oil_fuel_was_of_utmost_necessity_for_the_Mesopotamian_river_traffic_in_the_advance_Art.IWMART1835.jpg, accessed on 19th November 2020.  This image was created and released by the Imperial War Museum on the IWM Non Commercial Licence. Photographs taken, or artworks created, by a member of the forces during their active service duties are covered by Crown Copyright provisions. Faithful reproductions may be reused under that licence, which is considered expired 50 years after their creation.
  13. Carola Hein; Oil Spaces: The Global Petroleumscape in the Rotterdam/The Hague Area; Journal of Urban History. Volume No. 44, 2018, p1-43; https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323157672_Oil_Spaces_The_Global_Petroleumscape_in_the_RotterdamThe_Hague_Area accessed on 19th November 2020.
  14. https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/news-photo/an-aerial-view-of-barges-in-a-dock-at-abadan-iran-12th-news-photo/136780310, accessed on 19th November 2020.
  15. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Peckett_and_Sons_railway_locomotives, accessed on 19th November 2020.
  16. https://www.wondersofworldengineering.com/part22.html#OilRefining1, accessed on 19th November 2020.
  17. https://www.wondersofworldengineering.com/part23.html#OilRefining2, accessed on 19th November 2020.
  18. https://abadan-ref.ir/en/about-us, accessed on 19th November 2020.
  19. http://www.qdl.qa/en/archive/81055/vdc_100000000239.0x00013e, accessed on 20th November 2020, full details are in Appendix 1, the document can be accessed using this link which is repeated in the Appendix.
  20. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masjed_Soleyman, accessed on 22nd November 2020.
  21. http://www.goftemanews.ir/احداث-خط-آهنی, accessed on 22nd November 2020.
  22. https://www.facebook.com/ahwazion20/videos/952199738538878/?sfnsn=scwspmo, accessed on 22nd November 2020.
  23. https://www.national-preservation.com/threads/bowaters-superior-and-triumph.245774, accessed on 22nd November 2020
  24. https://www.fourdees.co.uk/superior, accessed on 22nd November 2020.
  25. https://www.fourdees.co.uk/darkhazineh, accessed on 22nd November 2020.
  26. https://www.flickriver.com/photos/124446949@N06/sets/72157654112126260, accessed on 23rd November 2020.
  27. https://www.flickr.com/photos/124446949@N06/23052963480/in/album-72157654112126260, accessed on 23rd November 2020.
  28. https://www.flickr.com/photos/124446949@N06/22720381344, accessed on 23rd November 2020.
  29. https://ngrslibrary.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/tng56-feb-1971.pdf, accessed on 23rd November 2020.
  30. https://www.msabbekerk.nl/?p=3234, accessed on 24th November 2020.
  31. https://www.pinterest.fr/ABTIMES/abadan-in-the-1930s, accessed on 24th November 2020.
  32. Iain Logie; The Dar-i-Khazineh Fields Railway: A British Narrow Gauge Railway in Persia; in The Narrow Gauge Magazine No. 252, January 2019.
  33. http://www.borht.org.uk/WW1Corrigenda.pdf, accessed on 26th November 2020.
  34. Iain Logie provided access to the notes about the refinery railway at Abadan. They come from the BP Archive – File: ARC 44257. Iain Logies advises caution in reading these notes as they provide some detailed information which is different from other sources. This is particularly true in the details provided about motive power and rolling stock. [36]
  35. The Narrow Gauge Railway Society Library.
  36. A series of notes provided by the NGRS covering the railways of Iran, of which the NGRS says the following: ‘These research notes are intended to provide users of the Narrow Gauge Railway Society’s library with an introduction to the narrow gauge railways of Iran as a starting point for personal research projects. Additional, more specific sources for further research are noted in the text for each railway.’ 
  37. A.C. Baker & T.D. Civil; Fireless Locomotives; Oakwood Press, 1976.

Appendix 1

Military Report on The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company’s (South Iranian) Oilfield Area

Reference IOR/L/MIL/17/15/24
Date(s) 1940 (CE, Gregorian)
Written in English
Extent and Format 1 volume (69 folios)
Holding Institution British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers

A copy of this document is available via the Qatar National Library and can be accessed freely under an Open Government Licence. Full details of the licence can be found on the link below.

Rather than printing this document in full as part of this post, it can be viewed on the following link:                           http://www.qdl.qa/en/archive/81055/vdc_100000000239.0x00013e

Clergy and Railways!?!

I was asked to give a talk in 2020 to a clergy discussion group on the subject ‘Clergy and Trains’. This group had decided to have its annual outing on The East Lancs Railway and I was to be the after dinner ‘entertainment’! It did not work out, for obvious reasons in 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic altered everyone’s plans!

However, as a result of the request,  I began to study what was available online and in the press on this subject and the place it takes in the wide range of interests available to the clergy. … Whether my research counts as original research, I very much doubt. However, you might find what follows of interest!

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that the clergy love trains.”  So started an article by Ed Beavan in the Church Times on 15th June 2011, entitled ‘All Steamed Up About Trains’. [1] On the centenary of the birth of the Revd W. V. Awdry, creator of Thomas the Tank Engine, Ed Beavan asked, in his article in the Church Times, why so many clergy are railway buffs.

The statement, ‘so many clergy are railway buffs’, seems to me to be the kind of statement which becomes more and more true as time goes by. Once we begin to believe that it is true, we then begin to validate our own understanding and our own take on reality.

I know of no independently accredited study of clergy interests which proves that there is a greater preponderance of railway interest among the clergy when compared with other professions. Although there will probably be someone out there to correct me. Nor, I think is there a similar study which compares the range of different  interests held by the clergy and determines the most prevalent.

Model railways (and even railways themselves) are a relative latecomer in the various fields open to clergy to pursue. There are a number of good examples of clergy in previous generations who had interests beyond their own parish, church or flock.

Clergy with interests in Science

In Palaeontology, most early fossil workers were gentleman scientists and members of the clergy, who self‐funded their studies in this new and exciting field. [2]

Wikipedia lists Catholic Clergy who have made significant contributions to Science, [3] and there are many from other denominations too. Examples from across the spectrum of Clergy allegiance to denominations, include:

Roger Bacon – a medieval English philosopher and Franciscan friar who placed considerable emphasis on the study of nature through empiricism. [7]

Nicolaus Copernicus – a Renaissance-era mathematician, astronomer, and Catholic clergyman who formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than Earth at its centre. [4]

Gregor Mendel – a scientist, Augustinian friar and abbot of St. Thomas’ Abbey in Brno, Margraviate of Moravia. He gained posthumous recognition as the founder of the modern science of genetics. [5]

Georges Lemaître – a Belgian Catholic priest, mathematician, astronomer, and professor of physics at the Catholic University of Louvain. He was the first to identify that the recession of nearby galaxies can be explained by a theory of an expanding universe. [6]

John Michell – an English natural philosopher and clergyman provided pioneering insights iin astronomy, geology, optics, and gravitation. He was the first person known to: propose the existence of black holes; suggest that earthquakes traveled in (seismic) waves; explain how to manufacture an artificial magnet; and, recognise that double stars were a product of mutual gravitation …. [9]

The extensive Wikipedia list is merely a snapshot of a longer list which extends down to the present day. There have been many people who have combined their scientific eminence with a role as a member of the clergy. A prime example is Revd. John Polkinghorne, [10] Other in the contemporary age include Revd. Arthur Peacocke, the first director of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion and the first director of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion. [16] Others include: Canon Eric Jenkins, [17]; Revd. John Chalmers, moderator of the Church of Scotland and who has been involved with Church of Scotland projects such as Society Religion and Technology, [18] and Grasping the Nettle. [19]

There is also today, a society for priest-scientists. The Society of Ordained Scientists is a society within the Anglican Communion.  The organisation was founded at the University of Oxford by  Arthur Peacocke following the establishment of several other similar societies in the 1970s, in order to advance the field of religion and science. [11][15]

Other interests are also shared by clergy and the religious.

One particularly engaging study of clergy interests and proclivities was produced recently by Revd Fergus Butler-Gallie, “A Field Guide to the English Clergy: A Compendium of Diverse Eccentrics, Pirates, Prelates and Adventurers; All Anglican, Some Even Practising.” [12]

Waterstones comment: “Judge not, lest ye be judged. This timeless wisdom has guided the Anglican Church for hundreds of years, fostering a certain tolerance of eccentricity among its members. Good thing, too!” [13] Given my interests in blogging, railways and model railways, I have no alternative but to echo the sentiment. … “Yes, it is a good thing too!”

Butler-Gallie regales us with “eye-popping tales of lunacy, debauchery and depravity … he has done a splendid job presenting a smorgasbord of most peculiar parsons.” [14]

Among many other things, he tells us of a variety of different eccentrics who somehow found themselves within the ranks of the clergy. Examples include Revd Robert Hawker, Vicar of Morwenstow who was the first to institute a church Harvest Festival, but who at one time also used to dress as a mermaid. There was also an erstwhile Rector of Carrington whose fear of photography meant that he led services from behind a screen and who during a very long ministry built the largest folly ever constructed within these shores. Butler-Gallie goes on the describe a pantheon of eccentrics, nutty professors, bon viveurs, prodigal sons and rogues, all of whom appear to have somehow ended up either with their own parish or in the position of senior clergy. [12]

My current curate, while definitely not being an eccentric, has been an avid player of computer games, he plays regularly in a variety of different local bands, and he has taken up roller-blading. One Franciscan friar, Brother Gabriel, spends his spare time at a Bloomington, Indiana, Skate Park several times a week after participating in evening Mass and prayers. [8] 

This article is, in no way, a formal survey of clergy interests, and all these examples are, of course, very obviously anecdotal.

So, are there any grounds for believing that an interest in railways is more typical of the clergy than these other things?

I suspect not.

Nevertheless, there do seem to be a good number of clergy who are interested in both full-scale and model railways.

Clergy with an interest in Railways.

Font to Footplate – Teddy Boston’s autobiography completed while he was in hospital just before he died at the age of 61. [48]

Butler-Gallie directs our attention to one Revd. Teddy Boston. [12: p19-22] who was for 26 years Rector of Cadeby and Vicar of Sutton Cheney, in Leicestershire, (1960 – 1986). He built a light railway in the grounds of the Rectory at Cadeby. It was U-shaped, with a total length of 110 yards. He opened the line to passengers in 1963 [20] and named the line, “Cadeby Light Railway.”

