Category Archives: Railways Blog

Co. Donegal Railways, Ireland – Part 4 – Strabane to Letterkenny (Part A – Strabane to Raphoe)

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]

“The County Donegal Railways Joint Committee (CDRJC) constructed the Strabane and Letterkenny Railway. It opened for public service on 1 January 1909 with a route length of 19.25 miles. It was the last railway constructed by the CDRJC bringing the network operated by this company to 121 miles. The company pioneered the use of diesel operated railcars, but despite this innovation, closure came at the end of 1959, and the railway was shut on 1 January 1960.” [2]

 This history must be worth expanding! It gives so little detail!

Wikipedia tells us that Letterkenny was already rail-served in 1909. “The Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway Company (The L&LSR, the Swilly) was an Irish public transport and freight company that operated in parts of County Londonderry and County Donegal between 1853 and 2014.” [4] Incorporated in June 1853, [5] “it once operated 99 miles of railways. … It closed its last railway line in July 1953 but continued to operate bus services under the name Lough Swilly Bus Company until April 2014, becoming the oldest railway company established in the Victorian era to continue trading as a commercial concern into the 21st century. Following a High Court petition by HM Revenue and Customs, the company went into liquidation and operated its final bus services on 19 April 2014.” [4][7][8]

The first railway station in Letterkenny opened on 30th June 1883. The line out of Londonderry started out as the Londonderry and Buncrana Railway and was absorbed into the L&LSR in 1887. [9] That line is not the subject of this article but it is important to note that Letterkenny had been rail-served for many years before the branch from Strabane arrived in the town.

Raphoe Bishop’s Palace. [10]

Raphoe Cathedral. [11]

Raphoe Royal and Prior School in 21st century. [12]

Patterson et al [1: p41] explain that the Co. Donegal Railways from Strabane to Stranolar – which were accessed from Londonderry over either the Great Northern Railway (along the valley of the River Foyle) to Strabane or the more tortuous route owned by the Co. Donegal Railways which passed over the higher ground to the East of the River Foyle, through New Buildings, Collion, Donemana, Ballyheather and Ballymagorry and on to Strabane – ran to the South of an area which included the small towns of Raphoe and Convoy. The L&LSR ran to the North of this area. “At the end of the 19th century, Raphoe had a population of around 700, …. centred around a cathedral, a ruined bishop’s palace and a Royal School. Convoy, only about a third he size of Raphoe, was a manufacturing village with a reputation for woolen textile manufacture. By Donegal standards, the people living there felt they ought to have a railway.” [1: p41]

That sense of entitlement built on endeavours which began as early as 1860 but which foundered on more powerful interests. It wasn’t until around 25 years later that a light railway/tramway was planned between Strabane and Drumcairn and it became more likely that the area would be rail served. However, that scheme also foundered for lack of money. [1: p41]

It was 1902 when a new version of the scheme was proposed at an estimated cost of £100,000 which ran between Strabane and Letterkenny via Lifford, Ballindrait, Convoy and Raphoe. The scheme was the subject of a bill submitted to Parliament in the winter of 1902-3. [1: p41-42] That application failed to achieve its key objective of reaching Letterkenny. The Act only allowed a line from Strabane to Convoy. A further submission was made in 1904 and was successful. The promoters called the line the Strabane and Letterkenny Railway (S&LR)  and within no more than a year it had effectively been taken over by the Great Northern Railway in advance of their takeover of the Co. Donegal Railway. [1: p42-43]. Work started on building the line in 1906. Robert McAlpine and Sons were the principal contractor. The line was eventually opened to traffic on New Year’s Day 1909. [1: p43-44]

Patterson et al comment that “since much of the share capital of the S&L had been provided by the Midland and the Great Northern, owners of the CDRJC since 1906, it was natural that the Joint Committee should take over the operation of the line and work it as a branch. ” {1: p44-45]

1905 Ordnance Survey Map. [14]

Strabane Railway Station was first opened in 1847 on the Great Northern Irish standard-gauge line. It expanded to include the narrow-gauge Co. Donegal lines in 1894 when the new narrow gauge crossed the river into the southern end of the station.

Prior to the narrow-gauge, the Finn Valley railway shared the southern approach to the railway station with the Irish North Western Railway – the predecessor of the GNR. The Finn Valley Railway was held to ransom for access into Strabane Railway Station. The advent in Ireland of the new 3ft gauge railways encouraged the directors of the West Donegal Railway  (WDR) to choose that gauge for their new railway in the late 1870s. After a period of mixed gauge use of Stranorlar Railway Station, Parliament sanctioned the amalgamation of the  Finn Valley  with the WDR in 1892 and in 1893 powers were obtained for a change of gauge between Stranorlar and Strabane and for the construction of a new narrow-gauge link from the old Finn Valley junction with the GNR into Strabane Railway Station. [1: p19-28] That link appears on the 1905 Ordnance Survey Map above. The map was drawn only a few years before the construction of the S&LR.

My sketch below shows the layout of Strabane Railway Station in the years following the construction of the S&LR. Strabane Railway Station in the 1930s (c) Roger Farnworth

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

Strabane on the GSGS Map from the 1940s. The GNR runs roughly North-South the Co. Donegal runs from the top right to the bottom left with the branch to Letterkenny returning to the North edge of the map having passed through the Railway Station at Lifford. The station at Strabane is marked by the linked roundels near to the centre of the map. [13]

On the GSGS 1940s OS Map, the Strabane to Letterkenny branch is shown leaving the  Co. Donegal mainline just to the North of Strabane Railway Station.  My sketch above shows the actual arrangement. It was difficult to fairly represent the track arrangement at the station at the scale the GSGS Maps were drfated. Letterkenny trains left Strabane Railway Station at the station platforms and then turned sharply round to the Northwest before crossing the River Foyle and entering Lifford Railway Station.

The next few pictures show the footbridge at Strabane Station. The first three  are relatively low resolution images posted on the BBC Northern Ireland Your Place and Mine website. [15]

These first three images are taken looking North through the Station. The first is taken from just South of the Western station platform. On the far left of the image the S&LR platform can be glimpsed. The second shows the main station buildings with the footbridge steps to the right of the image. The third looks Northeast under the footbridge towards the main station buildings.

The fourth picture was found on both Sepiatown [16] and OldStrabane webpages [17] It shows the station footbridge, again looking North, from the GNR side of the station. (I have been unable to contact both of the two sites to get permission to share photographs, postcard images, etc., here. Email links, where they exist, no longer function. Should the site owners wish me to remove the images credited to those sites then I will do so and replace them with the links referred to in the references at the en of this article.)

The first colour image shows the station footbridge again, also looking Northeast, this time from close to the Co. Donegal lines turntable. County Donegal Railway No 11 “ERNE” is moving vans in May 1957. [17][18]

The second colour image shows the same engine (No. 11 ERNE Class 4, 4-6-4 ‘Baltic’ tank), heading away, light engine, from Strabane Railway Station on the Letterkenny line in March 1958. The CDR signal box, and station footbridge are shown in the background. [17][19]

The following image shows a Goods Train approaching Strabane from Lifford, presumably having travelled from Letterkenny. The photographer is looking Southwest from a point near the Signal Box at Strabane. [17][20]

As noted above, these superb images can be found on two sites, http://www.sepiatown.com and oldstrabane.blogspot.com. Each image is individually references on the http://www.sepiatown.com website. I have only been able to provide a general reference for the same images on the  oldstrabane.blogspot.com website.

Those on the http://www.sepiatown.com website are geographically referenced for their location around the station site.

A train prepares to depart for Letterkenny. Platform 5 at Strabane Railway Station. [17][24]Diesel Shunter Phoenix at Strabane Station looking Southwest from Platform 5 – the platform used by the Strabane to Letterkenny services The signal box can be made out beyond the end of the platform. [17][22]Railcar  No. 14 at Strabane Railway Station on 20th August 1959, preparing to leave Platform 5 for Letterkenny. [17][23]The Strabane & Letterkenny Railway closed on 1st January 1960. This photograph was taken sometime after the closure (probably in 1965). The rail track has been removed and replaced by a road. The building on the right nearest to the camera is the Co. Donegal Railways signal box. [17][21]The route of the ols S&LR is marked by the double row of trees heading North from the modern A38 (Google Maps).

Kerry Doherty supplied this photograph for comparison with the one above. It shows Strabane Railway Station and is taken from the “camels hump” bridge. He comments that ‘This site has been much filled in and raised quite a bit.’ Photograph supplied by Kerry Doherty. [45]Kerry Doherty supplied this photograph for comparison with the one above. It shows Strabane Railway Station and is taken from the “camels hump” bridge. He comments that ‘This site has been much filled in and raised quite a bit.’  The line in the centre foreground is the S&LR. Photograph supplied by Kerry Doherty. [45]

Turning through 180 degrees, we are now looking in the direction of Lifford, the Letterkenny line trackbed would have been where the grass is on the far side of the road. Curving off sharply to the right (c) Kenny Doherty. [45]

Trains for Letterkenny used the most westerly platform at Strabane Railway Station – Platform No. 5. Trains traversed a very tight curve round to the Northwest, followed a short straight-alignment before crossing the River Foyle.

As we have noted, there was a sharp curve in the line out of out of Strabane. THis image shows the trackbed after the curve, looking towards Lifford. Kerry Doherty comments: ‘It’s interesting to note that when the line was lifted in January 1960, this was tarred and the railway bridge used for buses and lorries and the road bridge was being replaced. The tar is still under the moss underfoot,’ (c) Kerry Doherty. [45]

Looking across the River Foyle at the location of Lifford Station which is in the trees, (c) Kerry Doherty [45]

The magnificent stone abutment of the bridge. This is the southern bridge abutment, (c) Kerry Doherty. [45]

The location of Lifford Bridge, (c) Kerry Doherty. [45]

Lifford Bridge. Photo by John Langford, supplied for inclusion here by Kerry Doherty. The picture is taken from approximately the same angle as the more modern image above. Lifford Station Halt can be seen on the right side of this image. Kerry Doherty Collection. [45]

The Location of the old Strabane/Lifford Railway Bridge across the River Foyle (Google Maps).The Construction of Lifford Railway Bridge. The photogrpaher is on the West side of the River Foyle, looking SE towards Strabane Station on the Strabane-Letterkenny line. The picture was taken in 1908. [17][25]

A much later image of the Strabane/Lifford Railway Bridge (c) Margaret (Blee) Fisher. [26]

The Strabane/Lifford Railway Bridge over the River Foyle is shown during construction above and much later, probably not long before demolition, in the adjacent photograph.

All that remained in the latter 20th century was the bridge foundations. By the early 21st century, these also were gone.The same bridge in 1959.This photograph is taken from the end of the platform at Lifford Halt (c) Roger Joanes (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). [29]Morgan Collection : News PhotoThe S&LR bridge can be seen towards the to[p of this image. Lifford Halt Station is just to the left pf the bridge. This image is embedded with permission from http://www.gettyimages.co.uk. An unidentified Co. Donegal steam locomotive is crossing the bridge in charge of a long goods from Letterkenny. [30]

Lifford Station and Railway on the S&LR. [27]

Lifford Halt Station Builing, a colourised monochrome image. The photograph was taken by William Lawrence included here courtesy of Kerry Doherty. [43]

Lifford Station ( from behind ), the platformwass on the other side of the building. This picture was taken some years ago as the building has been modified and is now surrounded, as can be seen below, by a high fence. The images below show the building as it is now, owned by two different people. The track-side elevation is much better kept and in recent years was the post office, (c) Kerry Doherty. [45]Lifford Halt Station Building (Google Streetview).Lifford Halt Station (Google Streetview).

https://www.facebook.com/DonegalRailwayHeritageCentre/photos/a.1230417866994452/2723764270993130/?type=3&theater

The photo above appears on the Donegal Heritage Centre Facebook page and is embedded here with permission. [31] There is also  an excellent photograph of the station and platform in Anthony Burges book, The Swilly and the Wee Donegal. [44: p30] The satellite image below shows the S&LR just North of the location of the old station.

The S&LR (Google Maps)The S&LR [31]The S&LR [31]The approximate alignment of the S&LR approaching Ballindrait Station which is just off the satellite image to the West. [31]The approximate line of the S&LR in the 21st century. [27]

Ballindrait Railway Station as first built. This picture is an old postcard view taken by William Lawrence and provided courtesy of Kerry Docherty. [43]

Ballindrait Station in 21st century viewed from the West along the access road from the village (Google Streetview). The building on the right is the old passenger building with the platform beyond.

Ballindrait Railway Station was to the Northeast of the village on the North side of the Deele River.

The Good Shed (Google Streetview).

Ballindrait goods shed, looking towards Lifford (c) Kerry Doherty. [43]

There is a bungalow on the site of the old station, close to the old station house, but many of the buildings associated with the station are also still present. A sequence of views are adjacent to this text, three of which are views on Google Streetview.

The two wintry views are from the Irish National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. [32]

Ballindrait Good Shed from the Southwest. [32]

The Station Master’s House (Google Streetview)

There are also some pictures taken recently by Kerry Doherty which show the site from the alignment of the old railway (these make an excellent comparison with one of the images in the book, The Swilly and the Wee Donegal, by Anthony Burges . [44: p31])

Kerry Doherty’s photos include one of the old goods shed looking towards Lifford.

The Station Master’s House from the Southeast. [32]

The station buildings are in a surprisingly good condition having seen little or no maintenance over the years since the closure of the S&LR.

Ballindrait platform shelter and platform remains, looking towards Coolaghy (c) Kerry Doherty. [43]

I am particularly grateful to Kerry Doherty for the modern images which appear to be more up-to-date than the Google Streetview images.