Wikipedia tells us that Boston, “was a close friend of the Rev. W. V. Awdry OBE, creator of Thomas the Tank Engine, a kindred spirit with whom he shared many railway holidays. In Small Railway Engines (1967), Awdry relies on a trip the two made together to the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, and they appear in the book as ‘the Fat Clergyman’ (Boston) and ‘the Thin Clergyman’ (Awdry). [21]

The Rev Wilbert Awdry “controlling” Thomas on the Ffarquhar Branch in Railway Modeller, December 1959. [21]

Wilbert Awdry is perhaps the best know clergy railway fanatic across the world. The ‘Thomas’ franchise is still very popular on the 2020s and Covid-permitting brings in significant revenue for Heritage Railway organisations each year. Awdry himself wrote 26 books in “the Railway Series”. His son Christopher went on to publish a further 16 books between 1983 and 2011. The series has also spawned a number of related books and a significant number of TV/Video/DVD programmes in English. [22] and in many other languages. [23]

Another star in this firmament was Revd. Peter Denny who for many years was a regular feature in the Model Railway Press. [24] He was known alongside others for being at the forefront of the development of the hobby after the Second World War. He was known for modelling which exceeded the expectation of the times for realism. He innovated in the management of his model railway and the timetabling of train movements. His layout Buckingham went through a number of incarnations as it developed in size. There are a variety of books written about his modelling achievements [25] and he is still feted online as well. [26] His layout is described by Tony Wright as, “one of the most important layouts in the hobby’s history since WW2.” [27]

Rt. Revd Eric Treacy MBE was an English railway photographer and Anglican bishop. He was Suffragan Bishop of Pontefract and then Bishop of Wakefield (1968-1976). his passion outside of office was railway photography. The Treacy Collection of 12,000 photographs forms part of the National Railway Museum’s archive of over 1.4 million images. His published works were almost entirely railway photograph albums. [28] 

After a major, 11-year, £600,000 overhaul by volunteers on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, which was completed in 2010, you would have found 70 clergy in the carriages behind the newly named locomotive, ‘Eric Treacy’ on it inaugural run. The then Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt. Revd. Stephen Platten, held a re-dedication service for the train at Pickering Station on 27th August 2010. He was joined by Rt. Revd. Dr David Hope, former Archbishop of York, and Stephen Sorby, of the National Railway Chaplaincy. [32]

Revd Richard Patten, in the late 1960s, bought his own full-size steam locomotive, 73050, and so began the restoration of the Nene Valley Railway near Peterborough. [35]

An interest in railways is something that a number of clergy own up to when talking about themselves. For example:

The Revd. Timothy L’Estrange, MA, DipMin, FRSA, Vicar of North Acton and Surrogate: Spent his spare time as a first aider with the St John Ambulance Brigade, and pursuing a life-long interest in railways, especially the narrow gauge. His parish Reader also expresses an interest in dabbling ‘in the ancient art of railway modelling’. [33]

The Restless Rector, who is not keen to divulge his identity, wrote in his blog of his love of trains. In 2009, he said: “My own theory is that railways are all about order and communication. For some clergy the stress of parish life, and the number of awkward people that one sometimes has to deal with, can be forgotten about in the ordered environment of a model railway. Here you are in complete control, with no-one to answer back or contradict. Yes, trains sometimes get derailed, but no-one gets hurt. Some model railway enthusiasts run their trains to a strict timetable – another layer of order and control. But running a railway can be a very social activity. In real life trains are passed from the control of one signalbox to another with great care. Nowadays this is all computerised, but it used to be by a series of bell codes and telephones.” [34]

He goes on to ask: “Is there anything theological or biblical in all of this? I’m not sure, but maybe building and running a model railway reflects something of the creativeness of God, and his fatherly care.” [34] … In addition, he suggests that because railways are about communication – travel to a destination, the news and the post – then interest in railways may be found more often in the evangelical wing of the church where, “a high priority is put on taking the good news to new places.” [34]

His final comment is perhaps quite Anglican. Talking of his interest in railways, he says: “it’s just something I’ve grown up with and embraced for myself – rather like my faith I suppose.” [34]

In my own experience, interest in railways is relatively evenly spread between clergy colleagues and a particular churchpersonship does not seem to increase the likelihood of that interest. The ecumenical nature of railway interests is illustrated by two clerics invovled with the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland. …

Fr. Eddie Creamer (RPSI). [39]

Revd. Canon John McKegney (RPSI) [39]

Fr. Eddie Creamer, a part-time prison chaplain, aged 77, talked in 2017, when he had already been a member of the RPSI for nearly 40 years, of his fascination with trains from his childhood. He goes on to explain that, “When [he] was working in the Philippines [he] joined the RPSI just to get their magazine sent to [him], but when [he] returned to Ireland [he] came to Whitehead to take a few photographs of the trains. I asked if they needed anyone to help them and they haven’t let me go. And now I’m here once a week. I find it very relaxing.” [39]

In 2017, the Chair of the RPSI was Revd. Canon John McKegney, a retired Church of Ireland rector. In 2017, he had been involved with the RPSI for over half-a-century. [39]

Railways and Religion

The interaction between the church and the railways goes right back to the very early days of what was then a new mode of transport. Revd. Michael Ainsworth points out that “the coming of the railways in the 19th century excited deep passions among churchmen, as many novels of the time illustrate. … For some the speed, the smoke, the ‘blot on the landscape’, were unnatural and diabolical – particularly when Sunday trains broke the sabbath commandment. The vast church of St Bartholomew, Brighton was built on a commanding site, and allegedly on the dimensions of Noah’s Ark, as a witness to those travelling down for ‘dirty weekends’.” [29]

He goes on to say: “Clergy joined with landowners in resisting encroachment. (They had limited success – note, for example, how the line curves round Sacred Trinity Church in Salford.)But others hailed railways as a godsend and a sign of divinely-blessed progress (despite blighting the urban landscape). … By the latter part of the century, they had certainly revolutionised episcopal ministry. The late 19th-century renewal of enthusiasm for confirmation would not have been possible without the railways. For example, of James Fraser, Bishop of Manchester 1870-85, it was written he spent the week travelling through his diocese, so that there were few days in which he was not somewhere on the railways.” [29]

So, why are a number of clergy interested in railways?

Revd. Michael Ainsworth again: “It has often been said that the reason why some clergy – probably male rather than female – and others, including church musicians, are keen on railways is because they are reassuringly ‘closed systems’, and Awdry’s setting of his railways on the Isle of Sodor confirms this. Lines and boundaries are set, detailed timetables can be pored over, structures are clear: a joy for those who run model railways in their attics for their own pleasure, or larger versions in their gardens to raise funds. … This joy is less pronounced now that the real railways have been franchised and fragmented. Responsibility for trains, track, signalling, stations and all else is dispersed among many bodies – providing more benefit to lawyers than to passengers …‘customers’.” [29]

The Rt Revd Michael Bourke comments about 19th Century Clergy in the Church Times Letters page in July 2011, that, “Many feared the pace of change, and some religious conservatives denounced the new world, including trains, as the work of the devil. In that context, clerical railway fever (across churchmanship divides) signified an affirmation of modernity. Both railwaymen and churchmen (mostly men in both cases) were re-engineering the nation with their networks of new lines and junctions, new parishes, church schools, and forms of spirituality.” [30]

He goes on to say: “For broad churchmen, the railways spelled enlightened progress; for Evangelicals, the new emphasis on punctuality embodied the Protestant work ethic; and for Catholics, the shared wisdom and co-operation of engineers, locomotive crews, and signalmen represented the mystery of a dedicated priesthood. No wonder the great stations were compared with cathedrals! … Clergy’s instinctive sympathy with this world led to support for the people who ran it, in what amounted to early forms of industrial mission.” [30]

He continues, in his letter, to draw parallels with “a similar clerical enthusiasm for the brave new world of computers.” [30]

It seems that, in the early days of the railways, at least, a clergyperson’s attitude to the newfangled railways said something significant, and provided one uniting factor in the midst of clerical division. However, this is not enough to justify a modern clergy interest in the railways.

Rev Clifford Owen was longing eagerly for his retirement at the age of 70. He was delighted to be surprised by his retirement gift from his last parish in Brugge and Oostende in Belgium: a 5 year membership of the Nene Valley Railway. He describes his joy at the gift and goes on to describe some of the pleasures of being involved with the life of that heritage line near Peterborough and particularly the connection he discovered with his grandfather through undertaking a job that his grandfather would have undertaken 70 years previously. [31]

Revd Preb Mike Kneen.

Revd. Alan Newman. [41]

Revd. Preb. Mike Kneen who retired as Rector of Leominster in September 2020 has had a lifelong interest in steam locomotives. His farewell statement on the Leominster Priory Website says nothing of this interest but it is accompanied by a picture of him as an Engine Driver on the Severn Valley Railway – a pastime which he enjoyed throughout his ministry.

The former vicar of Christchurch, Bradford on Avon, Revd. Alan Newman was another significant railway photographer who became part of the photographic triumvirate of himself, Ivo Peters and Norman Lockett, and he was friendly with two other notable railway clerics that we have already encountered above: the Rev. W Awdry and the Rev Teddy Boston. His story is told by Colin Maggs in a book published by Amberley Press. [40]

Newman was born and brought up in Bath near to the Great Western Railway, which sparked a lifelong interest in steam trains in particular. He took extensive trips throughout the country, hoping to see a train of every class in Britain, recording his finds as detailed notes supported by photographs. [41]

David Self in the Church Times in January 2008 asked the same question as this article: ‘What draws clerics to railways?’ [35] It is worth quoting parts of that piece here.

Self says: “In the 1950s, most enthusiasts were merely trainspotters. Folklore suggests that a few clerics could always then be found on the ends of platforms at Crewe, York, and (for some mysterious reason) Worcester Shrub Hill.” [35]

He continues: “There was nothing comic in the ’50s about being interested in trains. Boys wanted to become engine-drivers. In the 1952 Ealing comedy The Titfield Thunderbolt, it was perfectly natural that the leading light in the village’s attempts to preserve its branch line should be the parson, the Revd Samuel Weech. Over the next ten years, however, the railway enthusiast became a figure of fun: a gormless, spotty loner, obsessed by numbers and timetables, and always clutching Biro and notebook.” [35]

In research reported in ‘Trends in Cognitive Sciences’ in June 2002, [42] there was an attempt to define trainspotters as people with a form of Asperger syndrome, as they had a strong desire to order the world. In 2001, the National Autistic Society conducted research among children with autism to explore their frequent attraction to Thomas the Tank Engine. “Among the survey’s findings was the way that many children with autism regard Thomas much as others cherish a comfort blanket. They seem to appreciate the clear plot lines of the stories, the predictability of the characterisation, and the fact that, if something goes wrong, it will be put right by the conclusion. They also seem[ed] fascinated by the engines’ faces.” [35]

David Self says that, “this is not to draw cheap parallels or to make bad jokes about clerics and those with autism or Asperger syndrome. Even so, it is possible to see both ecclesiastical and psychological reasons why watching trains should appeal especially to those in ministry.” [35]

To the cognoscenti … railways are predictable. For every delay, there is a cause. It is a world of facts and realities, a world where (with luck) it is possible to see all — even if it is only every locomotive of a given type. It is the perfect antidote to the often more nebulous realm of theology.” [35]

Similarly, for the clerical railway modeller, the layout in the loft presents an opportunity to create a parallel world, where everything runs to order, and at times and in ways you dictate — unlike normal parish life.” [35]

It was David Self’s article that pointed me to an American website (www.steamingpriest.com) that revels something of the breadth of interest among Roman Catholic priests, Protestant ministers, and Rabbis in ‘playing trains’. [36] On that website, as well as seeing something of the scope of his hobby, we are introduced by Fr. Fanelli to his interest in live steam modelling. His interest in railway modelling developed throughout his ministry from first, N scale, through to large scale, live steam models. [37] 

David Self reminds us that the former Chancellor Dennis Healey once stressed the importance of a politician’s hinterland — an interest in areas other than politics. Winston Churchhill had his painting, Ted Heath had his sailing and music, and John Major his cricket, and Gordon Brown, an interest in soccer. Lord Healey enjoyed photography and literature. Self says that, “Such interests are not just a means of escape or relaxation, important as these may be. They are evidence of a rounded personality.” [35]

That idea of a ‘hinterland’ to describe interests outside of ‘work’ is useful when thinking of clergy interests. David Self suggests that a ‘hinterland’ of interests outside of the theological and ecclesiastical is essential for clergy, “not just for their own sanity, but to help them relate more easily to the world outside the Church. It can also contribute to developing an inner calm. For some, their hinterland will be their family. For others, it will be cricket — a world where, for a few hours, you are isolated on the pitch and unable to be got at. Many have found a similar escape at the end of a station platform.” [35]

There is more to an interest in railways than trainspotting but I think that Self’s conclusion to his article is apposite to all interest in railways: “Why mock such happiness? Trainspotting must be one of the most harmless and inexpensive hobbies. It can be pursued alone or with friends, and is surprisingly democratic. Your profession (or lack of one) is irrelevant: it is the trains that matter.” [35]

Although Nicholas Whittaker‘s book, “Platform Souls” is purportedly about trainspotting, it acknowledges a wider interest in the realm of railways and, unsurprisingly, within its pages we also encounter the clergy.