Leaving the station, the railway travelled only a short distance due West before crossing the station access road leading up from Ballindrait village on a steel girder bridge.

Ballindrait platform shelter and platform remains, looking towards Coolaghy (c) Kerry Doherty. [43]

There is a view of the old railway, taken from just West of the under-bridge, below. It is a bucolic image of the S&LR which represents the scene at Ballindrait as it must have looked for much of the working day. It foreshortens the length of the station site quite considerably leaving the impression that the goods shed and the station platform are very close to each other.

The bridge deck has been removed and the abutments, if they still exist, are completely obscured by vegetation.

 

Leaving Ballindrait the line followed a relatively straight course for a short distance. This view looks back towards the station from just beyond the road under bridge which took the station access road into Ballindrait. [45]

Tamnawood Crossing-keeper’s Cottage [33]

Tamnawood Crossing-keeper’s Cottage (Google Streetview)

Beyond Ballindrait the S&LR followed the route of the R264 closely.

Initially crossing a side road on the level at Tamnawood Crossing. The crossing keeper#s cottage still stands in the early 21st century and is shown below in two images, the first comes from the Irish National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. [33] The second from Google Streetview.

At first it ran along the North side of the road. Modern develop obscures its route. The first two Google Satellite images below show that modern development.

 

After a few more hundreds of metres, line crossed the R264 on the level. The old road has been realigned at this point. The location can be picked out on the GSGS Map below but is more easily picked out on the larger scale extract provided after the two satellite images.

The approximate alignment of road and rail is illustrated on the Google Streetview photograph below the larger scale map extract.

Beyond the road crossing the S&LR followed the South side of the R264, only a few metres away from the carriageway, until it reach Coolaghy Halt where it turned away Southwest from the road.

The route as far as Coolaghy Halt is illustrated on the Google Sateliite images below.GSGS Map from 1941 shows the route of the Strabane to Letterkenny Railway following the route of the Ballindrait to Raphoe Raod (R264). [34]GSGS Map from 1941 shows the point at which the S&LR crossed the R264. [34]The R264 looking Northwest towards Raphoe showing the approximate alignments of the old road and the S&LR (Google Streetview).

The location of Coolaghy Halt (Google Maps)

Coolaghy Halt was the first point for some distance that the railway left the side of the old road. The route of the S&LR is still easily picked out as a line of trees and shrubs running West-southwest away from the R264.Coolaghy Halt in 1942 from the Tom P. McDevitte Collection courtesy of Kerry Doherty, the image is also reproduced in ‘Railway Days in Strabane’. [43]Coolaghy Halt’s location in the 21st century. The platform was where the fence sits today. Photograph by Kerry Doherty. [43]The location of Coolaghy Halt (Google Streetview)A side road from the Northeast met the R264 at the location of the Halt which was on the South side of the road. The red line on these two Google Streetview images shows the approximate alignment of the old S&LR at this point (Google Streetview).

Onward from Coolaghy Halt, the S&LR was only away from the R264 for a few hundred metres, running behind what is now P Connolly Car Sales and Repairs before drifting back towards the road and roughly following its alignment for a few hundred metres before turning away to the Southwest again en-route to what was Raphoe Railway Station.Raphoe Railway Station sat on the South side of the town. [35]

A view from above the cutting just before crossing the road into the Raphoe Station site, you can see the gap where it crossed the road, (c) Kerry Doherty. [45].The approach from the East to the level-crossing at Raphoe. This picture matches the more modern one above and is also taken from above the cutting on the route from Strabane and looks toward Raphoe station. [37]Raphoe Crossing-keeper’s Cottage just after closure of the line. [38]The Crossing-keeper’s cottage, Gate House 52, in the early 21st century, The photographer is standing on the track-bed, (c) Kerry Doherty. [45]A nice acknowledgement to the railway past, (c) Kerry Doherty. [45]The Level-crossing location in the 21st century. The Crossing-keeper’s cottage remains (Google Streetview)Looking forward from Raphoe gates into the station site. [42]

There is an excellent view of the station complex available in Ernie’s Railway Archive on Flickr … https://flic.kr/p/2iRSdWW … That image is best seen as part of that album of photographs on Flickr. [40] The next few pictures show the station while the line was in operation.

Erne at Raphoe Railway Station in 1959 (c) Douglas Robinson, used with permission from the Co. Donegal Railway Heritage Centre. [36]

Shunting at Ballindrait in 1959 (c) Roger Joanes (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) [41]

Railcar No. at Rahoe Station (c) Roger Joanes (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) [39]

A view of Raphoe Station from the West (c) Roger Joanes (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) [38]

The site of Raphoe Station in 21st century taken from a similar position to the last 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. [45]

We complete the first stage of the journey along the Strabane to Letterkenny Railway at Raphoe. As we noted at the start of this article, this is a place with a long history and it is worth the stopover to see the town!! There are two superb pictures of the station in Anthony Burges book, The Swilly and the Wee Donegal. [44: p32 &33]

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strabane_and_Letterkenny_Railway#:~:text=The%20County%20Donegal%20Railways%20Joint,this%20company%20to%20121%20miles., accessed on 14th 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. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Londonderry_and_Lough_Swilly_Railway, accessed on 14th July 2020.
  5. Steve Flanders & Hugh Dougherty, The Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway; Midland Publishing, 1997.
  6. 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 to have been part of my holiday reading, but 2020 has been a strange year!
  7. https://donegalnews.com/2014/04/famous-lough-swilly-bus-company-to-close-within-days, accessed on 14th July 2020.
  8. https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/bus-company-closes-30190034.html, accessed on 14th July 2020.
  9. https://www.stationhouseletterkenny.com/things-to-do-letterkenny/history-letterkenny-donegal, accessed on 14th July 2020.
  10. https://www.antaisce.org/buildingsatrisk/bishops-palace-raphoe, accessed on 14th July 2020.
  11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Eunan%27s_Cathedral,_Raphoe, accessed on 14th July 2020.
  12. https://twitter.com/rsh_raphoe/status/928058579046883330, accessed on 14th July 2020.
  13. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15&lat=54.83082&lon=-7.47324&layers=14&b=1, accessed on 14th July 2020.
  14. http://oldstrabane.blogspot.com/2010/09/1905-ordnance-survey.html, accessed on 14th July 2020.
  15. https://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/yourplaceandmine/tyrone/A716690.shtml, accessed on 18th July 2020.
  16. http://www.sepiatown.com/812264-Strabane-Railway-Station, accessed on 18th July 2020.
  17. http://oldstrabane.blogspot.com/2010/10/strabane-railway-station-1930-1959.html, accessed on 18th July 2020.
  18. http://www.sepiatown.com/813662-Strabane-Railway-Station, accessed on 18th July 2020.
  19. http://www.sepiatown.com/813665-Strabane-Railway-Station, accessed on 18th July 2020.
  20. http://www.sepiatown.com/814730-Strabane-Railway-Station, accessed on 19th July 2020.
  21. http://www.sepiatown.com/814448-Strabane-Railway-Station, accessed on 19th July 2020.
  22. http://www.sepiatown.com/814729-Strabane-Railway-Station, accessed on 19th July 2020.
  23. http://www.sepiatown.com/813674-Strabane-Railway-Station, accessed on 19th July 2020.
  24. http://www.sepiatown.com/814723-Strabane-Railway-Station, accessed on 19th July 2020.
  25. http://www.sepiatown.com/814657-Strabane-Railway-Station, accessed on 19th July 2020.
  26. https://cotyrone.com/towns/index.html, accessed on 19th July 2020 and used on a not-for-profit basis as per the copyright notice on the website.
  27. http://geohive.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=9def898f708b47f19a8d8b7088a100c4, accessed on 19th July 2020.
  28. https://www.buildingsofireland.ie/buildings-search/building/40835005/station-road-lifford-lifford-co-donegal, accessed on 19th July 2020.
  29. https://www.flickr.com/photos/110691393@N07/11370970966, accessed on 19th July 2020.
  30. https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/news-photo/lifford-the-centre-of-co-donegal-with-tyrone-on-the-other-news-photo/533285858, accessed on 19th July 2020.
  31. https://www.facebook.com/DonegalRailwayHeritageCentre/photos/a.1230417866994452/2723764270993130/?type=3&theater, accessed on 19th July 2020 – embedded here with permission..
  32. https://www.buildingsofireland.ie/buildings-search/building/40834011/ballindrait-railway-station-ballindrait-ballindrait-county-donegal, accessed on 19th July 2020.
  33. https://www.buildingsofireland.ie/buildings-search/building/40834014/tamnawood-ballindrait-county-donegal, accessed on 20th July 2020.
  34. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=14&lat=54.85980&lon=-7.56551&layers=14&b=1, accessed on 20th July 2020.
  35. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15&lat=54.87162&lon=-7.60309&layers=14&b=1, accessed on 22nd July 2020.
  36. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=3010690898967131&id=1223882780981294, accessed on 22nd July 2020.
  37. http://www.incony.org/History/StartPage.html, accessed on 22nd July 2020 – embedded directly from the website.
  38. http://www.incony.org/History/StartPage.html, accessed on 20th July 2020 – embedded directly from the website.
  39. https://www.flickr.com/photos/110691393@N07/11364546546/in/photolist-ijfgKG-ijfnbj, accessed on 22nd July 2020 – permission to use here has been sought and a response is awaited.
  40. https://flic.kr/p/2iRSdWW, accessed on 23rd July 2020.
  41. https://www.flickr.com/photos/110691393@N07/11370944925/in/photolist-ijP4Lz, accessed on 23rd July 2020.
  42. http://www.incony.org/History/StartPage.html, accessed on 22nd July 2020 – embedded directly from the website.
  43. Kerry Doherty of Ballindrait, Co. Donegal. provided a series of images from his collection of photographs for use in this article.
  44. Anthony Burges; The Swilly and the Wee Donegal; Colourpoint, Newtownards, Second Impression, 2010.
  45. After first publishing this article, Kerry Doherty of Ballindrait very kindly sent me a series of pictures which needed to be included in the article. Each of these bears the reference number [45].

The Guinness Brewery Railways, Dublin, again. ….

The featured image above shows a staggering number of barrels at the Guinness Brewery in Dublin! [3]

This very short article results from some recent reading about the railways on the Guinness Brewery site in Dublin.

  • An article in ‘Narrow Gauge & Industrial Railway Modelling Review’ Issue 60 Volume 8, October 2004, p134-142; [1] and
  • Paul Webb, ‘Shifting the Stout’, The Moseley Trust, Apedale, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire. [2]

The Brewery in St James’s Gate, Dublin was founded by Arthur Guinness in 1759, one of dozens based on the pure water available from the River Liffey. Guinness outlasted and outgrew all its competitors to become one of the greatest brewing empires in the world. 

Between 1868 and 1886 Guinness spent over £1 million on capital projects. As part of these developments, two rail systems were created within the expanded brewery site. I have covered these in some depth in an earlier article about the brewery railways. ….

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2019/04/26/the-guinness-brewery-railways-dublin

Instrumental in much of the development of the brewery site was Samuel Geoghegan who was Engineer to the Brewery.

The article in Narrow Gauge & Industrial Railway Modelling Review is archive material, courtesy of ‘Engineering’ magazine and the Greenwich & District NGRS. It consists primarily of a transcript of an illustrated presentation by Samuel Geoghegan which was carried by ‘Engineering’ Magazine in September and October 1888. It includes detailed drawings, engravings and photographs. Back copies of the magazine are available from Roy C. Link, Cambrian Forge, Garndolbenmaen, Gwynedd, LL51 9RX.

Paul Webb’s book is an A4 no-frills publication in basic green card cover and printed on standard copier paper but it contains a wealth of illustrations and detailed text about the Brewery and the various forms of transport, road, rail and water, that served it. Well worth the £8.50 plus postage that it cost, especially knowing that any profit from the sale supports the Moseley Railway Trust.

There are also some excellent YouTube offerings which focus on the brewery and the different modes of transport it employed. …. For example: [4]

References

  1. Samuel Geohegan; Tramways and Rolling Stock at Guinness’s Brewery; Narrow Gauge & Industrial Railway Modelling Review, Issue 60 Volume 8, October 2004, p134-142 (https://narrowgaugeandindustrial.co.uk, accessed on 22nd July 2020.)
  2. Paul Webb, Shifting the Stout; The Moseley Trust, Apedale, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire. (https://avlr.org.uk/moseley-railway-trust, accessed on 22nd July 2020.)
  3. This image is available from a variety of online sources including: https://www.lizcovart.com/blog/guinness-storehouse?format=amp, accessed on 22nd July 2020; https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/323133341987983419/?%24ios_deeplink_path=pinterest%3A%2F%2Fpin%2F323133341987983419&%24android_deeplink_path=pinterest%3A%2F%2Fpin%2F323133341987983419&amp_client_id=amp-q7GRAwBYyhpqAMkTd7nxbg&utm_source=168&utm_medium=2160&current_page_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pinterest.co.uk%2Famp%2Fpin%2F323133341987983419%2F&install_id=ac61f0899ae3492288c7cff241bd5a0c&%24fallback_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pinterest.co.uk%2Fpin%2F323133341987983419%2F%23details&amp_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pinterest.co.uk%2Famp%2Fpin%2F323133341987983419%2F&_branch_match_id=814525083296268811#details, accessed on 22nd July 2020
  4. https://youtu.be/Dacn58a1x5s, accessed on 22nd July 2020.

The Channel Islands – Part 1 – Alderney

The 1973 Railway World Annual carried a one page article about the short railway on Alderney which was owned by the Department of the Environment and which served a quarry. [1]

The Alderney Railway opened in 1847 and ran for about 2 miles (3.2 km), mostly following a coastal route, from Braye Road to Mannez Quarry and Lighthouse. Wikipedia notes that: “The railway was built by the British Government in the 1840s and opened in 1847.” [2] It was built as standard-gauge track. [5]

On 8th August 1854, the Queen Victoria and Prince Albert rode on the railway in a horse drawn tender.

Alderney Postage Stamp (1983-1993) showing one of the locos which used to run on The Alderney Railway. [8]

The line’s “original purpose was to carry stone from the eastern end of the island to build the breakwater and the Victorian era forts.” [2] It was operated by the Admiralty and so was probably the first nationalized railway in the British Isles? [4] It carried stone for around 130 years. From the 1920s it was in private hands and crushed stone was taken off-island for road-building until the Second World War. [4]

During the War, under German occupation, no effort was made to maintain the breakwater. The standard-gauge track was replaced by German 60cm gauge rails and the line was used for the transport of munitions.

As we have noted its primary function was providing stone for the building of Alderney’s Breakwater. There bis an excellent article about this, written by M. Swift, in the Industrial Railway Society Journal, “The Industrial Railway Record,” No. 52 (February 1974) – p170-173. [5]

M. Swift notes: “The vast increase in maritime trade during the early Victorian period was followed by a demand for harbours of refuge around Britain, and the Government proposed several schemes during 1846‑47. One was for a breakwater some 2,650 feet long from Grosnez Point, on the north side of Alderney in the Channel Islands, enclosing 67 acres of water. This was developed by successive Admiralty Boards during 1854‑58, the final proposal being a west breakwater 6,600 feet long and an east breakwater from Chateau a I’Etoc, 1,700 feet long enclosing 150 acres. The cost was estimated at £2½ million pounds.” [5]

“The breakwater was planned as a rubble bank built up to 12 feet below low water, topped by a masonry wall with the promenade level on the sea side 37 feet above low water, and the quay level on the harbour side 23 feet above low water. The scale of the task was magnified by the depth of the water, which reached a depth of some 150ft.” [5]Alderney Breakwater (Google Earth)The view Southwest along the breakwater towards Fort Grosnez (Google Maps). The old breakwater railway can just be picked out running from the bottom right towards the fort.A clearer image of the rails in the top surface of the breakwater. The picture is taken from further to the Northeast along the breakwater (Google Earth).

M. Swift describes the construction work in some detail. This is not directly relevant to this article but can be found by following the link in the references below. [5]

“The railway from the breakwater to Mannez quarries was 2½ miles long, laid to standard gauge with 65lb double-headed rails. A branch ran about half a mile to Craby Bay where shingle was excavated for making concrete blocks. The first two locomotives were six coupled with four wheel tenders, named ‘Veteran’ and ‘Fairfield’. These were replaced by two six coupled tank locomotives ‘Bee’ and ‘Spider’, and a four coupled tank locomotive ‘Waverley’ built by Henry Hughes of Loughborough. 300 to 400 four wheel 5‑ton capacity end tipping wagons were used to carry stone over the railway, and a few survived at least into the 1920’s.” [5]

The Industrial Railway Record (IRR) [5] includes a photograph of one of the locomotives used on the line. The Henry Hughes locomotive (Waverley) used by Thomas Jackson (the Contractor) in building the breakwater was later photographed on Alderney, presumably in Mannez Quarry when it was used to pull trains of stone in connection with the maintenance of the breakwater. The picture is included in the IRR article courtesy Ian Allan Ltd. [5]

The Alderney Railwat website has a photograph of one of the two 0-6-0 ST locomotives with the train of low stone wagons at the head of a page about the railway’s history. This photograph was also taken at Mannez Quarry. [4]

After the Second World War, “the Ministry of Defence re-laid the track at standard gauge (56½” – 1.435m) with concrete sleepers in panels and used ‘Molly’ a four wheeled Sentinel vertical boiler engine and rolling stock of 24 side tipping wagons (‘Yankees’) to tip Granite chippings into the sea from the Breakwater for maintenance of the mound.” [4]

The railway was probably in this form when it became the subject of the short article in The 1973 Railway World Annual. It was not long after this that negotiations were opened between the Home Office and the Alderney Railway Society which was formally established in 1978. ……Vulcan Drewry 0-4-0 diesel locomotive Elizabeth and former London Underground 1959 Tube Stock cars, (c) Dmartin@ukonline.co.uk (2007), (GNU Free Documentation License). [2]

In the mid 1970’s The British Home Office who were responsible for maintenance and operation, (there being only a minimal use of the track at this time), were approached to see if the line could be used for Passenger transport and after several years permission was obtained. Alderney Railway Society was established in 1978. When trains began to run in 1979, Alderney Railway Company Ltd was formed to hold the lease and operate the line. [4]

Passenger trains first ran in 1980. [4]   Trip Advisor tells us that, for a time, the passenger railway ran under steam power(as illustrated on the postage stamp earlier in this article:

In 1982 an 0-4-0 Bagnall steam locomotive by the name of “J.T. Daly” was acquired and ran with two ex-Chatham Dockyard open wagons which had light weight roofs to provide some protection for the passengers. J.T. Daly remained with the Alderney Railway until the early 1990s but due to its limited use and high cost of maintenance was subsequently sold to the Pallot Steam Museum in Jersey.

1985 saw the arrival of the Vulcan Drewry 0-4-0 diesel locomotive “Elizabeth” which after 20 years is still providing sterling service. By 1987 it was decided to try and provide improved accommodation for passengers and two ex London Underground 1938 tube cars were acquired from the North Downs Railway. These were drawn and propelled by Elizabeth and gave good service but by 2000 both vehicles had unfortunately succumbed to corrosion caused by the salt sea air. They were returned to England and scrapped.

In 2001 the Alderney Railway acquired two replacement 1959 tube cars from London Underground numbered 1044 and 1045. These vehicles have aluminum bodies with wooden floors and hopefully will survive the salt air. [9]

Wikipedia tells us that the current stock includes the two London Underground carriages, two 0-4-0 diesel locomotives and six Wickham 27A MkIII railcars. [2, c.f. 10]

The first length of the historic line ran along the breakwater, then in front of Fort Grosnez before entering Braye Village. The passenger line running in the 21st century starts from Braye Road Station and heads East to Mannez Quarry.The old railway was in use out onto the breakwater. It can still be seen on satellite images. A short stub siding ran in the yard in the bottom left of this image. The route to Mannez Quarry curved South from the breakwater, (Google Earth).As it passed the East aspect of the fort, it divided into two to allow shunting of wagons (Google Earth).

Running Southeast from the breakwater and Fort Grosnez the old line reached the location of the present railway station.

The railway is open, Covid-19 permitting, as a tourist attraction, “nowadays, the old train wagons have been replaced by two London Underground carriages and a diesel engine carrying visitors from Braye Road Station to Mannez Station near the Lighthouse.” [3]The line from the breakwater enters on the right of this picture. The station building at Braye Road Station is the timber shed to the left of centre. (Google Streetview).Tube stock stabled at Braye Road Station, (c) Dmartin@ukonline.co.uk (2007), (GNU Free Documentation License). [2]

These next satellite images show the line leading away from Braye Road Station in the 21st century.The last few Google Earth satellite images below show the approach to the Station in Mannez Quarry.

Steam Crane at Mannez Quarry (c) moogiemedia on Flickr (2011) (CC BY-NC 2.0). [6]Steam Crane at Mannez Quarry (c) Neil Howard (2009) (CC BY-NC 2.0). [7]

There was also a single branch line which left the main line in the village of Braye, not too far from Fort Grosnez, and headed West along the coast of Alderney a short distance to Craby Bay. It was used to transport shingle for the making of concrete blocks. [5] Its approximate route is imposed on the Google Earth Satellite image below.

References

  1. Michael Bryan; Alderney’s Railway; in A. Williams; Railway World Annual; Ian Allan, Sheperton, Surrey, 1973, p89.
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alderney_Railway, accessed on 6th July 2020.
  3. https://www.visitalderney.com/see-do/things-to-do/alderney-railway, accessed on 6th July 2020.
  4. https://www.alderneyrailway.gg/railway-history, access on 6th July 2020.
  5. https://www.irsociety.co.uk/Archives/52/Alderney.htm, accessed on 6th July 2020.
  6. https://www.flickr.com/photos/moogiemedia/6255851446, accessed on 7th July 2020.
  7. https://www.flickr.com/photos/neilsingapore/3567378586/in/photolist-6reKnm-87AmaZ-VyTi9h-dLeVRF-fuZF3v-cdXh1d-6rz17G-ouCErL-9JQLfz-FUE3D1-w6Zf16-9tKisi-pYB9P2-dQbFN-26kYJNq-231nCkP-sxWm3d-2iJRV1S-JQ5C2x-7dKYBY-87oDAq-wYcvMA-u3TEQB-awL9Rn-qSrvmd-awL9FD-awNSFG-edfjGK-oeFp1e-owhLjY-by4Zx2-wYf47r-xhmmXZ-zohqyu-xFZFg5-cqasAS-xrLPUk-ow8paj-d5Y36Y-d5Y2Do-AyBsp-o7Ui7T-9tN6y3-xzvuXk-edm1zE-edfnCX-edfnTV-edm9uf-edm2nA-edm2Eo, accessed on 7th July 2020.
  8. https://www.jandrstamps.com/products/guernsey-alderney-1983-93-j-t-daly-steam-loco-24p-mnh-sg-a12d-tourism-railways, accessed on 7th July 2020.
  9. https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g186228-d194222-r589431031-Alderney_Railroad-Alderney_Channel_Islands.html, accessed on 7th July 2020.
  10. https://www.ontrackplant.com/otp/9022, accessed on 13th July 2020.

 

 

Railways in Iran – Part 10 – Motive Power

Early Iranian Locomotives

We have already noted in this series that Iran had a very limited railway network at the turn of the 20th century. Essentially just one railway line which was of a narrow gauge and was no more than 6 miles long. Glyn Williams says that the line, as built, … was approximately 5.5 miles in length and had two branch lines of 2.5 miles in length. [22]

Its roster of locomotives was limited to five in total. And details of these can be found on the manufacturer’s listings, as tabulated below. [21] The full article is in french. The locomotives were built in Belgium by La Tubize.

Tableau des locomotives Tubize livrées pour la Perse (Iran)
n°     Année   Voie     Essieux             Destinataire
662   1887     1000   Cn2t / 0-6-0T     CF et Tramways en Perse, Téhéran-Rey No. 1
663   1887     1000   Cn2t / 0-6-0T     CF et Tramways en Perse, Téhéran-Rey No. 2
664   1887     1000   Cn2t / 0-6-0T     CF et Tramways en Perse, Téhéran-Rey No. 3
665   1887     1000   Cn2t / 0-6-0T     CF et Tramways en Perse, Téhéran-Rey No. 4
1436 1905     1000   Cn2t / 0-6-0T     CF et Tramways en Perse, Téhéran-Rey No. 5
Source : liste établie par Sébastien Jarne
Cn2t = 3 essieux moteurs, vapeur saturée, 2 cylindres, tender (tank in UK terminology)

No. 3 in display in Mellat Park, Tehran. [24]

La Tubize Locomotive No. 665 – No. 4 on display in Rey, (c) Alireza Javaheri, used under a Creative Commons Licence. [25]

What is perhaps surprising, is that the oldest preserved La Tubize locomotives in the world are in Iran. These locomotives were ordered by Shah Abdul Azim for the Railways and Tramways in Persia. They were to serve on the Tehran-Rey line and carried the company’s numbers 1 to 5. All of them, it seems, were preserved. In Iran, they were called the “Mashin Doodi”, or smoking machines.

Luc Delporte, writing in French in 2017 comments that, “It is not easy to find recent and verifiable information on these locomotives. However, it is possible to glean some information on the web to locate and, in some cases, verify the location of the locomotives.” [17] He goes on to undertake an internet search for the locomotives which are preserved in a non-operational condition. ……..

Un-numbered La Tubize Locomotive in Mellat Park in Tehran, (c) João Amado (Google Maps).

Un-numbered La Tubize Locomotive in Kosar Park, Tehran, (c) Mahdi Sarkhani (Google Maps).

The fifth of the five locomotive, again unnumbered outside the PARS Wagon Works in Arak (c) Hamid Hajihusseini (CC BY 3.0). [72]

No. 664 – No. 3 – has been kept in Mellat Park in Northern Tehran.

No. 665 – No. 4 –  Is on display at the entrance to Shahr-e-Rey Metro.

There are three further static displays of locomotives which means that the full set of 5 were retained for display. The remaining three are not numbered. They are as follows:

An additional locomotive in Mellat Park In Tehran. Another has been in Kosar Park in Tehran, probably  since 1963. The third, and final, locomotive is on display in Arak at the PARS wagon factory.

Locomotives prior to World War Two

The Railway Gazette of 1945 informs us [18: p159] that, in the period before the British took control of the Iranian (Persian) network, the State Railways owned the following locomotives:

49 German 2-8-0s with double bogie tenders.

16 German 2-10-0s with double bogie tenders.

12 Swedish 2-8-2s with double bogie tenders.

4 Beyer-Garratt 4-8-2+2-8-4 articulated engines.

5 Beyer-Peacock 2-8-0s with double bogie tenders, and

20 (or so) shunting locomotives.