He describes an open day at a railway depot. “Hauling myself up into the cab of E3003 . . . I bump into my first clergyman. He is semi-disguised in trainers and jeans, but his tweedy jacket and dog collar are a dead giveaway. Perched in the driver’s seat, he . . . whistles high-speed fantasies through his teeth.” [38: p221-222]

Whittaker manages to capture some of the factors that seem inexorably to draw some individuals to the railway. “Trainspotting: here was a real boy’s hobby with its own gaberdine camaraderie. It was dirty and mechanical, proudly masculine and solid, yet at the same time … romantic and educational.” [38: p19]

He talks of a time when as a young boy he first managed to slip unnoticed through a small door in the side of one of Burton-on-Trent MPD’s two roundhouses: “In that moment, you slipped from a fresh-smalling open-air into a strange sepulchral atmosphere, silent but for the his of escaping steam. This was the first time I’d been so close to a railway engine and, without a station platform to bring me level, I stood feeling small and awed by the scale of it.” [38: p23]

One ‘interesting’ footnote is the range of society stars that could be seen while standing at the end of a station platform but of even greater significance to a young Nicholas Whittaker, was the possibility that you might encounter one of the dignitaries of the railway interest establishment such as Cecil J. Allen or C. Hamilton-Ellis. In the light of the purpose of this article, it is worth recording that Whittaker goes on to say: “The one we all wanted to meet was… Eric Treacy, Bishop of Wakefield. We knew that, for some reason, railways attracted the clergy, but a bishop was something special!” [38: p43]

My own interest in railways and railway modelling stems, I believe, from a childhood fascination with trains and from a pre-ordination career in civil engineering. My interest in railways is pretty eclectic, but I accept that for many people it will be perceived as a niche interest.

If you were to read my blog you would find that I have a particular interest in Secondary French railways and tramways, many of which fell into disuse soon after the Second World War but whose routes can still be followed through the French countryside by car and bicycle. Jo and I have done just that in a variety of contexts in Southern France on regular Autumn visits. [45][46]

You will find that I have developed a childhood interest in the 3ft Gauge railways of Ireland into a series of narratives following the routes of those old lines which disappeared in the early second-half of the 20th Century. [44]

You will see that one seminal moment for me was travelling on the ‘Lunatic Express’ in East Africa, and you can, if you wish, follow a full journey along the line from Mombasa to Kampala and beyond. [43]

You will, I hope, be delighted to follow the story of the building of an N-Gauge model railway in the vicarage loft. [47] At times these interests have been all-consuming, they certainly have allowed me to escape from times when ministry has been particularly stressful.

A few pictures of my own layout in the vicarage loft bring the main narrative of this article to a close. The layout focuses on the railways in and around the city of Hereford. Sadly, the ‘day job’ has meant little progress on the layout in the past few years. as retirement beckons there will be a significant effort involved in deconstructing what has been built  …Building the Baseboards!Laying the track!Hand-made, card Coaling Stage – Hereford MPDHereford, Barrscourt Station Footbridge under construction.Hereford, Barrscourt Railway Station in its location on the layout.The station approach, showing the footbridge in position.One of Hereford Station’s two signal boxes also of a card construction. Beyond are the two large goods sheds which framed the station approach from the North – these are also of card constriction. The view from the station yard across the allotments to Aylestone Hill.The view across the station yard to Aylestone Hill and bridge.Aylestone Hill Signal Box and carriage sidings.

Conclusion

It seems that whether a cleric’s interest in railways comes from a past outside the church, or is borne in the midst of theological formation, it has some significant things going for it. In particular, like many other interests, it forms an alternative world to the world of work.

I’m not sure that, ultimately, any further justification is required.

References

  1. Ed Bevan; All Steamed Up About Trains; Church Times, 15th June 2011; https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2011/17-june/features/all-steamed-up-about-trains, accessed on 9th February 2020.
  2. Russell J. Garwood, Imran A. Rahman, Mark D. Sutton; From Clergy to Computers; Geology Today, Volume 26, Issue 3, 2010; p96-100; https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2451.2010.00753.x, accessed on 5th November 2020.
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Catholic_clergy_scientists, accessed on 5th November 2020.
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolaus_Copernicus, accessed on 5th November 2020.
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregor_Mendel, accessed on 5th November 2020.
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Lemaître, accessed on 5th November 2020.
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Bacon, accessed on 5th November 2020.
  8. https://www.osvnews.com/2019/04/07/what-clergy-and-religious-do-in-their-spare-time, accessed on 5th November 2020.
  9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Michell, accessed on 5th November 2020.
  10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Polkinghorne, accessed on 5th November 2020.
  11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_of_Ordained_Scientists, accessed on 6th November 2020.
  12. Revd Fergus Butler-Gallie; A Field Guide to the English Clergy: A Compendium of Diverse Eccentrics, Pirates, Prelates and Adventurers; All Anglican, Some Even Practising; Oneworld Publications, London, 2018.
  13. https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-field-guide-to-the-english-clergy/the-revd-fergus-butler-gallie/9781786074416, accessed on 6th November 2020.
  14. Sebastian Shakespeare; The Daily Mail, 2018.
  15. https://ordsci.org, accessed on 7th November 2020.
  16. https://ordsci.org/history, accessed on 7th November 2020.
  17. https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2007/9-february/news/uk/canon-eric-neil-jenkins, accessed on 7th November 2020.
  18. https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/speak-out/science-and-technology, accessed on 7th November 2020.
  19. https://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/news-and-events/news/2016/moderator-why-i-support-grasping-the-nettle, accessed on 7th November 2020.
  20. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_Boston, accessed on 7th November 2020.
  21. http://www.pegnsean.net/~railwayseries/awdryobit.htm, accessed on 7th November 2020.
  22. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_books_in_The_Railway_Series#Thomas_the_Tank_Engine, accessed on 7th November 2020.
  23. https://ttte.fandom.com/wiki/Other_Languages, accessed on 7th November 2020.
  24. For example: Peter Denny; The Railway Modeller Magazine July and August 1958.
  25. For example: Peter Denny; Peter Denny’s Buckingham Branch Lines: 1945-1967 Pt. 1; Peter Denny’s Buckingham Branch Lines: 1967-1993 Pt. 2; Wild Swan, Oxfordshire; 1993, 1994
  26. For example: https://highlandmiscellany.com/tag/peter-denny, accessed on 7th November 2020.
  27. Tony Wright – https://www.world-of-railways.co.uk/model-railways/famous-model-train-layouts-and-their-creators–part-1, accessed on 7th November 2020.
  28. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Treacy, accessed on 7th November 2020.
  29. Revd. Michael Ainsworth; Thoughts on railways, clergy, religion and the law; in Law & Religion UK, 17 April 2015; https://lawandreligionuk.com/2016/04/18/thoughts-on-railways-clergy-religion-and-the-law, accessed on 7th November 2020.
  30. Rt. Revd. Michael Bourke; https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2011/8-july/comment/letters-to-the-editor/clergy-who-fall-in-love-with-railways-article-was-on-the-right-track, accessed on 7th November 2020.
  31. Rev Clifford Owen; Retired Clergy Don’t Run Out Of Steam; Diocese of Europe; https://europe.anglican.org/main/latest-news/post/994-retired-clergy-donat-run-out-of-steam, accessed on 7th November 2020.
  32. Clergy carrying train tribute to former railway fan vicar; The Northern Echo, 2010; https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/local/northyorkshire/8358957.clergy-carrying-train-tribute-former-railway-fan-vicar, accessed on 7th November 2020.
  33. https://sites.google.com/site/stgabrielacton/our-priests, accessed on 7th November 2020.
  34. http://coulsdonrectory.blogspot.com/2009/06/clergy-and-trains.html, accessed on 7th November 2020.
  35. David Self; What draws clerics to railways?; Church Times , 30th January 2008; https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2008/1-february/comment/what-draws-clerics-to-railways, accessed on 8th November 2020.
  36. https://www.steamingpriest.com, accessed on 8th November 2020.
  37. https://www.steamingpriest.com/about/fathers-rr-story, accessed on 8th November 2020.
  38. Nicholas Whittaker; Platform Souls; Orion, London, 1995 (Revised Edition, 2015).
  39. https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/life/features/love-of-railways-sent-clerics-off-on-a-totally-new-track-36257796.html, accessed on 8th November 2020.
  40. https://www.amberley-books.com/discover-books/transport-industry/railways/the-life-of-a-steam-railway-photographer.html, accessed on 8th November 2020.
  41. https://www.wiltshiretimes.co.uk/news/5072513.with-god-and-gwr, accessed on 8th November 2020.
  42. Simon Baron-Cohen; The extreme male brain theory of autism; in Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 6, Issue 6, 1st June 2002, p248-254.
  43. https://rogerfarnworth.com/category/railways-blog/uganda-and-kenya-railways.
  44. https://rogerfarnworth.com/category/railways-blog/ireland.
  45. https://rogerfarnworth.com/category/railways-blog/railways-and-tramways-around-nice.
  46. https://rogerfarnworth.com/category/railways-blog/railways-and-tramways-of-south-western-france.
  47. https://rogerfarnworth.com/category/railways-blog/model-railway.
  48. Revd. E. R. Boston & P.D. Nicholson; Font to Footplate; Line One Publications, 1986.

Remembrance Sunday 2020

Remembrance Sunday

On Sunday 8th November, Remembrance Sunday, all our churches would usually have been full of people remembering, along with millions around our world, the many women and men who have given their lives in the different conflicts of the past 110 and more years.  People who either by choice, or through compulsion, risked their lives in the pursuit of peace and justice.  We owe our freedom to many such people who have stood up against tyranny and oppression – to people who risked everything, laying themselves on the line.

Things are very different this year! We enter another national lockdown because of Coronavirus on Thursday 5th November and our churches will now only be open for private prayer for the next few weeks.

But we will all remember. …. Some will be able to attend church on 8th November, others will want to remain at home. We have sent out Remembrance Sunday prayer cards to people who usually attend our churches or who receive mailings. The prayers included here are specifically for Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day. As you use them, you might want to have a poppy to hand.

As I said in our Parish magazine this month:

Our remembering will … include the memories of those who have served on the battlefield or in conflict zones around our world will no doubt justifiably tell and re-tell stories of valour and bravery. For those who served, >remembering= will also bring to the front of the mind stories of those who did not return. Remembering brings to the surface the naked fear of conflict, the pain of loss and a real sense of comradeship.