This list may not be comprehensive – the Beyer Peacock Locomotive Order List, Garratt Locomotives, Customer List V1 (PDF); suggests that the company supplied 10 No. Beyer Garratt Locomotives of the same class (Class 86) to Iran. [8]A Beyer-Garratt in Iran. [5]Iranian State Railway. 418 – 421 (BP 6787-6790/1936) later renumbered 86.01 – 86.04. [7]

Wikipedia tells us that German manufacturers supplied 65 steam locomotives for the opening of the line in 1938. [10][26: p112] As we have noted above, these were of two classes. “49 were 2-8-0 ‘Consolidations’: 24 from Krupp forming class 41.11; 16 from Henschel und Sohn forming class 41.35; and nine from Maschinenfabrik Esslingen forming class 41.51. The other 16 were Henschel 2-10-0 ‘Decapods’ forming class 51.01.” [10][26: p107]

Wikipedia continues: “The Trans-Iranian acquired 10 of the locomotives that Kampsax had used to build the line. [26: p107].” These are not in the list provided by the Railway Gazette above. They were: “Gölsdorf two-cylinder compound 0-10-0 freight locomotives built between 1909 and 1915 as Austrian State Railways class 80 by Wiener Neustädter Lokomotivfabrik, Lokomotivfabrik Floridsdorf and Lokomotivfabrik der StEG in Vienna and by BreitfeldDaněk in Bohemia.” [10][26: p107] Apparently, the Gölsdorf 0-10-0s kept their original Austrian numbers. [26: p107]

The revised roster with these alterations looks more like this:

24 German Krupp 2-8-0s with double bogie tenders.

16 German Henschel und Sohn 2-8-0s with double bogie tenders.

9 German Maschinenfabrik Esslingen 2-8-0s with double bogie tenders. (Ex-works images of these locos can be found on Flickr.) [27][30]

16 German Henschel und Sohn 2-10-0s with double bogie tenders. (An image of one of these locos can be found on Flickr.) [31]

12 Swedish 2-8-2s with double bogie tenders.

10 Austrian State Railways 0-10-0s with double bogie tenders.

10 Beyer-Garratt 4-8-2+2-8-4 articulated engines.

5 Beyer-Peacock 2-8-0s with double bogie tenders, and

20 (or so) shunting locomotives.

“All the 65 German engines needed immediate repairs, as their fireboxes, tubes, stays, motion, and rods were all in poor condition because of lack of maintenance. The 12 Swedish locomotives were all out of service, awaiting modifications necessitated by excessive slipping. The four Beyer-Garratts were also out of commission as they required new fireboxes, longitudinal cracks having developed across their tube-plates. The 2-8-0 Beyer-Peacock locomotives had been excellent engines, but needed overhaul.” [18: p111]

The ’20 or so’ shunting locomotives referred to in the Railway Gazette article of 1945 probably include some locomotives used in the oilfields. There were a number of tank locos and at least these tender locomotives, although I don’t know details. These tender locomotives were in use:

  • some  2-6-0 steam locomotives which left Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1932 and were probably in use in the Oilfields in the South of Iran – an example can be seen on Flickr. [28]
  • some 2-8-0 Beyer Peacock locomotives delivered in 1934 – an example can be seen on Flickr. [29]

The Second World War

Two distinct phases of operation occurred during the War. The first was British led, the second, in the south of Iran, was led by the USA.

1.  Iran’s Railways under British Control

After the arrival of the British Railway Engineers (Royal Engineers) a series of additional locomotives were ordered and received from abroad:

39 coal-burning “W.D.” (British) 2-8-0s. (A photographic example of these locos can be found on Flickr.) [32]

104 oil-burning “W.D.” 2-8-0s.

96 oil-burning U.S.A. 2-8-2s.

6 German 2-10-2s diverted from China.

3 Kitson-built 2-6-4 and 4-6-4 tank engines from the Kowloon-Canton Railway, and

22 0-4-0 diesel shunting engines from the U.S.A.

Coal for the first batch of 39 “W.D.” 2-8-0s also had to be shipped from the United Kingdom.

The Railway Gazette articles of February 1945 catalogue a whole series of difficulties which needed to be overcome by the British Engineers:

  1. Only senior railway men in Iran (Persia) were experienced in railway operation, and “their training in various European countries had been academic rather than practical. Though they were, individually, competent and clever, they were not capable, collectively, of producing a really good and simple organisation to insure the satisfactory working of a railway beset with such topographical and climatic difficulties, especially in view of the ignorance of their subordinates.” [18: p112]
  2. Initially, “subordinate staff understood no English and the British … knew no Persian.” [18: p112]
  3. As we have noted already, “there were in the country ample engines and stock for light traffic working, an incredible percentage of them [however, were] out of order and laid up awaiting repairs, or [were, unsuitable] for working on long continuous mountain grades. Repair facilities and spare parts were also inadequate. ” [18: p112]
  4. The British majority of the British troops were inexperienced and young and numbers were inadequate.
  5. The arid nature of the country traversed meant that water supplies could only possible support “eight double-headed trains daily between Ahwaz and Teheran.” [18: p112] Indeed, later in the War, it was this fact that most influenced the American Eningeers who took over the running of the line to import 65 No. 1,000-h.p. diesel-electric locomotives.
  6. “The intense heat, as well as causing constant trouble with injectors and. being responsible for excessive slipping due to oil leakage on to the track, became almost unbearable for the European staff on the lower sections of line.” [18: p112]
  7. All the locomotives and wagons supplied from the U.K. and U.S.A. “were, in many respects, completely unsuited to the abnormal requirements of Persia, especially in regard to brake equipment, super-heaters, sanding and draw gear, and chilled cast-steel wheels.” [18: p112]

So significant were these issues that the article in the Railway Gazette repeated them alongside other difficulties. The wider list included: inadequate repairs and stores; hot weather troubles; failure of water supplies; carriage and wagon chaos; faults in locomotive depots; and a low standard of general organisation. [18: p159-160]

2. American Control

In the last two years of the War, the roster of locomotives was dramatically changed on the Southern section of the Trans-Iranian Railway (from the coast to Tehran) which was controlled by the Americans. Diesel power meant that the levels of traffic required could be achieved and the Americans brought with them 13 ALCO diesel locomotives. [15] The locomotives, made in Schenectady, New York, by the American Locomotive Company, required prepping in Iran prior to use. [16]

These ALCO (RSD-1) locomotives were intended originally as what the Americans call a road switcher, designed to both haul freight in mainline service and shunt them in railroad yards. They were rated at 1,000 horsepower (750kW) and rode on two three-axle bogies. [17]

At this time a number of American Mikados (WD/USA series 1000-1199) had been leased to the British forces and “had just started working in Iran, although it was realised that the extreme temperatures in the southern plains and above all the scarcity of good water along the whole line made the operation of heavy trains by steam locomotives extremely difficult. Moreover, the 1000 ton “Aid-to-Russia” trains required double-heading over the mountain sections, where gradients of 1 in 67 were frequent and the fact that there were 144 tunnels in 165 miles meant that locomotive crews suffered considerable hardship from smoke and oil fumes.” [33]

Some of the 1000hp diesel-electric locomotives worked the more difficult sections of the Trans-Iranian Railway. The first batch of USA/TC RSD-1 locomotives, numbered 8000 to 8012 arrived in Iran in about March 1943. On relatively level lines with little gradient, they were used singly. This was primarily between Ahwaz and Bandar Shalpur, Khorramshahr, Tanuma and Andhimishk.

A second and larger tranche of these RSD-1 locomotives was delivered to Iran within a few months. These were number 8013 to 8056 and “were fitted for multiple-unit working so that two locomotives could be worked with only one engine crew. … They were stationed at Andhimishk and Arak, and normally worked in pairs hauling all the heavy northbound freight trains over the mountainous sections between these two places. On the return journey, as many as five were coupled together to work back to Andhimishk.” [33]

No. 8014 at the head of a train in the mountains, (c) R. Tourret Collection. [33]

In May 1943, numbers 8007, 8009, 8010, 8011, 8012, 8028, 8029, 8031 and 8034 to 8056 were still awaiting finishing. Numbers 8000, 8001, 8002, 8003, 8004, 8005, 8013, 8015, 8018 and 8030 were allocated to the Southern Division and 8006, 8008, 8014, 8016, 8017, 8019, 8020, 8021, 8022, 8023, 8024, 8025, 8026, 8027, 8028, 8029, 8032, and 8033 were allocated to Andhimishk/Arak.

No. 8048  at Durud in Iran in June 1945. In Iran, the heat was so intense that the Alco diesels operated with the engine access doors removed, despite the increased risk of damage due to the ingress of sand (c) H.C. Hughes. [33]

“From September 1943, some of them worked as far north as Qum and by May 1944 some were working regularly through to Teheran. Between Arak and Teheran it became a common sight to see a diesel and a USA/TC steam 2-8-2 coupled together at the head of a train, and on at least one occasion two diesels and a 2-8-2 were used on a passenger train.” [33]

Following the war, these diesel locomotives were shipped back to the US where they continued to work either hauling freight on military installations, used for training, or were sold to railroad companies. [19] Steam power once again held sway in Iran and continued to do so until the late 1950s. [20]

Steam After the Second World War

As noted above, there were steam locomotives at work throughout Iran during the War. A good number of “American S200s operated in the Middle East, including Egypt, Palestine and Lebanon. One was destroyed by fire at El Arish in Egypt in 1942. 29 of this batch was later supplied to Turkey where they became the TCDD 46201 Class. In 1946 another 24 were transferred to TCDD which added them to the same number series 46201–46253. 51 S200s built in 1942 served on the Trans-Iranian Railway, where they became Iranian class 42.“[34][26: p125]

Turkish Railways USATC S200 Class Locomotive No. 46224 at TCDD Open Air Steam Locomotive Museum, Ankara, Turkey (c) Ex13(CC BY-SA 3.0). [34]

BY the end of the Second World War, motive power on Iranian State Railways reverted to steam and a number of new purchases were made.

Iranian State Railways Steam Locomotives

Jonathan D.H. Smith provides the catalogue of Iranian Railways Steam Locomotives below. He maintains a database of a similar nature for most countries in the world. All dimensions metric: lengths in mm, areas in m2, weights in metric tons, pressures in atmospheres. There is no indication in the table of the dates that the locomotives were active. [2]

Class Axle arr-
angement
Dr.
Dia.
Cylinders
Diameter x Stroke
B.P. Ad.
Wt.
EW
WO
Grate
Area
Evap
Surf.
Sup.
Surf.
Remarks
30.1 C 1270 435×610 10 33 33 1.4 82 none  
30.2 Ct 1100 380×550 13 34 34 1.3 65 none  
31.0 1’C 1350 490×600 14 44 57 2.6 168 total  
31.2 1’C 1170 405×560 12.3 34 41 1.6 94 none  
33.30 1’C2’t 1560 485×660 12.7 51 91 3.0 168 none KCR 3
34.60 2’C2’t 1560 560×710 12.7 60 106 3.2 229 none KCR 9
41.0 1’D 1220 510×660 12.3 57 67 3.2 167 30  
41.1 1’D 1450 560×720 15 68 75 3.9 185 65  
41.10 1’D 1435 470×710 15.8 64 73 2.7 153 23 LMS 8F coal
41.15 1’D 1435 470×710 15.8 64 73 2.7 153 23 LMS 8F oil
42.0 1’D1′ 1350 500×660(3) 12.5 64 86 4.2 165 51  
42.40 1’D1′ 1520 535×710 14 65 89 4.3 201 58 USATC S200
51.0 1’E 1450 630×720 15 89 99 4.5 213 78  
52.0 1’E1′ 1370 560×710 14.8 75 102 5.0 217 70 Ex 52.50
52.1 1’E1′ 1295 605×660 14 82 109 6.1 254 81  
80.1 E 1260 590(1)/850(1)x630 14 69 69 3.4 135 34 KköStB 80
86.0 2’D1′-1’D2’t 1350 490×660(4) 14 118 201 6.3 336 81 Garratt

The most dramatic of the locomotives purchased by Iranian State Railways after the War were Decapods. They supplemented what was left of the locomotives from Hencshel, Krupp, and Maschinenfabrik Esslingen.

Iranian Railways Decapod! [6]One of these 2-10-2 locomotives was photographed in 2015 by Bernd Seiler on a Farrail trip. [12]The same plinthed locomotive. This time the picture shows a full three-quarter view [13]

The Vulcan Foundry Co. was a British locomotive builder sited at Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire. The Company produced a series of large locomotives in the 1950s for locations around the world. [35] The Company’s own records show that 40 2-10-2 Decapods were made for Iranian State Railways and delivered in 1952 and a further 24 were delivered in 1954. These were monsters! The Vulcan Magazine article about them (from Winter 1952/53 (Volume 2 Number 8) [3][4] can be found on the http://enuii.com website, [35] along with the Vulcan/Iranian State Railways Brochure. [6][35]

Just a few limited facts about these locomotives:-

They were built entirely to metric dimensions and set up for oil-firing rather than coal. They had a tractive effort of 49,000 lb at 85% pressure and were provided with boilers with a total evaporative heating surface of over 2,730 sq. ft. [6]

The contract for these locomotives was negotiated in 1950, they were expected to cope with trains of 592 tons (600 tonnes) on a 1.5% grade and 296 tons (300 tonnes) on a ruling 2.8% grade where curves of 22 metre radius were the norm. [3][4]

Full details can be found by following the links [3][4] and [6] in the references section below.