 But remembering is so very important to us all, not just on Remembrance Sunday or Armistice Day, but in all areas of our lives. Remembering leads to us telling our stories. Both as individuals and communities. And as we tell our story, we reaffirm our roots, and we define who we are. We put our own lives in context. For today=s world, where we define ourselves not so much by where we come from as by our networks of friends and acquaintances can so easily become a rootless place where we do not know who we really are.

Our shared memories are our key to understanding ourselves. And our collective memory needs to be sustained by hearing the stories of our past. By hearing from those who went out from us here to serve in different arenas in our world. These stories, these people are so much a part of who we are here … today. They contribute to our history, they strengthen our community spirit.

Our stories are important. Remembering is vital. Nowhere is this more true than in relation to the conflicts with which we have been involved as a nation. Failure to engage with and learn from our past is the height of modern arrogance. We have to hear again the stories of conflict, of bravery, of pain and loss. And we need to allow those stories, … that remembering, to change us now. It must inform our thinking about the future, it must be allowed to change our wills and our actions.

 For in today’s world, we are all called to take new & different risks. To act for justice, for peace in society, in the world around us. To work for racial justice, to fight discrimination, to engage with injustice in whatever form it might arise.”

We have the promise of God in Christ: “Work,” says Jesus, “for the coming of God’s kingdom and I will be with you always.” God does not leave us alone to face new challenges, to risk our lives in the cause of his Kingdom. He promises always to be with us. So let us covenant again, as people of different races, ages, interests, appearances, and with different views, choose to live together in harmony, to work within our own communities, groups and congregations, for peace, justice and understanding.

Prayers

A prayer of commemoration for the fallen

Father of all, remember your holy promise, and look with love on all your people, living and departed.

On this day we especially ask that you would hold forever all who have suffered during war, those who returned scarred by warfare, those who waited anxiously at home, and those who returned wounded, and disillusioned; those who mourned, and those communities that were diminished and suffered loss.

Remember too those who acted with kindly compassion, those who bravely risked their own lives for their comrades, and those who in the aftermath of war, worked tirelessly for a more peaceful world.

And as you remember them, remember us, O Lord; grant us peace in our time and a longing for the day when people of every language, race, and nation will be brought into the unity of Christ’s kingdom. This we ask in the name of the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A prayer for World peace
O God of the nations,
as we look to that day when you will gather people
from north and south, east and west,
into the unity of your peaceable Kingdom,
guide with your just and gentle wisdom all who take counsel
for the nations of the world,
that all your people may spend their days in security, freedom, and peace, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayers with poppies – suitable for children, as well as adults!

All you need for this simple prayer is a poppy.

Look at your poppy. Poppies are bright and cheerful flowers: give thanks to God for the lives of those who have died in war, remembering all the joy they brought to families and friends, and all the good things they did for their home and their country.

Then look at the red petals: red reminds us of danger and harm. Ask God to be close to those who are still facing danger each day, to give courage to the armed forces, and compassion to all who help others.

Place your whole hand over the poppy: poppies are also fragile and need to be handled gently. God cares for those who are hurting and those who are sad. Ask God to comfort all who are grieving the loss of someone they love.

Finally place a finger on the centre of the poppy: ask God to help you play your part in working for peace in the world.

 

Colonel Stephens and Tonbridge, Kent

A very short article in “The Colonel”, the quarterly journal of the Colonel Stephens Society reminded me of something that I have known for a time but about which I had not really made the connection with my family history. The short article by Tom Burnham was really little more than a note to go with scanned images from the Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser of Friday 6th April 1928. [1]The Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser – Friday 6th April 1928 – source British Newspaper Archive. [2]

My grandparent’s house in 2020, very little different from what I remember it back in 1970, (Google Streetview).

My maternal grandparents, Arthur and Ivy Norton, had their first and last homes in Tonbridge, and only a short distance from Salford Terrace. I remember visiting my maternal grandmother as a child and on one occasions staying with her when my father changed his employment from Hull, East Yorkshire to Chelmsford, Essex and we had to give up our house in Hull 6 weeks or so before our new house in Braintree, Essex was completed and ready for us to live in. For one summer, Mum and the 4 of us who were children lived on 22, Meadow Road in Tonbridge.

The area immediately South of Tonbridge Railway Station was developed in the late 19th Century. With housing to the East of the A21/A26 and Waterloo Road following in the first quarter of the 20th Century. The first OS Map below shows the area at the end of the 19th Century (the mapping dates from 1895). The second OS Map was published in 1960 with mapping dating from 1958.

Tonbridge Railway Station and Tonbridge’s Southern quarter in 1895. [3]

Salford Terrace and Meadow Road – mapping dating from 1958. [4]

The location of Ashby House, 1, Priory Road in 2019, (Google Streetview).

Salford Terrace in 2019, (Google Streetview)

Stephens’ Offices in 2008 (c) Tony Mortlock. [5]

Colonel Stephens rented rooms for both his home and his office at Ashby House, 1, Priory Road in Tonbridge, close to Quarry Hill Road. As his business developed, he took out a lease on an office on the opposite side of Quarry Hill Road at 23, Salford Terrace, in 1900. The rooms in Ashby House and the offices in Salford Terrace were his permanent base throughout his life. [5] The premises in Salford Terrace are still in use, they were towards the South end of the Terrace. Ashby House is long-gone.

The property where his offices were based in Salford Terrace is one of the few premises that have not been extended towards the street. Little has changed in the outward appearance of Salford Terrace since Colonel Stephens’ day. Little more than the change of shop names and their name panels.

Stephen’s offices in 2019! (Google Streetview).

References

  1. Tom Burnham; The Colonel; published by the Colonel Stephens Society, Volume 140, p18.
  2. The Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser – Friday 6th April 1928 – source British Newspaper Archive, accessed on 28th August 2020.
  3. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=51.19021&lon=0.26897&layers=168&b=1, accessed on 28th August 2020.
  4. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=51.19021&lon=0.26897&layers=170&b=1, accessed on 28th August 2020.
  5. http://www.tonbridgehistory.org.uk/people/colonel-stephens.htm, accessed on 12th September 2020.

All Saints’ Day – Matthew 5:1-12 & Revelation 7: 9-17

The reading from Revelation set for All Saints’ Day paints a vivid picture of the future – looking forward, imagining an ultimate destination for all of the saints, for all of us.

The technical term for the book of Revelation is that it is ‘eschatological.’ Eschatology is the study of the last things. Under its umbrella in Christian thinking we could place the coming of God’s Kingdom, the return of Christ, immortality and eternal life, judgement, heaven and hell – perhaps too, what we might understand by ‘Christian hope’. The passage in Revelation is a vision of what the future might hold.

The book of Revelation is written to a church suffering persecution. That church found the imagery of Revelation dramatic and hope-giving. Words of hope spoken to people in the midst of suffering.

The author is encouraging their first hearers to believe that there is something more than the difficult things they are currently experiencing. That ultimately, the faithful will have a place in a new heaven and a new earth. The author hopes that such knowledge will change their listeners understanding of the present.

We are now entering the time in the Christian year when our eyes are turned to look forward. Where the Gospel and our other readings look ahead – not just to the Incarnation – the first coming of Christ – but to Christ’s return. We will hear words on Jesus’ lips that promise his return, parables that encourage us to be ready for that return. A return that has not taken place and which, at times, it seems might never take place.

It is true that all that the Gospels promise us has not yet been fulfilled. The death and resurrection of Christ are at the heart of our faith. Jesus has inaugurated his Kingdom here on earth. But we know that everything that the Kingdom stands for seems as far away today as it must have done in Jesus’ day.

As we listen to Jesus words over the coming weeks, we will hear him emphasising that we are living in what we might call ‘in-between times’. As Jesus speaks, he seems to say, “My death and resurrection will inaugurate the Kingdom, but its final fruition is dependent on my return.”

He wants his listeners to know that their lives are lived within an on-going flow of history which reflects the purposes of God, a history which will come to an end in God’s good time. He wants them, and us, to realise that while we cannot know the time and place – God will bring all things to a final conclusion.

We live in the ‘now and not yet’ of God’s salvation history; looking forward with real hope to a time when history will finally be resolved, when Christ will come again. But living now with the reality of a world of complications, of joy and sadness, of hope and disappointment; a world where God is seen most clearly in the lives of those who love and serve him – even when serving God brings persecution and trouble. And so, John, in his epistle, says:

“Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when Christ is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.”

We are being transformed, made new, through our experiences in this life. Day by day, God is working that transformation in us. Our Gospel reading gives a shape to the transformed lives we are to live as God’s saints here in the present:

“Blessed,” says Jesus, “are those who are aware of the poverty of their own spirit – who realise just how easily good motives turn to bad. Blessed are those who mourn over their own weakness. Blessed are those who choose a path of meekness rather than power and self-aggrandisement. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. Blessed are all these because in doing so they will be changed, they will be renewed. The very characteristics that they long for, they will have. Blessed they will be, as they are merciful to others, as the purity of their motives and their heart becomes clear. Blessed they will be as they become courageous peacemakers.”

“Most blessed will they be,” says Jesus, “when they share something of my sufferings.” For through those sufferings they will be transformed and truly be the salt of the earth, lights in the darkness of a world which is longing for the acceptance and the love of God.

Co. Donegal Railways, Ireland – Part 6 – Strabane to Letterkenny (Part C – Convoy to Letterkenny)

As we noted at the start of the two previous articles about this line, Wikipedia gives us a very short history of the line from Strabane to Letterkenny and provides a single image – the Railway Clearing House map with stations in Strabane and Letterkenny:

The Railway Clearing House map with stations in Strabane and Letterkenny. [3]

This series of articles seeks to expand our understanding of the route of the various Co. Donegal Railways through combining old images and modern views. Satellite images also give us a good understanding of what remains of the infrastructure of these lines.

The previous articles about this line which cover the length from Strabane to Convoy can be found by following these links:

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2020/07/27/co-donegal-railways-ireland-part-4-strabane-to-letterkenny-part-a-strabane-to-raphoe

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2020/10/05/co-donegal-railways-ireland-part-5-strabane-to-letterkenny-part-b-raphoe-to-convoy

A Journey Along the Line – Strabane to Letterkenny – Part C – Convoy to Letterkenny

We return to Convoy Railway Station which sits to the East of the Village. While we are waiting for our train, a railcar from Letterkenny stops at the station.

Convoy Railway Station in 1959 (c) Roger Joanes, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) Railcar No. 20 from Letterkenny stops at Convoy. [14]

I have found two further pictures of Convoy Railway Station and its site in Anthony Burges’ book, ‘The Swilly and The Wee Donegal’. Both of these photos were taken in 1957 and were either taken by the author or are from his collection. [8: p34 and 35]

The second photograph [8: p35] shows the goods shed, water tower and a number of sidings, but only the goods shed was standing in 2010 when Google Streetview cameras visited the site.

Convoy Railway Station Goods Shed is shown to the right of center in this image taken in 2010 (Google Streetview).

The line out of Convoy Railway station travelling to the West crossed the R236 at a shallow angle protected by Crossing Gates. The Crossing keeper’s cottage (or Gatehouse) is still standing. It has been extended to better be used as a modern family home.

The Gatehouse and the road crossing to the West of Convoy Railway Station. The photograph looks from the Northeast, (Google Streetview).

The Gatehouse guards the route of the old railway which ran just to the right of it in this picture. The image looks from the West back along the old line. (Google Streetview).

The next image shows the centre of Convoy on a Google Maps satellite image. The approximate route of the old railway is shown as a red line running across the image.

The approximate route of the old line through Convoy (Google Maps) The location of the Gatehouse is marked close to the centre of the image. To the West, the line passed under the two bridges which I have numbered 1 and 2 in black type. Clicking on the image will enlarge it sufficiently to allow these locations to be identified easily.

Shortly after crossing the R236, trains passed under the first of two road-over-rail bridges in Convoy. This bridge carried the Letterkenny Road. The railway cutting has been filled-in and there is no evidence of the bridge in the early 21st century.

The old railway cutting has been infilled and to the West of the location of the bridge it is now used as a car park for one of the local churches. It is shown here in 2010, (Google Streetview).

This image is one taken by Kerry Doherty and kindly sent by him to me by email. It shows the same location in the years following the Google Streetview image. [6]

A short distance further along the line a bridge carried a lane heading Northwest from Convoy towards Falmore.

This first view shows the bridge parapet on the East side of the bridge in January 2010 (Google Streetview). The parapet is in a very poor condition.

This later view, a picture taken by Kerry Doherty, shows that some local pride has resulted, more recently in a cosmetic refurbishment of the old parapet. [6]

To the West of the old bridge the cutting is still infilled and no sign of a bridge parapet can be found.

Looking West along the line of the old railway from the road to Falmore in 2010, (Google Streetview).

Heading away from Convoy the line quickly turned to the North as shown on the next satellite image. It soon crossed the road to Falmore once again, this time at level. The Gatehouse for this road-crossing is indicated on the satellite image and can be seen in the Google Streetview image which follows.

The old line to the West of Convoy, (Google Maps).

Kelly’s Gatehouse on the road to Falmore. The line ran to the right of the cottage in this image, (Google Streetview).

The line now heads in a northerly direction as the satellite images show.

The first length to the North of the Gatehouse on the road between Convoy and Falmore, (Google Maps).

The second length north of the road, (Google Maps).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The line continued in a northerly direction passing over the Cloghcore to Cornagilagh road, (Google Maps).

 

Further North, the line crossed the road from Cloghcore to Cornagilagh. Either side of this road, the line was on an embankment which has now been removed but the bridge which carried it over the road is still in place – an elegant small stone arch bridge bears excellent testimony to the route of the old railway. The location of the old bridge is at the point where the line (red) crossed the road (light blue) in the bottom left of the adjacent satellite image.

Photographs of this bridge follow below. Two of which are taken from Google Streetview and one sent to me in an email by Kerry Doherty. The light in his photograph shows the bridge at its best.

Very soon after crossing this bridge, trains entered Cornagillagh Halt which was only a short distance from the hamlet/village which bears the same name.

The rail-over-road bridge on the …. road. This image shows the bridge from the Southwest in March 2011, (Google Streetview).

The same bridge also viewed in March 2011 from the Northeast (Google Streetview).

A much more recent picture taken of the same bridge by Kerry Doherty. [6] Kerry comments: ‘The over bridge just before Cornagillagh halt. The embankment at either side has been taken away but the bridge has been kept..’

The next length of the old line is featured in this satellite image which shows it passing in cutting under two road bridges marked ‘3’ and ‘4’ either side of and close to Cornagillagh Halt, (Google Maps).

The road-over-rail bridge close to Cornagillagh Halt is marked on the Google Maps image as No. ‘3’. The vertical alignment of the road gives away the bridge location. The image is a telephoto lens view because of a slight glitch in the Google Streetview image sequence close to the bridge location. This picture was taken from the Southeast in December 2009 in what looks like late afternoon sunshine, (Google Streetview). This image shows the same bridge (No. ‘3’) from the Northwest just a few weeks after the image which precedes it. The road alignment changes at the bridge and on this image it is easier to see the bridge parapets,(Google Streetview).

The next few photographs come from the location of the road-over-rail bridge that I have marked ‘4’ on the satellite image. All of them were taken as part of Google’s survey in March 2011.

Bridge numbered ‘4’ viewed looking North along the road, (Google Streetview)

Then same bridge but viewed from the North on the same day, (Google Streetview).

This picture shows the formation of the old railway between the bridge numbered ‘3’ by me and bridge ‘4’, (Google Streetview).

Looking to the Northeast, the formation of the Strabane and Letterkenny Railway has been overtaken by small trees and shrubs. (Google Streetview).

Kerry Doherty comments that this is a view of the bridge close to the site of Cornagillagh Halt (now impossible to photograph as its so overgrown). Pictured is former railcar driver Michael Gallen (recently dec’d, and one of the very last railcar drivers). The picture comes was taken by Dave Bell and comes from the CDR visitors guide book. [6][4]

The old railway route begins to turn North again soon after passing under the road-bridge and heads for Glenmaquin (Glerundorum) station.

Beyond the road-bridge the old formation turns to the North once again, (Google Maps).

The line South of Gerundoram Railway Station. The location of the station can still be picked out at the top of this satellite image, (Google Maps).

The adjacent satellite image shows the route of the old line to the South of Glenmaquin (Glerundorum) Station. The first location to note is the at-level crossing of a local road towards the bottom of the image. The gatehouse can be picked out just to the West of the route of the old line.

The Gatehouse (N0. 57) has been extended to make it suitable as a small modern dwelling. and pictures from Google Streetview show it in really good condition with well-tended gardens.

The line shows up as a tree-lined track crossing the road at this point. The third image below is the closest that Google Streetview gets to providing a view along the length of the line North of the Level-Crossing towards Glenmaquin Railway Station.

 

The old line passes to the East of the old crossing cottage (No. 57) which has been refurbished and extended, (Google Streetview). This view is taken looking from the Northwest across the line of the old railway which ran on the far side of the crossing cottage.This view shows the same location but from the road to the Southeast of the Railway Crossing. The line ran in front of the cottage in this view, (Google Streetview).Looking North along the old railway from the Crossing-keepers cottage, (Google Streetview).

A short distance further North trains entered Glenmaquin (Glerundorum) Station, shown here on the old GSGS mapping from the 1940s. …Glenmaquin (Glerundorum) Station was location close to a road junction and was framed by a road-over-rail bridge to its Northwest. [2]

Kerry Doherty has kindly provided a view across the old station site which was taken in the early 21st century.

The old station site taken from the fields to the Northwest, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6] The old platform is still clearly visible in this photograph.

Google Streetview shows that the space between the railway station and the road-over bridge is, in the 21st century, filled by a modern home. That property sits just out of view to the left of Kerry Doherty’s picture above.Glenmaquin Station, (Google Streetview).The road bridge just North of the Station, (Google Streetview).A much earlier view of Glenmaquin Railway Station which comes from the Dave Bell collection, taken from the CDR visitors guide book. Kerry Doherty’. [6]

The continues in cutting North of the road bridge at Glenmaquin Station.Cutting to the North of Glenmaquin Station. This photograph was taken from the road bridge, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6] Just out of sight the railway bridged a small river.

Beyond Glemaquin Station, the old line continued heading Northwest, (Google Maps).

After crossing another minor road the old track-bed curved round towards the Northeast, (Google Maps).

The road crossing visible at the bottom right of the satellite image immediately above was un-gated. A closer image o the crossing location is provided immediately below this text. The Google Streetview images here show an extended property based on a typical Gate-keeper’s Cottage. This location is not recorded in the Visitor’s Guide {4} as a Crossing with Gatehouse. Interestingly the cottage is sited out of alignment with the railway as the satellite image below shows.Un-gated Crossing Northwest of Glenmaquin Railway Station, (Google Maps)

These next few images are taken at the location above – all are from Google Streetview. This may well be the location of Gatehouse No. 58.

The distinctive form of a Gatehouse is visible in this photograph which is taken looking from the North, (Google Streetview).Still looking from the North, this view shows the line of the old railway. The garage to the left of the road is built over the old formation, (Google Streetview).This view shows the old formation beyond the road-crossing and is taken from close to the property in the earlier images above, (Google Streetview).

We noted in the satellite images above that, to the Northwest of the road crossing, the old line turn round to the Northeast.The next length of the line as shown on the GSGS mapping from the 1940s. [7]

We pick it up again in the next satellite image on the left. The track follows a sinuous course over the next kilometre or so, as can be seen on the next satellite image below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These two image show the line passing under the road from Listillion to Lyons Court and then crossing the road between Listillion and Drumerdagh at Gatehouse No. 59. Kerry Doherty comments that the first of these two locations is a “bridge now filled in and the road re-aligned.”

Doherty provides two photographs from that location:

At this location the old road has been realigned when the bridge over the railway cutting was filled in. Both photographs were taken by Kerry Doherty, (c) Kerry Doherty [6]

A close-up Satellite image shows the old road alignment across the bridge. ….

The next feature along the line is Gatehouse No. 59 which is shown on the second of the two adjacent satellite images above.

Another extract from the GSGS Maps of the 1940s shows the length of the old line to the South of Gatehouse 59. [9]

Gatehouse 59 is at the bottom of this enlarged extract from Google’s satellite imagery, (Google Maps).

Beyond the infilled road bridge, the formation of the old line snaked northwards before reaching Gatehouse 59. Both the GSGS map and the satellite image above show that route. Gatehouse 59. The adjacent enlarged satellite image shows the location of Gatehouse 59 just to the North of the road at the bottom of the image.

The first Streetview image below shows the Gatehouse from the South. It is followed by a short series of views mainly from Google Streetview of the same Gatehouse. One image was generously provided by Kerry Doherty.

As the adjacent satellite image shows the old railway continued North from the location of Gatehouse No. 59. A modern bungalow and farm building straddles the old line and before it runs at the back of the gardens of a further two properties.

The first satellite image below show the route of the old railway as it begins to approach Letterkenny. After continuing North for a short distance the line turned sharply to the West running to the South side of what is today the N13/N14 dual carriageway and the L1114 local road.

Gatehouse 59 seen from the road immediately to the South, (Google Streetview).Gatehouse 59 seen from the road junction to the East of the location in 2011, (Google Streetview).A telephoto view of the Gatehouse taken more recently from the same position, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]Gatehouse No. 59 seen from the Northeast, (Google Streetview).

The Strabane and Letterkenny Railway turned sharply to the left a short distance beyond Gatehouse No. 59, (Google Maps). The route is highlighted by a linear woodland which appears once the buildings close to the Gatehouse have been passed.

The old line was initially on a small embankment to the North of Gatehouse No. 59, but by the time it stared to curve to the West is was in cutting. Its route is now a linear woodland, as the satellite image above shows. I am really grateful to Kerry Doherty who visited this location on my behalf in October 2020. The next few images are taken by him.This picture is taken from the old track-bed looking towards the bridge, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6] The old formation can be seen curving to the left in this image. This is one of the more substantial structures along the length of the Strabane to Letterkenny Railway.Looking back to the South from the 3-arch Bridge, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]The substantial stone parapets belie the use of the over bridge which carries no more thana local track, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]Looking ahead towards Letterkenny from the track carried by the old bridge, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]Looking back towards the bridge from the old railway formation, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]The structure still retains its old number – 279! (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]

Beyond structure No. 279 the old railway continued to curve round to a westerly direction and still in cutting encountered another road over rail bridge. The location of that bridge is to the right of the satellite image below.The Eastern outskirts of Letterkenny with the route of the Strabane & Letterkenny Railway highlighted in red, (Google Maps). 