Ex-Russian group E from the Djulfa broad gauge line, Tabriz, Iran 1973. [1]

There were still, in the 1970s, some 5ft 3 in gauge tracks rusting away in Iran which had been built by the Russians. The adjacent picture shows an ex-Russian Steam Locomotive on broad-gauge tracks near Tabriz. The main line was converted to standard-gauge in the late 1950s to coincide with the line being built between Tabriz and Tehran in standard-gauge.

Istanbul – Tehran, Iranian 90-510, Razi border station August 1973. [1]

The broad-gauge was also evident at the border as can be seen in the next image. Broad-gauge is most clearly in evidence on the right of the picture

“In 1945, before the Cold War started, the Soviet Union got the first modern diesel engines, Db series from Baldwin, employed Tuapse – Samtrediya and Gudermes – Ordzonikidse, decorated with the Soviet star.” [1]

Diesels After the Second World War

Electroputere Sulzer Diesel Locomotives

A pair of these locomotives were sent for testing in Iran in the late 1950s. It seems as though around 10 of these locomotives were purchased. [36][37]

Name Type Specifications and Notes Maximum speed Years built
Class 60 (DA) Diesel electric 2,100 hp (1,566 kW) Co-Co axle formula 100 km/h (62 mph) 1959–1981

One of three views of a pair of Co-Co Class 60 DAs led by 0518 that were sent for testing in Iran. All three pictures can be seen on the Derby Sulzer Website All three views were taken at the town of Arak. (c)  F Burdubus. The other two follow below. [23]

These were among the earliest in a long line of purchases of Diesel Locomotives by the Iranian State Railways. Details can be found on the link at reference [37] below. They included:

General Motors – EMD Locos (1950s)

Many of the early diesel purchases made in the late 1950s by Iranian State Railways were from General Motors (GM-EMD(USA)). A series of purchases began with a significant number of G12 Bo-Bo locomotives in 1957. A total of 137 of these locomotives were delivered. These were number 40.001- 40.137.A GM-EMD G12 Bo-Bo Locomotive. These locomotives had a long life having first seen service in 1957. This picture was taken in 2016, (c) blackthorn57 on Flickr (CC BY 2.0). [38]

By 1959, Iranian State Railways had also purchased 13 No. GM-EMD G8 Bo-Bo locos; and 20 No. GM-EMD G16 Co-Co locos from General Motors.A preserved G8 Locomotive in Australia, (c) Zzrbiker, English Wikipedia, (CC BY-SA 3.0). [39] A RENFE GM-EMD G16 Co-Co Locomotive in service in Spain. [40]

The G8s were of a lower power rating than the G12s, 643kW as opposed to 963kW. They were numbered 40.401- 40.413.

The G16s had two three axle bogies and a power rating of 1323kW, they were numbered 60.301-60.320.

General Motors – EMD Locos (1960s onwards)

Further purchases were made from General Motors (USA) over the years:

  • 2 No. GM-EMD G18W Bo-Bo Locomotives were purchased in 1968. Their power rating was 735kW. They were numbered 40.451-40.452. [37][45]
  • 193 No. GM-EMD GT26-CW Co-Co locomotives were bought in 1971. They had a power rating of 2205kW and were numbered 60.501-60.569, 60.801-60.914 and 60.975-984. [37][44]
  • 41 No. GM-EMD G22W Bo-Bo Locomotives were purchased and delivered in 1975 & 1982. Their power-rating was 1103kW. They were numbered 40.138-40.178. [37] Nos. 40.158-40.178 were constructed under licence by Đuro Đaković [42][43]
  • 70 No. GM-EMD GT26-CW2 Co-Co Locomotives  were purchased in 1984. Their power rating was 2205kW and they were numbered 60.915-60.974 and 60.985-60.994. All of these locomotives have three 48 inch fans instead of the standard two which is a necessary provision for hot climate of Iran. [37][41]

Locomotives from Japan (1970s)

A single contract was arranged with Hitachi for the delivery of HD10C Locomotives. It seems that these were delivered in 1971 and 1975. They had a lower power-rating (707kW)and were used for shunting. They were numbered 60.601-60.138.A Hitachi HD10C Bo-Bo at Tehran Loco depot.This picture was taken in 2016, (c) blackthorn57 on Flickr (CC BY 2.0). [38]

General Electric (Canada) (1990s)

In the 1990s Iran contracted with General Electric in Canada for the supply of further locomotives:

  • 21 No. U30C Co-Co Locomotives were purchased in 1992. They had a 2240kW power rating and carried the fleet numbers 60.2001-60.2021 [37][46][47]
  • 41 No. C30-7i Co-Co Locomotives bought in 1993 and delivered in 1993 and 1994 had a power rating of 2240kW and were numbered 60.2022-60.2062 [37][47][48]

A Union Pacific GE U30C Locomotive similar to those used in Iran. [46]A GE C30-7i in use in Estonia, (c) LHOON (CC BY-SA 2.0). [48]

Lugansk Locomotives from Ukraine (1997)

Iran bought 5 No. 2M62U Co-Co (x2) Locomotives from Lugansk in the Ukraine in 1997. They were rated at 2942kW and were used for heavy freight duties. Their wheel arrangement was unusual – Co-Co + Co-Co. They were effectively two large locomotives paired together which operated as one unit.LDz 2M62U Locomotive at Ziemeļblāzma Station, (c) Jindřich Běťák (GNU Free Documentation License). [49]

Newer Diesels (2000 onwards)

Recognise these? Pacers. Iran imported them from the UK but scrapped them long before the UK! They were exported to Iran in 2001/2 (Numbers 141001, 141004, 141006, 141008, 141010
and 141013-141019) [14][50]

Alstom Locomotives

In 2002, Alstom Locomotives were ordered by the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (RAI). “Of the 100 units ordered by RAI, Alstom built the first 20 machines in its plant in Belfort, France, including 5 kits. The remainder was produced by Wagon Pars in Iran. For the 20 units built in France, Ruston supplied the engines (16 RK 215). The engines for the remaining 80 locomotives were built in Iran by DESA as agreed in a technology transfer agreement.” [51] The 100 locomotives were designated as follows:

  • 30 No. Alstom DE43CAC Co-Co Passenger Locomotives with a power rating of 2880kV and numbered 201-230. [37]
  • 70 No. Alstom DE43CAC Co-Co Freight Locomotives with a power rating of 2600kV and which were numbered 231-300. [37]

An Alstom Prima DE43 C AC. [51]

Ziyang Locomotive Co. Ltd GK1C Locomotive. [53]

CRRC Ziyang in China

Five modern diesel shunting Locomotive were purchased in 2008 from CRRC Ziyang in China. These are GK1C B-B Locomotives with a power rating of 990kW [37] although figures quoted elsewhere are higher than this [cf. 52]

Siemens “Safir” Locomotives

In In 2006 Siemens, MAPNA and the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (RAI) agreed a contact for the supply of 150 four axle Bo-Bo Locomotives. The first locomotive was manufactured by Siemens in early 2010, a further 199 were eventually supplied – the first 30 were built in Germany. [37][54] The remainder were built/assembled in manufactured in Iran under a technology transfer agreement. The value of the contract for the first 150 was $450 million (€294 million). [55]

These are single-ended passenger ER24PC locos with a power rating of 1960kW. They are sometimes referred to as “IranRunners” or “Iran Safirs”. They are numbered 1501-1700. [54]A pair of Siemens ER24PC “IranRunners” of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways at Tehran, (c) Kabelleger/David Gubler (CC BY-SA 4.0). [54]

MAPNA MLC Locomotives

MAPNA is an Iranian Industrial concern. “In 2016, a contract for production and sale of 25 MAP24 locomotives was signed between MAPNA Railway Operation Development & Maintenance Company as the clientو and MAPNA Locomotive Engineering & Manufacturing Company. The first unit of the 25-strong batch was delivered to MAPNA Railway Operation Development & Maintenance Company and started trial operation in March 2018 at Tehran depot.” [56]

The MAP24-S90 Co-Co Locomotives have a power-rating of 2238kW. [37]A MAPNA MAP24-S90 Co’Co’ Locomotive in Tehran. [56]

DMUs (Diesel Motive Power Units)

We have already noted the presence of Pacers in Iran. Other DMUs include:-

The French RTG DMU-5 Turbo Trainsets (Class T2000) which were delivered in the mid-1970s and power rated at 2020kW. four units were delivered in the mid 1970s [58]  and a further 5 were bought from SNCF in 2005. [37]French Turbotrain RTG DMU-5 (c) Bernd Seiler used with the kind permission of the photographer. [57]

20 No. DMUs from Seimens, Austria were delivered in 2004. These DH4 DMU-4 units had a 2352kW power rating. [37] They were intended, initially, for the 1000km route between Tehran and Mashhad. 5 units were built by Siemens, and Wagon Pars Co. in Iran built 15 of these units as a sub-contractor to Siemens. They were designed for a maximum operating speed on 160km/hour.DH4 DMU-4 Unit in Tehran. [59]

50 No. DMU-3 sets from Hyundai Rotem (Korea) were ordered in the early 2000s and delivered two batches in 2007 and 2016/2017, these were primarily built for suburban traffic. The delay in the delivery schedule can be accounted for by the imposition of international sanctions. [37]

A further 150 No. DMU-3 sets were the subject of negotiations between the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (RAI) and Hyundai Rotem (Korea). A deal was struck in 2016 for the supply of 150 DMU cars for Raja Passenger Train Company. 50 No. of the trainsets were to be made by Hyundai Rotem and 100 no. by Iranian Rail Industries Development (IRICO). [37][60][61] Hyundai Rotem employs around 3,800 people and exports to 50 countries worldwide. [62] In 2020, the order was still being fulfilled. [37] the contract continues as a result of Hyundai-Rotem being able to recover frozen payments of US$74.7 million from Iran in 2016 which were stopped because of sanctions. [71]Hyundai-Rotem DMU-3 in Iran. [71]

Electric Locomotives

Iran has been pursuing a programme of electrification. As yet there is much to achieve in this respect. The line between Tabriz and Jolfa was electified in time to order eight Rc4, Bo-Bo 3440kW power rated locomotive from SJ (Sweden) in 1979. These locos were used for freight between Tabriz and Jolfa and, much later, for commuter trains between Tabriz-and Azarshahr. They were numbered 40-651 – 40-658.m [37][62][64]

These locomotives were known as the RAI 40-700 class. They were based on the Swedish Rc4 but with Rm-type bogies, sand-proof air filters and no round windows on the side. [63]This photo was taken in 2009 and shows a RAI 40-700 Class Electric Locomotive (c) Ghorbanalibeik [63]

New electrification projects were started with the completion in 2012 of a 46km length of line between Tabriz and Azarshahr to the south. The primary aim of electrifying the five-station single-track route at 25 kV 50 Hz wass to improve services for students travelling to the university at Azarshahr. No additional locomotives needed to be purchased to support this service. [65] 

Plans are afoot to electrify 2 lengths of railway. Negotiations started  in 2016 to make this happen. The two lengths involved are the line between Tehran and Tabriz and the line between Tehran and Mashhad. [66] Italy offered to undertake the work on the Tehran to Tabriz line. [67]

“Iran has been in talks with Germany’s Siemens as well as Chinese companies to electrify the Tehran-Mashhad Railroad. In October, Germany’s Siemens signed a contract to supply components for 50 diesel-electric locomotives, which will be used in the 926-km railroad, to Iran’s MAPNA Group. Another agreement was signed between the two companies to jointly manufacture 70 electric locomotives for the route.” [66][cf. 68]

Detailed studies for the line were completed in 2018 and construction was due to start later in that year. [69] At present, I cannot find details of the construction programme for the electrification nor of detailed plans for the manufacture of the planned 50 or 70 locomotives. Siemens withdrew from the project in 2018 after pressure from the USA. [70]

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Co. Donegal Railways, Ireland – Part 2 – The Glenties Branch – Ballinamore to Glenties

This article covers the Western length of the Glenties Branch of the Co. Donegal Railways. The Eastern length of the branch is covered in the first article in this series about the Co. Donegal Railways which can be found at:

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2020/05/27/co-donegal-railways-ireland-part-1-the-glenties-branch-stranorlar-to-ballinamore

An extract from a larger picture (Scanned slide) (c) G Sludge (Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)). [2]

At the end of the first article we got off the train at Ballinamore station (which serves the village community of Bellanamore) and were surprised to see how spartan the accommodation in the passenger facilities was. We were even more surprised to discover that the main station building, such as it was, managed to survive into the 21st century.

We return to Ballinamore station to catch the next train looking forward to visiting the next station on the line at Fintown!

A photograph of the ‘lifting’ train at Ballinamore. After closure the line was ‘lifted’ and removed leaving in most places no more than the formation. [32]An extract from the GSGS Map from the early 1940s showing the route of the Glenties Branch from Ballinamore to Fintown. Ballinamore Station is in the second map sqaure form the right at the top of the image, to the southeast of the bridge over the River Finn. [1]

A larger scale view of the station location at Ballinamore. [1]

We can imagine hopping onto Railcar No. 6 heading for Fintown. … As we leave the ‘station’ behind we look to our left and see the station master’s house. Not large, but certainly bigger than the station facilities we have just enjoyed!

On the adjacent map extract the location of the station house can be picked out as a very slight bump on the side of the road just Northwest of the Station.

The Station House has survived and is now a holiday rental property which in 2020 has recently been refurbished.

The first picture below shows the Station House in 2020 with the old railway formation marked in red behind it. The second image is the Google Earth satellite image of the site.

The Station House at Ballinamore. [4]

Ballinamore Station House ( Google Maps).

The line continued Northwest across the road from the station to the R252 and Bellanamore Village. The image below shows that the crossing was at grade. Traffic flows were so small that it is very likely that this was an un-gated crossing.