The cutting at the Eastern side of the satellite image above has been partially infilled but the old bridge still has a void underneath it. Although the bridge is clearly of an age commensurate with having been built at the same time as the line, it does not appear on the 1940s GSGS map below.GSGS 1940s Map of the Strabane and Letterkenny Railway on its early approaches to Letterkenny. At the western extremity of the map extract the point where the line begins to run immediately parallel to the Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway can just be seen. [10]

Kerry Doherty commented that the filling of the cutting seems to have cut off drainage runs and as a result there is a small body of water in the cutting. This does not show up on the pictures below.

 

The old railway cutting with the bridge just visible in the distance (Google Streetview)The bridge. This Google image shows the void underneath the structure. It is taken from the road which runs alongside the cutting (on its North side) for a short distance, (Google Streetview)This is Kerry Doherty’s photo of the bridge taken from the South side of the railway cutting in October 2020, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]This view shows the overgrown cutting looking back towards Strabane from the bridge above, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]Finally at this location, another of Kerry Doherty’s photographs. This shows the route of the old railway taken from over the bridge parapet and looks towards Gatehouse 60 and Letterkenny, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]Looking back along the route of the old line towards the two bridges shown above, (Google Streetview).A View from the old main road South showing the route of the old line as it crossed the road and a much extended Gatehouse 60 which appears to make an excellent private home, (Google Streetview). There is little sign here of the main N13 road which runs behind the trees which are just beyond property.Google Maps shows how close the Gatehouse No. 60 is to the new N13 road,(Google Maps).This view is taken from the N13 looking back along the old railway alignment towards Strabane. Gatehouse No. 60 can just be made out among the trees, (Google Streetview).Looking across the N13 and on along the route of the old line towards Gatehouse 61 and Letterkenny, (Google Streetview).

Beyond Gatehouse No. 60, the railway curved round from a Southwesterly trajectory towards the North before crossing the modern day L1114. On the way it crossed a single track lane by means of a bridge.The locations of a bridge and Crossing No. 61, (Google Maps)

Reaching the L1114 (at Bonagee Lane) the old railway was now running roughly North/South. The picture below shows the approximate alignment of the old railway where it crossed the L1114. A bungalow has now been built over the line of the old railway. The line was still on embankment at this point and a bridge took it over the L1114.The approximate route of the old railway where it crossed the L1114. A bungalow has now been built on the route of the old line, (Google Streetview).The 6″ OS Map of the location of the bridges and Gatehouse No. 61. [16]

Gatehouse No. 61 sits some distance North of the Bridge which carried the old railway over the L1114, (Google Maps).

North of the L1114 the railway alignment is not obvious. It ran 50 metres or perhaps less to the East of Bonagee Lane. Travelling North along Bonagee Lane leads to the discovery of what was Gatehouse No. 61. An accommodation lane crossed the railway at this point.

Kerry Doherty very kindly pointed out the location of the Gatehouse, without that help, I doubt that I would have located it. The building has been much extended as the Google Streetview image below shows.

Kerry missed the location himself, despite driving along Bonagee Lane from the North a few days ago. The clue is in the property name on the gatepost which can only be seen from the South and which appears in the image below.

An extended and refurbished Gatehouse No. 61 seen from the South, (Google Streetview).Gatehouse No. 61 is much extended. This photo is a 2011 view from the West on Bonagee Lane, (Google Streetview).

Kerry Doherty provided this link to the location in the archives of the National Library of Ireland – http://catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000731777/MooviewerImg?mobileImage=vtls000731777_001 – on which at the top centre of the image Gatehouse No. 60 is visible. The two arched bridges mentioned above can also be picked out and, in the centre foreground, Gatehouse No. 61 can be seen in its original form. [17]

After Gatehouse No. 61 the old line continued North a short distance to the East of Bonagee Lane, until that lane turned from the North to the Northeast in Bonagee where Gatehouse No. 62 was sited. The crossing was known as Baird’s Crossing and the Keeper’s house can still be seen beyond the railway. It is heavily screened by trees and shrubs but can be seen from the Northeast, as the second image immediately below this text shows.The location of Gatehouse No. 62. the red line is a very approximate representation of the route of the old railway at this point, (Google Streetview).Baird’s Crossing Cottage (Gatehouse No. 62) seen from the Northeast in 2011. The original cottage has been extended at ground level. The railway ran behind the cottage in this view. Its route is over grown by trees and shrubs, (Google Streetview).

The Strabane and Letterkenny Railway crossed the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway by means of an over-bridge, (Google Maps).

Close to the final approach to Letterkenny, the Strabane and Letterkenny line ran parallel to the Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway. The point where they meet is illustrated on this GSGS 1940s map extract in the bottom right corner. [11]The two lines are shown entering the sketch plan from the right. The lighter dashes represent the Strabane and Letterkenny Railway and the heavier dashes, the L&LSR. (the North Point is at the top of the sketch map) (c) John Baird, Dave Bell, Steve Flanders & Blanche Pay. [12]A later OS Ireland Map showing the routes of the two railways. [13]

The Strabane and Letterkenny Railway approached the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway from the South at a point which appears in the bottom right of the adjacent map extract from the 1940s. The scale of the map is such that it is impossible to distinguish any indication of the track arrangement at this location and beyond towards Letterkenny.

The Visitor’s Guide to the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway [12] shows the Strabane and Letterkenny Railway running for a short distance on the South side of the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway (L&LSR), the Strabane and Letterkenny Railway is then shown crossing the route of the Lough Swilly line by means of an over-bridge and then running parallel to it into Letterkenny on the North side of the L&LSR.

That route is illustrated on the adjacent sketch Map. [12]

Other mapping suggests that the point at which the Strabane and Letterkenny Railway crossed the Lough Swilly line was further to the East, close to the point where the former met the L&LSR . This is illustrated on the adjacent later OS Ireland Map. [13]

The location of the rail over rail bridge is shown on Google Maps Satellite imagery of 2020 in the next image below.

From this point on the two lines converged gradually in both vertical and horizontal directions.

The Strabane and Letterkenny Railway crossed the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway by means of an over-bridge, (Google Maps).

I have only been able to find a couple of pictorial records of the rail-over-rail bridge myself. both of these are of a relatively poor print quality. They both appear in the same publication: The Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway: A Visitor’s Guide. [12: p46]. The first shows the bridge as it was in the 1980s, the second in the years when it was still in use.

Kerry Doherty very kindly sent me a colour copy of a photograph of a S&LR train crossing the bridge in May 1959 with No. 5 Drumboe in charge of a goods train.This picture kindly supplied for use in this article by Kerry Doherty. It shows No. 5 Drumboe crossing the rail-over-rail bridge in 1959. By this time the Swilly line was already closed, (c) J.G. Dewing, Color-rail. [6]

To the West of this point the two railways passed under an accommodation road. The next photo shows the remains of the bridges at that location. The Swilly railway bridge parapets are close to the camera. The S&LR parapets can be seen in the distance with the metal fencing on the top.

The old road-over bridges on the eastern approaches to the River Swilly, looking North, (Google Streetview).  Dave Bell and Steve Flanders describe the location in the 1980s: “There is a small side road behind the filling station which runs over two bridges, carrying the road over both railway lines. The Swilly used a single arch overbridge here while, conversely, the CDR used a three-arched bridge: two smaller arches either side of the main arch.” [12:p46] The filling station is long-gone, replaced by more modern buildings alongside the N56.The S&LR railway bridge parapets can still be seen. Concrete with metal fencing is on the East face of the old bridge, Google (Streetview)Dave Bell and Steve Flanders describe the use of the bridge arches in the 1980s like this: “The present owner of the filling station has made good use of the CDR bridge by bricking up one side and building a garage against the other. In effect he now has a garage with three bays, the roof of which is actually the side road.” [12: p47] There are two pictures of the arched bays in Bell and Flanders book.Kerry Doherty also very kindly supplied this photograph which shows the arches of the old S&LR bridge inside the garage facility, (c) Dave Bell. [6]

The two railways then encountered the River Swilly and the main road into Letterkenny from the East. Twin structures carried the two railways over the river and the main road. The modern N56 main road and a large roundabout have obliterated almost all of the railway infrastructure at this location. There are some clues as to what it was like in Bell and Flanders book which was written before much of the infrastructure here had been removed. [12:p47]The modern N56 bridge over the River Swilly sits on the line of the two old railways, (Google Streetview). The roundabout ahead has almost entirely obliterated the rail-over-road bridges which carried the two railway lines over the Port Road. The only remnant appears in the next image.The North abutment of the S&LR bridge over the old road is all that remains of the two railway bridges at this location, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]Looking back along the old railway with the remaining bridge abutment to our right, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6] 

The plaque which is visible in both these two photographs carries a drawing of what the old bridge(s) looked like.

The plaque in the images above, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]The historic OS Ireland Map extract show both of the two lines on the approach to the two Letterkenny Railway Stations which sat right next to each other at the Eastern edge of Letterkenny.. [13]The routes of the L&LSR and the S&LR shown on a 21st century satellite image, (Google Maps). The S&LR terminated in Letterkenny. The L&LSR continued further to the West and North.The Letterkenny Railway Stations. [13]

The two railway stations sat next to each other just to the East of the centre of Letterkenny. The two lines approached the stations on the South side of the R940. Their approximate route is highlighted on the Google Streetview image below.

Close to the junction between the R940 and Ashlawn the two railways ran very close to the road. Their route is now covered by the tarmac surface of the car parks of the Letterkenny Institute of Technology, (Google Streetview). The blue/mauve and red lines show the approximate alignment of the railways.

The location of the two railway stations includes the car parks of Letterkenny Shopping Centre and the bus station. Two building from the railway ear remain on the site. The old S&LR goods shed is one of these, it has been refurbished and is now called Railway House.The old S&LR goods shed has been refurbished and is now known as Railway House. This image was taken in 2017 from the R940, (Google Streetview).The same building as seen from the car park of the Letterkenny Shopping Centre, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]

The old passenger facilities at the station have been converted in recent years into the town’s Bus Station. This required an extension to the building on what was the track-facing side. Kerry Doherty has generously provided three photographs of the modern building. [6]The front facade of the old Station Building, looking from the Southwest in 2020, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]Inside the extension. The picture shows the old building’s Northeast facing aspect form roughly the position of the buffers stops on the old line. The platform canopy columns have been retained in the new building. The filigree detail has been retained, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]Looking along the line of the old platform towards the Passenger Station Building. This facade is modern, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]This final present-day image was again provided by Kerry Doherty and shows the station yard crane almost swamped by vegetation, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]

We finish this article with a series of pictures of the old S&LR facilities at Letterkenny.

This first image was provided by Kerry Doherty and shows the length of the station platform at Letterkenny in 1959, (c) B. Hilton, Colorrail. [6]This monochrome photograph was taken by Roger Joanes in 1959. The photo was taken from close to the Station building. The railcar is No. 14 and in the distance, under a plume of steam, No. 4 can be seen shunting the yard, (c) Roger Joanes (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). [14]Also by Roger Joanes, the inscription states: “The former CDR loco ‘Erne’ at Letterkenny, freshly painted for preservation but subsequently scrapped. 2.4.63.” (c) Roger Joanes (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). [14]The disused S&LR station at Letterkenny in 1963 seen from the location of ‘Erne’ (c) Roger Joanes (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). [14]An overall shot of the Station and Goods Yard in 1959. Loco No. 4, ‘Meenglas’ is preparing to set off for Strabane in charge of a goods train, (c) Roger Joanes (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). [14]

Donegal Railway Heritage Centre posted this next photograph on their Facebook page. In this series of articles about the Co. Donegal Railways, photographs from the Donegal Railway Heritage Centre’s Facebook page are ‘linked-to’ after discussion with and kind permission from Jim McBride.

References

  1. Edward M Patterson (original author), Joe Begley & Steve Flanders (authors of additional material in the Revised Edition); The County Donegal Railways; Colourpoint Books, Newtownards, Co. Down 2014. As noted in my first article about the Co. Donegal Railways this was to have been my holiday reading while walking different parts of the network, but 2020 has been a strange year!
  2. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=16&lat=54.91092&lon=-7.65886&layers=14&b=1, accessed on 11th October 2020.
  3. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Athlone,_Cavan_%26_Clara._LetterKenny_Strabane_RJD_113.jpg#/media/File:Athlone,_Cavan_&_Clara._LetterKenny_Strabane_RJD_113.jpg, accessed on 14th July 2020.
  4. The County Donegal Railways Visitor Guide to the Strabane and Letterkenny Railway is now out of print and i have not been able to find a copy.
  5. Edward M Patterson (original author), Joe Begley & Steve Flanders (authors of additional material in the Revised Edition); The Lough Swilly Railway; Colourpoint Books, Newtownards, Co. Down 2017. This was also to have been part of my holiday reading, but 2020 has been a strange year!
  6. Kerry Doherty of Ballindrait very kindly sent me a series of pictures of the Strabane and Letterkenny Railway route. Each of these, in this article, bears the reference number [6]
  7. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15&lat=54.92484&lon=-7.66844&layers=14&b=1, accessed on 12th October 2020.
  8. Anthony Burges; The Swilly and the Wee Donegal; Colourpoint Books, Newtownards, Co. Down, Second Impression, 2010.
  9. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15&lat=54.93626&lon=-7.67260&layers=14&b=1, accessed on 12th October 2020.
  10. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15&lat=54.94389&lon=-7.68287&layers=14&b=1, accessed on 14th October 2020.
  11. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15&lat=54.94758&lon=-7.70755&layers=14&b=1, accessed on 27th October 2020.
  12. Dave Bell and Steve Flanders; The Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway: A Visitor’s Guide; County Donegal Railway Restoration Society; an small extract from the sketch plan on p42, rotated through 90 degrees.
  13. http://geohive.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=9def898f708b47f19a8d8b7088a100c4, accessed on 27th and 28th October 2020.
  14. https://www.flickr.com/photos/110691393@N07, accessed on 27th October 2020.
  15. https://www.facebook.com/DonegalRailwayHeritageCentre/photos, accessed on 28th October 2020.
  16. http://geohive.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=9def898f708b47f19a8d8b7088a100c4, accessed on 10th November 2020.
  17. http://catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000731777/MooviewerImg?mobileImage=vtls000731777_001, accessed on 10th November 2020 – a thumbnail is provided here , the full size image can be viewed by clicking on the link

Coalport Incline – Ironbridge

The Hay Inclined Plane at Coalport, Shropshire

On a visit  to Ludlow in late October 2020, my wife and I drove down through Ironbridge Gorge on the River Severn. Just North of Ironbridge we drive through the village of Coalport and over a bridge which spanned a steep inclined plane – two steeply graded parallel railway lines. I suppose it is arguable whether the Inclined Plane really constitutes a railway as it was used for transporting boats between a Canal and a river.

This was the Hay Inclined Plane which provided access from the Shropshire Canal to the River Severn. As far back as 1788 the owners of the canal held a competition to find the most effective way of lowering and lifting loads between the canal and the river.

The winning proposal was submitted by Henry Williams and James Loudon, which was also used at a number of other places in Shropshire. Construction was completed in 1793. By 1820 it was in poor condition and major repairs were needed. (This was also the case in the 1940s.) [1]

In 1857 the Incline was taken over by the LNWR (London and North Western Railway). In 1858, the LNWR closed the Shropshire Canal between the Wrockwardine Wood and Windmill inclined planes, leaving only a short section of canal to serve the industrial area of Blists Hill.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Blists Hill was an industrial region consisting of a brick and tile works, blast furnaces and coal, iron and fire clay mines operated by the Madeley Wood Company. A short section of the Shropshire Canal ran across the site to the Hay Inclined Plane, which transported boats up and down the 207 ft (63m) high incline from Blists Hill to Coalport. [2]

By 1861, the LNWR had opened their Coalport Branch from Wellington to Coalport which passed across the bottom of the Hay Incline. It seems as though the last use of the Hay Incline was in the year 1894 and it was formally closed in 1907. [1]

The Incline was restored in 1968 and once more in 1975. Rails were reinstated as part of the creation of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums. [3][4]

The video below was taken by DJI Spark. It gives an excellent overview of the location. [5]

References

  1. Ironbridge Gorge Museum information boards.
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blists_Hill_Victorian_Town#History_of_the_site, accessed on 21st October 2020.
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blists_Hill_Victorian_Town#History_of_the_site, accessed on 21st October 2020.
  4. https://www.ironbridge.org.uk, accessed on 21st October 2020.
  5. https://youtu.be/L2isxApfOto, accessed on 21st October 2020.

The Railways of Jamaica

I have just enjoyed reading, ‘The Railways of Jamaica’, written by Jim Horsford. It is a Locomotives International publication, published by Paul Catchpole Ltd, St. Austel, Cornwall. [1]

This is an excellent study on the history of the main lines of the railways in Jamaica and also reflects briefly on some of the still open lines serving the Bauxite industry. The book results from a visit by Jim Horsford in 2006 to Jamaica and includes photographs from his own collection and those of other enthusiasts and past residents of Jamaica. In addition some aerial views taken from a helicopter show the condition of various sites on the old network in 2006.

In addition to a review of the network, Jim Horsford provides details of the majority of different locomotives and railcars used on the system together with passenger and good stock.

I managed to pick up the book on offer from Mainline and Maritime [2] for £5. It is at present on offer on their website for £10 and they offer to include a volume about the Sugar Cane lines of Cuba along with it. The RRP is £25.

Each of the main lines and branch lines on the public network are described in detail. The system used to link the capital Kingstown with Montego Bay, Port Antonio, Ewarton, Frankfield, Fort Simonds, Port Esquival and the Pleasant Valley. The featured image shows the network at its peak before Bauxite Mining operations began.

The book was a delightful read.

Wikipedia [3] provides provides a relatively strong study of the railways of the Caribbean island through until final closure of the network in 1992. [4] It does not seem necessary to reproduce significant parts of that article in this post. The full Wikipedia article can be found here. [3]

The first colonial railway for both freight and passengers opened in Jamaica in 1845, only twenty years after George Stephenson’s Stockton and Darlington Railway commenced operations in the United Kingdom.

By the 1890s expansion had reached its peak, with 216 miles of main and branch lines. Railway services contributed greatly to the development of the island “by providing efficient and inexpensive transport and by opening up the interior to the cultivation of old and new plantation crops, encouraging the intensification of peasant agriculture, promoting the establishment of agro-industries and creating new townships.” [5]

Jamaica 1970 Jamaican Railways SG 326 [6]

In the 1930s the failure of the banana industry and competition from motor transport drastically reduced revenue. By the 1970s the railways had become a liability. In 1975 two of the mainlines closed. This was the beginning of the end, although the railways struggles on until 1992.

Four private industrial lines continue to operate in the 21st Century, in part using Jamaica Railway Corporation (JRC) lines. [7] Of the total of 272 kilometres (169 miles) of standard-gauge lines operating in 1992, 207 kilometres (129 mi) of public lines belonging to JRC closed, leaving 65 kilometres (40 mi) in private hands. [8].

Wikipedia tells us that the JRC still exists in the early 21st century. It is responsible for management of the JRC interests and property, and maintaining its locomotives but not the rolling stock. [9] In November 1990, the JRC signed a 30-year Track User Agreement with Alcan Jamaica, which was renegotiated with the successor Windalco in December 2001. [3]

“The company makes J$40 million per year through track user fees for the hauling of alumina and bauxite, and the residual from the rental of real estate and its three operable locomotives. The company has a staff of 76, who fulfill contractual obligations to users of the company’s facilities” [3][10].

It seems that, “during the 1990s, a plan was considered which would see commuter services between Kingston and Spanish Town, later extended to Linstead. It was proposed to cost US$8 million and be running by January 2001, with the government holding 40% of a public-private venture.” [3] This proposal appears not to have come to fruition.

A further revival of rail services was considered in the very early years of the 21st century. Discussions were held with a series of different partners: the Canadian National Railway; the Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES); and then with the China Railway after a deal was signed by the Prime Minister P J Patterson with Chinese vice-president Zeng Qinghong in Jamaica in February 2005. [3]

On 16th April 2011 an inaugural train ran from May Pen to Linstead. [11] This service was short-lived, running until August 2012, [12] and it was December 2016 before “the government signed a memorandum of understanding with Herzog International to study the resumption of passenger and freight services. The Ministry of Transport & Mining envisaged a three-stage reopening process, with Phase 1 covering Montego Bay to Appleton, Phase 2 Spanish Town to Ewarton and Phase 3 Spanish Town to Clarendon.” [13]

The bright colours of the proposed refurbished/new stock for Jamaica Railways. [19]

The 2016 initiative foundered “in late 2017 because Herzog Jamaica Limited failed to meet the deliverables of a non-binding ­memorandum of understanding brokered with the Ministry of Transport and Mining.” [12]

At the beginning of 2020, the Jamaica Observer reported that the Government was “to try a new approach to restore passenger rail service to Jamaica, almost 28 years after the trains stopped rolling. Minister with portfolio responsibility for information Karl Samuda … announced a change in the approach to the privatisation of the Jamaica Railway Corporation (JRC). ” [14]

The Jamaica Gleaner reported in June 2020 that the Government was still committed to reviving a rail service. [15]

There is an educational video about the line. The film was made  in the mid-1960s: [16]

The next video was shot during the brief window of activity starting in 2011. it covers a length of the line between Bog Walk and Angels on a journey on 9th August 2011. [17]

One final link takes you to a .pdf produced by the Jamaican government. It tells the story of the railways. We need to forgive the incorrect captions under the first two pictures, (the captions have been transposed). The .pdf can be downloaded by clicking here. [18]