The next satellite image shows the line heading way towards Fintown. It is followed by a Google Streetview image of the line leaving the level-crossing behind. Earthworks were minimal and its embankment was no more than a couple of feet above the surrounding land!Bellanamore Village from the South West looking across the line of the Glenties Branch which is marked in red (Google Streetview).The Glenties Branch heading Northwest from Ballinamore Station Halt (Google Maps).The line northwest of the level-crossing was on a very shallow embankment which lifted it above the boggy ground (Google Streetview). The trees in the distance mark the location of the Stranagoppoge River.

Road (R250), Rail (The Glenties Branch) and Lough Finn’s North shore rune roughly parallel (Google Streetview).

Just a short distance further along the line, trains crossed the Stranagoppoge River, a tributary of the River Finn is perhaps one of the lesser known of its tributaries and is part of the Cloghan Lodge Estate. I have been unable to ascertain what the structure of the bridge was like. The line then passed close to the South West shore of Lough Sluvnagh before beginning to turn towards the West, heading for Fintown.The Glenties Branch as it passed Lough Sluvnagh (Google Maps).Lough Sluvnagh and the route of the old railway (Google Streetview). This photograph is taken from the road South of the line.The view across Lough Sluvnagh from the R252 showing the line of the old railway (Google Streetview). I have shown the line of the railway using a very narrow red line.The location of the next road crossing to the West of Lough Sluvnagh (Google Streetview).The Glenties Line to the West of Lough Sluvnagh shown on the GSGS Map of the early 1940s. The crossing in the image above is shown just to the left of the grid line on the map. [5]Looking back along the old Glenties Branch towards Lough Sluvnagh from the road crossing (Google Streetview).Looking West along the line of the Branch. The shell of a building which was probably the crossing-keepers cottage is in the left foreground (Google Streetview).A satellite image of the approach to Fintown and its Lake (Google Maps).The road-crossing on the approach to Fintown. It appears at the extreme left of the satelite image above. This view is taken facing South across what was the old crossing (Google Streetview).The line ahead towards Fintown. This view looks from the road to the south of the crossing in a westerly direction (Google Streetview).A short distance further West the line approached Fintown and its station. This extract from the GSGS Maps of the early 1940s shows both the Lake and the town with the station sitting alongside the lake. [6]The Approach to Fintown Station. [25]The Fintown Railway. [7]Fintown Station (Google Maps).Fintown Railway Station House (c) Kenneth Allen (CC BY-SA 2.0). [13]The Eastern end of the preserved Fintown Railway in 2010 (c) Kenneth Allen (CC BY-SA 2.0) [8]The Water Tower at Fintown Station in 2010, a reminder that once the station was served by steam locomotive power (c) Kenneth Allen (CC BY-SA 2.0). [9]Fintown Station in 2007 (c) Kenneth Allen (CC BY-SA 2.0) [10]The old Goods shed and workshop at Fintown Station in 2010, viewed from the platform (c) Kenneth Allen (CC BY-SA 2.0). [11]Another view of the workshops at Fintown Station (c) Kenneth Allen (CC BY-SA 2.0). [12]Railcar No. 18 at Fintown Station Platform. [14]Fintown Railway’s Railcar approaches the station throat at Fintown Station, heading East into the station [14]The old line followed the Northern shore of the Lough along its full length. The preserved line follows the same route (Google Maps)The journey along the lakeside begins. [15]The ‘modern’ service runs between the road and Lough Finn along the full length of the Lough. This picture was taken in 2012 (c) Kenneth Allen (CC BY-SA 2.0). [16]A view of the line towards the Western end of Lough Finn taken from the R250. Just visible in this photograph is the style which appears in the following photograph (Google Streetview).Railcar No. 18 again in 2012 (c) Kenneth Allen (CC BY-SA 2.0). [17]Another view of the line from the R250. The style is now in the left foreground (Google Streetview).The R250 and the railway run parallel for quitea while alongside the Lough (Google Streetview).Road and Rail closely followed the Lough shore (Google Maps)Over halfway along the Lough now, also in 2012 (c) Kenneth Allen (CC BY-SA 2.0). [18]Another view of the line and the Lough from the R250 (Google Streetview).The end of the Lough approaches (Google Maps).With the West end of the Lough in view the R250, the railway and the Lough seem to get compressed together (Google Streetview).The Glenties Branch West-Southwest of Lough Finn (Google Maps).A larger scale extract from the above satellite image showing the end of the Lough and the approximate extent of the Fintown Railway in 2020 (Google Maps).This view is taken a little to the West of the end of the Lough and the end of the Fintown Railway. The side road visible here is the road to the right-hand side of the satellite image aboveOne the satellite image above. It is taken looking South from the R250 across the route of the old line towards a modern Multi-Use Games Area. The route of the line was in cutting and the parapets of a bridge remain into the 21st century. A couple of track panels have been stored here. (Google Streetview).

West of Lough Finn, the Glenties Branch continued in a Southwesterly direction to wards Shallogan. The route of the old line is shown on the next extract from the GSGS Maps of the early 1940s which is reproduced below. The whole of the Fintown to Sahallogan length of the line is shown on the first image below. The Glenties Branch between Fintown and Shallogan. [19]The second of the two map extracts above shows the length of the line from the West end of Lough Finn to Shallogan. [20] As can be seen the line remained on the South side of the R250 along this full length. Along the length from a point a few hundred metes West of Lough Finn to Shallogan the line was on a downward grade. As the next image shows, the line was raised on a very shallow embankment in places. At other places there were shallow cuttings. Both cutting and embankments were no more than a few feet in depth or height.. and ran close to the road for much of the distance.The Glenties Branch Southwest of Lough Finn (Google Streetview).The Glenties Branch a little further Southwest (Google Streetview).The length of the Glenties Branch covered in the pictures above (Google Maps).The Glenties Branch continues in a Southwesterly direction (Google Maps)In a very short distance the R250 rejoins the route of the old railway, running just to the North (Google Maps).The Glenties Branch ran on a shallow embankment as indicated by the red line above (Google Streetview).At times road and rail were immediately next to each other (Google Maps).The fence-posts delineating the line of the railway still remain in places (Google Streetview).The final approaches to the hamlet of Shallogan (Google Maps).The first property in Shallogan viewed from the R250 (Google Streetview).Shallogan: there was a halt here which was the last formal stop before Glenties. That did not mean that you could not wave down the railcar passing you and get one anywhere along the line (Google Maps).Railway Culvert at Shallogan (Googl;e Streetview).South West of Shallogan road and rail separated once again (Google Maps).Looking East back along the line of the branch at the point where the line began to diverge from the route of the R250 and where the line crossed the River Shallogan twice in very short succession (Google Streetview).Looking Southwest from the same location. The old line can be seen curving away to the Southwest while the R250 urn further to the West (Google Streetview).The GSGS Map of the length of the line between Shallogan and GlentiesThe route of the Glenties Branch continues Southwest and will soon be met once again by the R250 (Google Maps). Just above the wooded area the first of two remaining bridges over the River Shallogan can be seen on the satellite image.The second of these two bridges is visible in the top-right of this next satellite image (Google Maps).Looking back to the Northeast along the old railway line. At this locaTion the formation is most clearly visible with significant cutting and embankments (Google Streetview).The line continues towards Glenties (Google Maps). Along this length the formation of the old railway is hidden from the road by  bushes and scrubland.

We are now on the final approach to Glenties and the old railway was travelling South-Southwest alongside the R250. The adjacent satellite image shows its course cut by a farmyard and then a road. The road crossed the line of the railway on a bridge. The first image below shows the view Northeast from the bridge looking through the farmyard back towards Fintown and Shallogan.

The second image looks forward towards Glenties. It is less easy to establish the route of the railway in this image, but it runs to the  western edge of the copse of trees.

A view Northeast along the old railway formation from a road overbridge (Google Streetview).Looking towards Glenties (Google Streetview).

Flickr has two images of this bridge taken from the fields either side of the road. [28][29]

After this the old line began to curve round to the towards the Southwest again. It encountered another road which is crossed at ground level.Looking North by Northeast along the old line towards Shallogan (Google Streetview).Looking towards Glenties at the road-crossing. The crossing-keepers house is still standing (Google Streetview).On towards Glenties (Google Maps). The formation of the old line is lost in scrub land to the South side of the R250 and cannot easily be picked out on Google Streetview.The outskirts of Glenties (Google Maps).The final few hundred metres to the railway station are covered on this satellite image and the next (Google Maps).

Level crossing with the R250 on the approach to Glenties Station. This view looks Northeast along the line (Google Streetview).Glenties Station is just ahead beyond the tree-line. This view is taken at the level-crossing location on the R250.Glenties Railway Station Building viewed from the R250 (Google Streetview).

Glenties Railway Station in 1966, (c) Roger Joanes (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). [26]Glenties Railway Station looking towards the buffer-stops in 1966, (c) Roger Joanes (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). [27]Locomotive “Foyle” at Glenties Station with Engine Driver B. McMenamin and Fireman J. O’Donnell. Photograph “From the Wilds of Donegal”, used with permission from the Donegal Railway Heritage Centre and found on their Facebook page. [31]A very grainy image showing one of the Co. Donegal Railcars on shed at Glenties, with thanks to Kerry Doherty. [32]Co. Donegal Railways Railcar 6 at Glenties, with thanks to Kerry Doherty. [32]

The location of Glenties railway Station. The station building is a B&B in the 21st century (Google Maps).

The adjacent satellite image brings our journey along the Glenties Branch to an end.

There are a few pictures of the station to follow below and a note too about an attempt to take the line on the Ardara.

The Fintown Railway has ambitions to bring its preservation line along the old trackbed to Glenties. I imagine that the events of 2020 may well have made that a more remote possibility than it was.

Glenties Railway Station Building in the 21st century. The property is now a B&B. This view is from the track-side of the station building. [21]

Glenties Station Building in the 21st century. [22]

A view along the line of the platform in 2020. [22]

The extension of the Glenties Branch to Ardara

There was once a plan to extend the line. It was a sensible plan as it would have taken the line close to the coast and to a basic harbour. It might have given the line a new lease of life. But it failed to get off the ground. [23: p38-41][24]

Ardara was 6 miles West of Glenties and had a small population of around 500 people. There had been government funding for a number of railway extensions around the turn of the 20th century. These included extensions to Burtonport and to Cardonagh. The people of Ardara felt encouraged to try to gain their own railway extension.

A vpetition was sent to the directors of the railway in 1903, which was acknowledge but then left on a shelf. After the 1906 takeover of the Company, Ardara renewed their pressure for their own extension. The reaction was lukewarm. The directors did say that if funding could be found through Parliament they would consent to run the line. After some vacillation and some minor successes in seeking funding. A grand total of £2,000 was raised!

Henry Forbes reviewed the possible extension and suggested that it might be built for around £5,000 per mile – around £30,000 overall. This meant that the promoters would need to raise around £28,000 which was far beyond their means.

Glenties to Ardara on the GSGS Map of the early 1940s. []

Nonetheless the promoters continued to pursue their goal. Patterson et al. intimate that negotiations were reopened in 1919 and again in 1922, but to no avail. The matter was raised again in 1936 when there was a possibility of peat extraction taking place using the extension for transport. This also failed to materialise. And finally, amid the post war fuel crisis. an extension was once more considered but the imminent closure of the whole branch put paid to this and any further efforts to open an extension to Ardara. [23: p40-41]

References

  1. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=14&lat=54.86691&lon=-8.06504&layers=14&b=1, accessed on 29th May 2020.
  2. https://www.flickr.com/photos/sludgeulper/3611611930, accessed on 29th May 2020.
  3. https://www.myhome.ie/holiday-homes/brochure/1840-station-cottage-ballinamore-co-donegal/4362606, accessed on 13th June 2020.
  4. https://www.myhome.ie/holiday-homes/brochure/1840-station-cottage-ballinamore-co-donegal/4362606, accessed on 12th June 2020.
  5. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=16&lat=54.87258&lon=-8.08333&layers=14&b=1, accessed on 29th May 2020.
  6. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=16&lat=54.87233&lon=-8.10876&layers=14&b=1, accessed on 29th May 2020.
  7. https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=14/54.8556/-8.1584, accessed on 14th June 2020.
  8. https://www.geograph.ie/photo/2108929, accessed on 14th June 2020.
  9. https://www.geograph.ie/photo/2108924, accessed on 14th June 2020.
  10. https://www.geograph.ie/photo/500483, accessed on 14th June 2020.
  11. https://www.geograph.ie/photo/2108932, accessed on 14th June 2020.
  12. https://www.geograph.ie/photo/2108939, accessed on 14th June 2020.
  13. https://www.geograph.ie/photo/2108930, accessed on 14th June 2020.
  14. https://www.tripadvisor.co.za/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g315868-d2534086-i328548871-Fintown_Railway-Dungloe_County_Donegal.html, accessed on 14th June 2020.
  15. https://www.donegal.ie/venue-and-organization/fintown-railway-mhuc-dhubh, accessed on 14th June 2020.
  16. https://www.geograph.ie/photo/3024750, accessed on 14th June 2020.
  17. https://www.geograph.ie/photo/3024752, accessed on 14th June 2020.
  18. https://www.geograph.ie/photo/3025114, accessed on 14th June 2020.
  19. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=13&lat=54.85843&lon=-8.17073&layers=14&b=1, accessed on 29th May 2020.
  20. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=14&lat=54.84582&lon=-8.18676&layers=14&b=1, accessed on 15th June 2020.
  21. https://www.chambres-hotes.fr/chambres-hotes_station-house-glenties_glenties_h3551007_en.htm, accessed on 21st June 2020.
  22. https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g551498-d1123597-Reviews-Station_House_B_B-Glenties_County_Donegal.html, accessed on 22nd June 2020.
  23. 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!
  24. https://www.cotyroneireland.com/misc/forbes.html, accessed on 22nd June 2020.
  25. https://picclick.co.uk/Ireland-Loughfin-Fintown-Glenties-CoDonegal-Postcard-392799311859.html, accessed on 22nd June 2020.
  26. https://www.flickr.com/photos/110691393@N07/14073602795/in/photolist-nrCTN4-nrmxoe-2fLCaHg-BreD5t-hP4yK, accessed on 22nd June 2020.
  27. https://www.flickr.com/photos/110691393@N07/14070412341/in/photolist-nrCTN4-nrmxoe-2fLCaHg-BreD5t-hP4yK, accessed on 22nd June 2020.
  28. https://www.flickr.com/photos/salmix_ie/45425127672/in/photolist-9vw2zP-98hSXt-BreD5t-fFRsP7-b5fzTX-b5fyxp-xAiiVm-b3Mn9e-fKj8Va-wW6FtZ-7PQzGV-aqbePh-hP4yK-2eAeb55-nrCTN4-7ACBjM-6v9spd-nrmxoe-98m2VS-oeABN1-ovSLNG-b5fxbB-b5fEZ4-b5fDBP-7yNQh2-n9rxTD-fFRsMm-2aTR4fT-NwqqjH-b5fCAV-xWUWxx-oxQDEe-2cd4DSq-9MQt9S-2aTR4tP-4A9shm-7ySAMW-oxQxyX-oxR58x-ow5Pvn-7ySB1U-dwfarN-dwfbef-oezMFE-U3xnLw-7ySBo5-7yNQw4-2iniuW4-ow5NZc-oeA2we, accessed on 22nd June 2020.
  29. https://www.flickr.com/photos/salmix_ie/44562616945/in/photolist-9vw2zP-98hSXt-BreD5t-fFRsP7-b5fzTX-b5fyxp-xAiiVm-b3Mn9e-fKj8Va-wW6FtZ-7PQzGV-aqbePh-hP4yK-2eAeb55-nrCTN4-7ACBjM-6v9spd-nrmxoe-98m2VS-oeABN1-ovSLNG-b5fxbB-b5fEZ4-b5fDBP-7yNQh2-n9rxTD-fFRsMm-2aTR4fT-NwqqjH-b5fCAV-xWUWxx-oxQDEe-2cd4DSq-9MQt9S-2aTR4tP-4A9shm-7ySAMW-oxQxyX-oxR58x-ow5Pvn-7ySB1U-dwfarN-dwfbef-oezMFE-U3xnLw-7ySBo5-7yNQw4-2iniuW4-ow5NZc-oeA2we, accessed on 22nd June 2020.
  30. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=12&lat=54.79727&lon=-8.33694&layers=14&b=1, accessed on 29th May 2020.
  31. https://www.facebook.com/DonegalRailwayHeritageCentre/photos/a.1230417866994452/2946661428703412/?type=3&theater, accessed on 24th June 2020.
  32. After completing the first version of this article I was offered three images by Kerry Doherty of Ballindrait, Co. Donegal.

Co. Donegal Railways, Ireland – Part 3 – Petrol Railmotors

The Co. Donegal Railways were early adopters of modern technology, First, in the early 1900s, it was petrol railmotors with which they flirted. Later, they were the quickest narrow-gauge lines in the British Isles to adopt diesel railcars. This post looks at the Co. Donegal’s use of petrol railmotors! I have generally called the petrol-powered vehicles ‘railmotors’ and when I get round to looking at the later vehicles starting with No. 7, I will call them ‘railcars’!

When W.R. Lawson retired in 1910, Henry Forbes was appointed as Secretary and Traffic Manager. Forbes was an innovator. He realised very quickly that an increase in the number of stopping places would result in increased usage of the network. He introduced a number of new halts. He also introduced a number of improvements in many of the more established stations. And in a very short time he started to allow the railmotors and railcars he bought to stop anywhere on the network, not just at stations and halts. [1: p61-62]

A few years prior to his appointment, a tiny 4-wheeled railmotor had been purchased. It was just 6ft high and originally had a 10hp petrol engine. Its capacity was only 10 passengers. Because of its diminutive size, it was only infrequently used to cover passenger duties. Its main functions were the carriage of post and serving as a maintenance vehicle. [1: p60] There is an excellent study of this railmotor sitting in Stranorlar Station which was taken by H.C. Casserley. Peterson et al reproduce it in their book. [1: p114]

The Donegal Railway Heritage Centre posted a picture of the railmotor on Facebook,a long with the description beneath. [3]

”Even if this original … Railmotor … was used spasmodically, it had yielded valuable experience. In 1926, with the balance sheet insisting on lowered operating costs, Forbes decided that the time was ripe to show that his railway could give as flexible a service as the road omnibuses and a faster one withal.” [1: p60, cf. p114] It was preserved in its final version and is now housed at the Ulster Transport Museum. [4]Co. Donegal Railways Railmotor No. 1, (c) Ulster Transport Museum, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International. [5] The YouTube video below shows pictures of this railmotor in the museum at Cultra and a computer simulation of the railmotor in action on the Trainz simulation software produced by ‘ing4trainz’. [21]

Railmotors Nos. 2 & 3 which came from the DVLR. [22]

Railmotor No. 1 – A simulation by ING4Trainz. [22]

Given his experiences with the diminutive Railmotor No. 1, Forbes took a chance on a pair of Ford petrol-engined railcars. They came from the standard-gauge Derwent Valley Light Railway (DVLR) near York. They had been purchased by the DVLR in May 1924 at a total cost of £1070 with the intention of keeping the costs of transporting passengers to a minimum. “Each was built on a Ford 1‑ton truck chassis with bodywork by C.H. Roe Ltd of Leeds. Rated at 22hp, they weighed 2 tons 7 cwts, and were fitted with 17 seats.” [2] They were not popular with passengers on DVLR and were soon up for sale. Forbes bought them in June 1926 for a total of £480. By August 1926 the pair of railmotors were in Londonderry being converted to 3ft-gauge! [2]

There were a number of these railmotors, from a number of different manufacturers, in use on Light Railways around England at the time. A review of their use on the Colonel Stephens’ family of Light Railways can be found on the following link:

https://rogerfarnworth.com/2019/08/02/ford-railmotors-on-colonel-stephens-lines-in-general-and-on-the-smlr

It is worth noting that Colonel Stephens took an interest in the two DVLR railmotors when they were put on the market. It seems likely that his expressed interest prevented Forbes negotiating a lower price for the vehicles. [1: p115]

These railmotors were usually used in pairs, back-to-back, but on the Co. Donegal Lines they were often used singly. (Although initially on the DVLR, they had been used as a pair, small turntables were installed at Layerthorpe and Skipwith in order to allow the units to be used singly.) Once available on the Co. Donegal Railways, these vehicles were “reasonably successful and lasted until 1934 when they were withdrawn from service.” [2]

Patterson et al. comment: “On the DVLR they had run in tandem, … but on the Donegal lines they were run separately. From the start, they operated regular passenger services: by modern standards they were noisy and subjected the passengers to considerable vibration, but their ability to stop anywhere was deservedly popular in a country of small farms and isolated cottages. Futhermore, the operating costs were only a fraction of those of orthodox steam trains:” [1: p60]  3.25d per mile rather than 11.25d per mile. It appears that Patterson et al were unaware of the use of small turntables on the DVLR.

I have managed to find one old photograph of this par of railmotors while in use on the DVLR at York – Layerthorpe Station. They look to be in as new condition. It has beenn impossible to establish the provenance of this photograph. [6]DVLR Railmotors in use at Layertorpe Sation near York. [6] These railmotors became Railmotors No. 2 and 3 on the County  Donegal railways.It is interesting that this photograph of one of the two railmotors (No. 2) after conversion for the Co. Donegal Railways is shown on the IRS website in an article from 1973 and it is credited to Dr. E.M. Patterson, [2] but the picture does not appear in the Book about the Co. Donegal Railways from Patterson et al. [1] … The changes are self-evident. The re-gauging to 3ft-gauge would have left the centre of gravity of the vehicle too high and as a result the body was lowered on the chassis which created a very different look. The rear wheels were almost hidden inside the bodywork.

Petrol Railmotors No. 2 and 3 were a success. Not an unqualified one, but nonetheless they resulted in a significant change of direction for the management of the Co. Donegal Railways. The future would be in the use of railcars rather than in the continued development of steam traction.

Patterson et al. comment that the alterations to the railmotors before they saw service on the Co. Donegal Railways took place at Dundalk rather than in the Northwest. They were ready for use in the Autumn of 1926. They did have some axle problems and during their lifetime saw their axles strengthened to be more in line with usual railway practice. [1: p117] But they served well until 1933 when they were beginning to be rather tired.Railcar/Railmotor No. 4 with the loco shed, water tower and carriage shed in Donegal Town, 1931. This picture was found on the Facebook group associated with the Donegal Railway Heritage Centre. (c) Sam Carse and held in the collection of the Donegal Railway Heritage Centre. [20]

Railmotor/Railcar No. 4 – a simulation produced by ING4Trainz. [22]

County Donegal Railcar/Railmotor No. 4, 16mm scale model for use on 45mm-gauge track, recently for sale on an internet-based sales platform. [18]

Co. Donegal Railmotor No. 4 – Model of the body shell which was for sale relatively recently on a internet-based sales platform. [15]

In 1928 they were joined by Railcar/Railmotor No. 4 which was also fueled by petrol. It was a significantly larger beast, based on a 30-cwt Ford chassis. Its size meant that it could not operate with a rigid chassis if it was to negotiate the tight curves on the network. It was therefore given a pony truck for the from axle. The vehicle was fully assembled by October 1928. Apart from some problems with its axles, the vehicle was again a success and lasted in service throughout the Second World War only being scrapped in 1947 after 19 years service. [1: p118]. There is a small scale drawing of this railmotor in Appendix 11 E.M. Patterson et al. [1: p173]

Appendix 8 of ‘The County Donegal Railways’ tells us that the petrol powered railmotors gradually gave way to diesel powered units but petrol continued to be a power source until the late 1940s. [1: p165]

We have already noted that Railmotor No. 1 was not scrapped but was eventually preserved at Cultra. Railmotors No. 2 and 3 were scrapped in 1934. They were replaced by two other units which were given the same designation. The new No. 2 was of a similar power to the one’s scrapped and arrived in 1934. It had a 22-hp engine but carried 30 rather than 17 people. It  came second-hand from the Castlederg & Victoria Bridge Tramway and remained in service until 1944 when it was converted to a trailer. It was not sold until 1961 when it was removed to Mountcharles in the South of Co. Donegal. The new No. 2 was a 24-seat railcar with a Fordson paraffin engine built in 1925 at Castlederg and referred to in the Wikipedia article about that line. [7] Although basic in design, that vehicle was capable of being driven from either end and the driver also sold the tickets.

I have not been able to find the drawings for the new No. 2, although I believe that they are included in E.M. Patterson’s book about the Castlederg and Victoria Bridge Tramway (C&VBT). [8] ING4Trainz do not appear to have produced a simulation for this railcar/railmotor either in its C&VBT guise or its CDR livery days. There is however a model of the railcar running on a layout which depicts the Castlederg terminus of the old Tramway which closed in 1933. It is a kit-built model from a Worsley Works kit, built by  Andy Cundick. [9],[10] The scale is OOn3.