References

  1. J. Horsford; The Railways of Jamaica; a Locomotives International publication, published by Paul Catchpole Ltd, St. Austel, Cornwall, 2010.
  2. Mainline and Martime: https://www.mainlineandmaritime.co.uk, accessed on 8th October 2020.
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_transport_in_Jamaica, accessed on 8th October 2020.
  4. For more details see: Veront M. Satchell & Cezley Sampson (University of the West Indies); The rise and fall of railways in Jamaica, 1845-1975′; in the Journal of Transport History; Volume No. 24, Issue No.1, March 2003;  p1-21.
  5. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/272812243_The_rise_and_fall_of_railways_in_Jamaica_1845-1975, accessed on 8th October 2020.
  6. https://www.stamps-for-sale.com/jamaica-1970-jamaican-railways-sg-326-fine-used-23689-p.asp, accessed on 8th October 2020.
  7.  Jamaica Transportation Encyclopædia Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/place/Jamaica, accessed on 8th October 2020.
  8. Jamaica Transportation Archived 2007-12-30 at the Wayback Machine Jamaica National Heritage Trust.
  9. The Privatisation of Jamaica Railway Corporation stalls and sputters Radio Jamaica – April 24, 2007; https://web.archive.org/web/20110720104242/http://www.rmtbristol.org.uk/2007/04/privatisation_of_jamaica_railw.html, accessed on 8th October 2020.
  10. Jamaican trains may never roll again The Jamaica Observer – February 25, 2007: https://web.archive.org/web/20101009143040/http://www.rmtbristol.org.uk/2007/02/jamaican_trains_may_never_roll.html, accessed on 8th October 2020.
  11. https://www.webcitation.org/5z1l6UP17?url=http://www.railwaygazette.com/index.php?id=44&no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5btt_n, accessed on 8th October 2020.
  12. Railway Corporation to end passenger services. Jamaica Gleaner: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20120814/lead/lead9.html, accessed on 8th October 2020.
  13. https://www.railwaygazette.com/traction-and-rolling-stock/crrc-to-supply-locomotives-to-jamaica/45739.article, accessed on 8th October 2020.
  14. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Gov%26%238217;t_announces_another_plan_to_get_trains_rolling_again?profile=0, accessed on 8th October 2020.
  15. http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20200602/govt-still-committed-reviving-rail-service-montague, accessed on 8th October 2020.
  16. The film is made available by the National Library of Jamaica on YouTube: https://youtu.be/daJmHW2Bd9Y, accessed on 8th October 2020.
  17. A short length of railway viewd from the train in 2011: https://youtu.be/hxauC9kBuHY, accessed on 8th October 2020.
  18. http://www.nlj.gov.jm/history-notes/History%20of%20Railroads%20in%20Jamaica.pdf, accessed on 8th October 2020.
  19. https://www.wiredja.com/index.php/news/local-news/jamaica-to-sign-mou-to-revive-railway-system, accessed on 8th October 2020.

Co. Donegal Railways, Ireland – Part 5 – Strabane to Letterkenny (Part B – Raphoe to Convoy)

As we noted at the start of the previous article about this line, Wikipedia gives us a very short history of the line from Strabane to Letterkenny and provides a single image – the Railway Clearing House map with stations in Strabane and Letterkenny:

The Railway Clearing House map with stations in Strabane and Letterkenny. [3]

This series of articles seeks to expand our understanding of the route of the various Co. Donegal Railways through combining old images and modern views. Satellite images also give us a good understanding of what remains of the infrastructure of these lines.

A Journey Along the Line – Strabane to Letterkenny – Part B – Raphoe to Convoy

A sketch plan of Raphoe Railway Station by Steve Flanders from the book ‘The County Donegal Railways’ [1: p43] This drawing is included by kind permission of Steve Flanders.Railcar No. 20 at Raphoe Station, heading for Letterkenny in 1959 (c) Roger Joanes (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) The Crossing-keepers cottage at the level-crossing to the East of the Station can be picked out to the right of the railcar. By this time, the passing loop shown in Steve Flanders sketch plan above had been lifted. [7]

Having enjoyed a stopover in Raphoe, we start the next stage of this journey back at the Railway Station at Raphoe and pick up the last image (above) from the previous article about the line:

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2020/07/27/co-donegal-railways-ireland-part-4-strabane-to-letterkenny-part-a-strabane-to-raphoe

Before we climb aboard Railcar No. 20 as it sets off for Letterkenny we look at the condition of the station site in the 21st century. The two pictures immediately below were taken relatively recently by Kerry Doherty. The first shows the location of the old station platform, the second looks from the West through the station site.

All that remains of the platform of Raphoe station. You can clearly see this shed is built on top of it (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]This picture appeared at the end of the last article about this line. It shows the site of Raphoe Station in 21st century taken from a similar position to the Roger Joanes image above. The Station Master’s House on the left is the only building remaining on the site. Kerry Doherty comments that ‘it was difficult to get a photo of the site as many lorries now occupy the yard’, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]

There are also two excellent photographs of Raphoe in Anthony Burges Album of the line. [8: p32-33]

Now we set off towards Convoy from Raphoe Railway Station. …….GSGS 1940s Map of Raphoe and its Southwestern approaches. [2]The site of Raphoe Railway Station in the 21st century. [4]The route continues through Aughnakeeragh (Google Maps).

The three images immediately above show that the line began, gradually, to curve round to a Southwesterly direction as it left Raphoe Railway Station, before turning almost directly South at Aughnakeeragh.

At location ‘1’ on the map immediately above, the road turned sharply to the south so as to cross the railway on a bridge.The narrow road crossed the old railway on a stone arch bridge. The railway cutting has now been infilled and the road alignment marginally improved (Google Streetview). This view shows the approach from Raphoe.Crossing the bridge location and turning to look back towards Raphoe, this is the view (Google Streetview)

At location ‘4’, an accommodation bridge provided access across the old line.

The location of the old bridge is difficult to pick out on this image from Google Streetview.

This image, taken by Kerry Doherty from the top of the bridge at location ‘3’ above gives a better impression of the remains of the old bridge. The S&LR was in cutting at the bridge but the land drops away towards the foreground and at the point of the modern access road in the middle of the picture, the line went from being in cutting to being on an embankment, (c) Kerry Doherty [6]

As noted under the picture above, at location ‘2’, the old railway was almost at the same level as the surrounding land with cutting to the East and embankment developing to the West.A modern farm access road crosses the old line at the approximate location when natural land levels and the formation of the S&LR matched (Google Streetview).

At location ‘3’, close to Aughnakeeragh, the railway was carried over a road on a stone arch bridge.This Google Streetview image shows the bridge viewed from the Southeast.The Google Streetview image of the bridge taken from the Northwest shows it heavily overgrown by ivy.In this recent photograph, the bridge has been stripped of vegetation and is much more clearly visible, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]This Google Streetview image is taken from the road on the North side of the line, immediately to the West of the above bridge and shows the Railway embankment disturbed to allow vehicles to access land to the South.The next extract from the GSGS 1940s series of Maps shows the line to the West of Aughnakeeragh. [9]

After passing immediately to the West of Aughnakeeragh the line headed South for a Short distance before curving to the West once again.

There was an accommodation bridge which carried a lane across the S&LR at Tullyvinny. The location appears on the adjacent Google Maps extract to the Southwest of the road junction at the centre of the satellite image. The lane ran parallel to the S&LR for a short distance on the East side of the railway cutting before turning West across the line. The closest we can get on Google Streetview is shown in the first image below.

The next track to cross the line was that leading to Figart Upper Farm. The Lane appears in the bottom third, on the left-hand side of the next Google Maps satellite image below. The farm is on the left-hand side of the image close to the top.From Figart Upper Farm to Kiltole the old line was alternately in cutting and at the same level as the surrounding land but on the hill above the road which ran parallel to it to the South. An accommodate bridge over the line is marked by the black circle on the above plan and appears to relate to another structure which can be seen on the Goggle Streetview photograph below and which is taken from the road a little to the West of the accommodation bridge.A lime kiln adjacent to the accommodation bridge referred to above. It seems as though the bridge permitted access to the lime kiln.  (Google Streetview).

Very kindly, when I first asked about this structure in very early October 2020, Kerry Doherty offered to investigate. He took his camera with him as he endeavoured to walk the line from the West. He gained access to the old line through a field adjacent to the Kiltole Quarry . His first photograph shows the formation to the East of the quarry.

The formation of the Strabane and Letterkenny Railway to the East of Kiltole Quarry, (c) Kerry Doherty [6]

Kerry’s trek along the line increasingly required him to struggle through bushes, small trees and thick under growth. The next picture is taken looking West from close to the lime-kiln and its bridge.

Looking West towards Convoy close to the Limekiln, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]Kerry Doherty says: “It got almost impassable approaching the bridge beside the lime kiln. The bridge pillars can just be seen through the trees,” (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]Kerry says: “I climbed the cutting to get a better shot of the bridge,” (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]Some original boundary fencing adjacent to the bridge parapet, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]Looking across the accommodation bridge and then across the Lime Kiln to the South, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]Adjacent to the Lime Kiln the two approach walls to the bridge parapet railing can be seen. That to the East is curved in plan, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]

Three pictures of the Lime Kiln follow. All again taken by Kerry Doherty:The Lime Kiln from the South, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]The view from the Southwest, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]A close-up shot of the mouth of the Kiln, (c) Kerry Doherty. [6]

Immediately to the west, the road and old railway ran close together. This can be seen in this next Google Streetview image.In this picture the formation of the S&LR can be seen in the trees immediately at the back of the land belonging to this bungalow (Google Streetview).

The line ahead now approaches Convoy. Although the formation is completely lost as it crossed the site of the now defunct Kiltole Quarry. The railway station was in the part of Convoy referred to as Milltown (to the East of Convoy itself), sited just to the North of the old mills.The Village/Town of Convoy (Milltown) on the GSGS 1940s Series of Maps. [10]

Convoy on the Header National Townland and Historical Map Viewer. The route of the old railway has been imposed on the map as a thin red line. [11]The approximate route of the old line through Convoy (Google Maps). The locations of the Gatehouse and the two road over rail bridges are marked.

The closest view of the Railway Station site at Convey that is available on Google Streetview. The last remaining structure on the site is the goods shed.

Convoy Railway Station 1959 (c) Roger Joanes, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

This second length of the Strabane to Letterkenny line finishes here at Convoy, the remainder of the line to Letterkenny will follow in another post.

References

  1. Edward M Patterson (original author), Joe Begley & Steve Flanders (authors of additional material in the Revised Edition); The County Donegal Railways; Colourpoint Books, Newtownards, Co. Down 2014. As noted in my first article about the Co. Donegal Railways this was to have been my holiday reading while walking different parts of the network, but 2020 has been a strange year!
  2. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15&lat=54.87036&lon=-7.61772&layers=14&b=1, accessed on 25th July 2020.
  3. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Athlone,_Cavan_%26_Clara._LetterKenny_Strabane_RJD_113.jpg#/media/File:Athlone,_Cavan_&_Clara._LetterKenny_Strabane_RJD_113.jpg, accessed on 14th July 2020.
  4. http://geohive.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=9def898f708b47f19a8d8b7088a100c4, accessed on 25th July 2020.
  5. Edward M Patterson (original author), Joe Begley & Steve Flanders (authors of additional material in the Revised Edition); The Lough Swilly Railway; Colourpoint Books, Newtownards, Co. Down 2017. This was also to have been part of my holiday reading, but 2020 has been a strange year!
  6. Kerry Doherty of Ballindrait very kindly sent me a series of pictures of the Strabane and Letterkenny Railway route. Each of these, in this article, bears the reference number [6] Later, and also referenced [6] Kerry scrambled through the undergrowth along the old line to find evidence of the accommodation bridge and the rear of the lime kiln.
  7. https://www.flickr.com/photos/110691393@N07/11364546546/in/photolist-ijfgKG-ijfnbj, accessed on 22nd July 2020.
  8. Anthony Burges; The Swilly and the Wee Donegal; Colourpoint Books, Newtownards, Co. Down, Second Impression, 2010.
  9. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15&lat=54.86372&lon=-7.63776&layers=14&b=1, accessed on 8th August 2020.
  10. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15&lat=54.86396&lon=-7.65969&layers=14&b=1, accessed on 9th August 2020.
  11. https://www.flickr.com/photos/110691393@N07/11371005014/in/photolist-ijf23V-ijPnCA, accessed on 5th October 2020.