Railmotor/Railcar No. 3 (new) which came from the D&BST – a simulation by ING4Trainz [22]

The new No. 3 came from the Dublin & Blessington Steam Tramway (D&BST) in 1934. It was also a larger vehicle than the old No. 3 with a passenger capacity of 40 and a 35-hp engine. The vehicle was built by the Drewry Car Co. Ltd. It arrived on the Dublin and Blessington Steam Tramway in 1926. It had two driving axles and two pony axles, and could be driven from either end. On that tramway it ran on a track gauge of 5ft 3in and so had to be converted to 3ft gauge. It operated successful on the Co. Donegal until 19….. when it was converted into a trailer and continued in active use until 19…….. “It is now the sole surviving vehicle from the old Dublin & Blessington Steam Tramway, residing at the transport museum at Cultra.” [11]

Shapways 3D-printed model of Drewry Railcar No. 3 [12]

A number of other pictures are available across the internet. There is an excellent study at https://transportsofdelight.smugmug.com. [13] Some discussion about detailing of models of this vehicle can be found on the Irish Railway Modellers Forum. [14]

Railcar/Railmotor Trailer No. 5 ( and No. 2). A simulation by ING4Trainz. [22]

No. 5 in the series is a slight anomaly. The designation was given to the railmotor/railcar trailer which was purpose-built for that role. it had a 9ft wheelbase and was designed by the drawing office in Dundalk. A software simulation of the trailer has been produced by ING4Trainz. [22] The chassis was constructed by Knutsford Motors Ltd and the body by O’Doherty at Strabane. It weighed 3 ton 4.5-cwt and had sufficient room for 28 passengers. E.M. Patterson et al. say that the “trailer survived until the end of service on the CDR and was sold at auction in 1961 to Donegal Town football club, where its body was used as a cash-office. It was subsequently photographed in use as a holiday chalet in Rossnowlagh in 1965.” [1: p118] After an interesting ‘life’ out in the country it was brought down to Donegal Town Station and restored during the mid 1990s as part of exhibits at the Donegal Railway Heritage Centre. It was discovered by the local photographer, the late Conor Sinclair at Doochary, near Fintown. [16]

Trailer No. 5 in the garden of the Donegal Railway Heritage Centre. [17]

It was originally believed that Trailer No. 5 had been scrapped in the mid seventies but it had actually been towed to Doochary for use as a holiday home. It received a full body restoration at the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland premises in Whitehead, Antrim. This included new roof timbers and felting to make it watertight. The doors have been remade using the original patterns. The restoration effort was financed with the help of an Interreg IIIA European cross-border grant. [17]Trailer No. 5 in the process of being prepared to travel through the streets of Donegal on the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 2019. [19]

Railmotor/Railcar no. 6. [23]

No. 6 was also a petrol railmotor, although exactly which vehicles were railmotors and which were railcars is difficult to determine as often all of them were referred to as railcars. No. 6 was built  by Great Northern and O’Doherty and came into use in 1930. It had a 32hp petrol engine and weighed 5-ton 11-cwt.  It cost £900 when new and carried a maximum of 32 seated passengers. It was rebuilt as a 4-wheeled trailer in 1945 and then sold into private owenrship in 1958 and removed to Inver. [1: p165]

Patterson et al., say that “it ran on a front radial truck, arranged for side-play of 4.5 in. to take the worst curves on the system and on a rear driving bogie. … It mainly served on the Glenties and Ballyshannon lines.” [1: p119]

Railmotors/Railcars No. 9 and 10. [23]

No. 6 was the last purpose built petrol-powered railmotor/ railcar. After it, only two further petrol powered vehicles were commissioned for the network. They were No. 9 and No.10, both were converted road vehicles. They had seen service for 3 years on the demanding roads of West Donegal and were converted at Stranolarto run on the 3ft rails of the Co. Donegal railways. They were similar in appearance to No. 4 and were powered by 36hp  Ford petrol engines. Both had a seating capacity of 20. [1: p121] No. p lasted 16 years in service and was scrapped in 1949. No. 10 was destroyed in a fire at Ballshannon shed in 1939. [1: p165] They were distinguished from No.4 by having a short body panel in front of the access doors. This can be seen on the ING4Trainz simulation above and in the picture immediately below.Railcar No 9 in the shops at Stranorlar. In 1930 the CDR acquired four Reo buses second hand from the GNR. A few years on the Donegal’s poor roads reduced them to wreaks but Henry Forbes had the two in the best condition converted to Railcars. They had 20-seat bodies and were powered by 36hp petrol engines. No.10 was destroyed in an accidental fire in 1939 but No. 9 seen here lasted until 1949. This picture was found on the Facebook group associated with the Donegal Railway Heritage Centre. (c) Sam Carse and held in the collection of the Donegal Railway Heritage Centre. [24]

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. R.R. Darsley; The Derwent Valley Railway 60 Years On; The Industrial Railway Record No. 51, p129-146;  https//www.irsociety.co.uk/Archives/51/Derwent.htm, accessed on 28th May 2020.
  3. https://www.facebook.com/DonegalRailwayHeritageCentre/photos/a.1230417866994452/1832504963452403/?type=3&eid=ARBj6M4J6PfuqfYLVcSJZ5ufR_YqF2sXMHfcMcOjpq-f5tf8ZGMBueJQkt-VyBaN9mGz88PfJRCNOpz9&__xts__%5B0%5D=68.ARAKlX23JjRvdKk7EUdXx3eF6aPtBWzsYqhPy15b7oEg5gX2uGc6ejt_ear_e9A4wooDnJiwOc38LCp6my7VW1SslaIFGrnG2DjrQk07K9AzfXFobC-Lx3Y0s0uHUCKOri18xqNUr1zftJNQYwGJ2YOc70li-jigqFkqBVKMd5j4pUaSuZ10WunvIBDoVCb2jA69bgxMjZ6TvCsuP_9E8_N2zT0aXMRBrfFm8G_uUry-n4ZSRKb22rdeyNNbGk9YPCx8A1PDDHl-yG-SBZ-g2rV6iaCnVavfP2z5pK4YfeZ7Pg6_jayE1uTs2D5rKB_TyZshJkbS7vzYJPwAOGqAj6hoB4S-&__tn__=EHH-R, accessed on 29th May 2020.
  4. https://www.nmni.com/our-museums/Ulster-Transport-Museum/Home.aspx, accessed on 29th May 2020.
  5. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ulster_Transport_Museum,_Cultra,_County_Donega_Railways_Joint_Committee_Railcar_No_1_(03).jpg, accessd on 29th May 2020.
  6. http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/179374/185052.html?1296125299, accessed on 1st June 2020. I have tied to establish copyright ownership of the image but have not be successful. The source of the image on the forum is Peter Kable, Kiama, Australia. He is no longer active on the forum. The image was posted on 26th January 2011.
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castlederg_and_Victoria_Bridge_Tramway, accessed on 2nd June 2020.
  8. E.M. Patterson; The Castlederg and Victoria Bridge Tramway;  Colourpoint, 1998.
  9. https://glostransporthistory.visit-gloucestershire.co.uk/gloucester-model-railway-exhibition-2016, accessed on 2nd June 2020.
  10. http://www.worsleyworks.co.uk/NG/NG_Irish_CVBT.htm, accessed on 2nd June 2020.
  11. http://gofree.indigo.ie/~nigelo/rollingstock.htm, accessed on 3rd June 2020.
  12. https://www.shapeways.com/product/MSG4MEWNL/o-152fs-dublin-blessington-drewry-railcar?optionId=99464677&li=marketplace
  13. https://transportsofdelight.smugmug.com/RAILWAYS/IRISH-RAILWAYS/COUNTY-DONEGAL-RAILWAYS-JOINT-COMMITTEE/i-29Hdbpq/A, accessed on 3rd June 2020.
  14. https://irishrailwaymodeller.com/topic/5699-dampbcounty-donegal-drewry-railcar-interior-query/page/2, accessed on 3rd June 2020.
  15. https://picclick.co.uk/County-Donegal-Railway-Railcar-No-4-45mm-162936012780.html, 3rd June 2020.
  16. http://donegalrailway.com, accessed on 4th June 2020.
  17. https://m.facebook.com/DonegalRailwayHeritageCentre/photos/a.1230417866994452/1249883518381220/?type=3, accessed on 4th June 2020.
  18. https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/county-donegal-narrow-gauge-railcar-539348090, accessed on 4th June 2020.
  19. https://www.facebook.com/DonegalRailwayHeritageCentre/photos/a.1224552917580947/2035019939867570/?type=3&theater, accessed on 4th June 2020.
  20. https://youtu.be/3XrG6X9q52Q, accessed on 5th June 2020. cf. https://www.jatws.org/ing4trainz/cdr.htm.
  21. https://www.jatws.org/ing4trainz/cdr.htm, accessed on 12th June 2020.
  22. https://www.facebook.com/DonegalRailwayHeritageCentre/photos/a.1224552917580947/2144853775550852/?type=3&theater, accessed on 5th June 2020.

 

Gloucester Docks and Railways – Part 3 – Over Junction, the Llanthony Branch and Railways to the West Side of the Docks

We start our journey at Over. ……

Incidentally, local knowledge indicates that there was a station at Over Junction for a very short time in the 1990s. It might be one of the shortest-lived stations on the British railway network. Roger Smith says: “Over Junction Station was erected in 1998 I think when the River Severn was in flood and the was concern about the stability of the railway bridge. A temporary station was erected with a Park and Ride operating from there into Gloucester.” He sent me a photograph of the station to prove its existence. The platform was constructed in scaffolding. [56]

Over Junction on the GWR South Wales Main Line sat to the west of the West Channel of the River Severn, the Docks Branch Junction was immediately to the East of the West Channel. The two images immediately below show the old railway alignment prior to the reconstruction of the river crossing (the first is the small picture below). The next, modern, image shows the railway on it newer alignment just a very short distance south of the old line. The Railway Gazette of 4th May 1951 reported on the work to replace the old railway bridge which had been built by Brunel. which improved the alignment of tracks and eliminated a permanent 30 m.p.h. speed restriction on the main lines.

From the Railway Gazette of 4th May 1951, a copy of which is held in the Stephen Mourton collection, (c) Stephen Mourton. The Docks Branch is just leaving the GWR Mainline in the foreground. [2]

The Brunel designed and built bridge was built in 1850 and strengthened in 1880. It was built with wrought iron main girders which had circular (balloon-shaped) compression flanges and these were retained when the bridge was strengthened in the 1880s.

Before 1880, the bridge was supported on timber piles, and there were approach spans which were built entirely of timber. When it was strengthened, cast-iron piles and columns were employed, The original bridge had three river spans of approximately 73 ft. in length but bolted together to create a continuous series of beams which increased the load-capacity of the structure. The original bridge is shown in the small photograph above and is marked on the first map below. [2] 

An extract from the 4th Edition of the 25″ OS Map showing the two junctions on the South Wales Main Line – Over Junction and the Docks Branch Junction. [3]The same area in the 2020s. The old road bridge over the River Severn West Channel still shows up in between the railway and the modern A40, but the road over-bridge which crossed the GWR mainline between the West Channel and the flood relief bridge has disappeared completely. The Docks Branch has gone, as have the sidings either side of the Mainline to the West of the river channel. The branch to the North which served  Ledbury has also disappeared. Also gone by the 21st century is the truss bridge which appears on the first map and in the image below. [9]Up Parcels train from South Wales crossing the River Severn at Over Junction. By this date the railway had been realigned over the new bridge. The view looks westward, towards Chepstow, Severn Tunnel Junction, Newport etc. along the ex-GWR Gloucester – South Wales main line. On the left the line from Docks Branch Sidings and Gloucester Docks is joining, while beside Over Junction Box just across the river the branch to Ledbury (closed to passengers 13/7/59, goods 1/6/64) diverges right. In the distance an Up freight waits in Over Sidings. The locomotive on the Parcels is 4-6-0 No. 4956 ‘Plowden Hall’ (built 9/29, withdrawn 7/63). The scene is from the old A48 bridge over the railway at its junction with the A417 and just before crossing the river, (c) Ben Brooksbank. (Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0). The picture was taken in 1959. [4]

Photograph taken in 2012 and shows the Severn Bore passing under the railway bridge which carries the main Gloucester – Cardiff railway line. This was taken from the former road bridge built by Thomas Telford and now used only by pedestrians, (c) John Winder (Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0). [5]

Thomas Telford’s ‘Over Bridge seen from beneath the modern A40. It was built by Telford in the 1820s, and was, until the 1960s, the lowest bridging point on the Severn (actually only across its western arm). Now traffic-free, it was in use as a road until 1975., (c) Derek Harper (Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0). [6]

The Docks Branch and it’s sidings feature in Neil Parkhouse’s book, British Railway History in Colour Volume 1: West Gloucester & Wye Valley Lines which is now in its 2nd Edition. I have the 1st Edition and the later supplement which covers the additional material in the 2nd Edition. [1] In the first edition, the Llanthony Docks Branch features from page 33 onwards. In the supplement (p7) there is a superb image of a pannier tank leaving the GWR mainline and heading onto the Llanthony Docks Branch.

As we have noted the Llanthony Docks Branch left the GWR Mainline just to the East of the West Channel of the River Severn. it curved round to the South alongside what was the route of the A40. It ran through what is now Alney Island Nature Reserve. It’s route is shown on the plan immediately below by red dotted lines at each end and by the green-lined main footpath which predominantly follows the line of the old railway. The first half of the route is shown approximately in red on the satellite image below.The approximate route of the old railway branch (Google Maps) runs through what is now the Alney Island Nature reserve. The northerly end of the Over sidings on the Llanthony branch. The picture was taken looking to the Northwest soon after closure in the 1980s, (c) M.R. Phelan (CC BY-SA 2.0) [26]The former GWR Llanthony (Gloucester Docks) branch line at the western end of Over Sidings, shortly after closure when the track was still in-situ. 19th September 1989, (c) Roger Marks. [16]The northerly end of the Over sidings on the Llanthony branch. The picture was taken looking Southeast soon after closure in the 1980s, (c) M.R. Phelan (CC BY-SA 2.0) [27]

Two extracts from the 4th Edition of the 25″ OS Map showing the sidings immediately to the South of the South Wales Main Line on the Llanthony Docks Branch on Alney Island. [3]The BR map of the ex-GWR Gloucester Docks Branch Sidings Yard amended to November 1969. This is an amended drawing from the Stephen Mourton Collection. [15]

The remains of Over sidings on the ex-GWR Gloucester Docks branch. 19th September 1989, (c) Roger Marks. [18]

BR Pannier 0-6-0T active in Over Sidings in 1959. Notice the shunter’s truck behind the loco. The view looks SE from near Over Bridge, towards Gloucester Docks on the Over Branch, ex-GWR. Gloucester Docks was served by this branch from Over and also by an ex-Midland branch to the south at High Orchard and from Tuffley. ‘Modern’ ‘1600’ class 0-6-0T No. 1616 (built 12/49, withdrawn 10/59) has a spark-arrestor because of all the timber traffic dealt with at the Docks, (c) Ben Brooksbank (CC BY-SA 2.0) [7]

This YouTube video follows the route of the line in the early 21st century: https://youtu.be/ZwQT5JQfBcM. [29]

Looking back Northwest along the route of the old railway from approximately the location of the junction with the Power Station sub-branch. [28]

From the sidings, the Branch continued South by Southeast towards a junction with a sub-branch which served Castle Meads Power Station.EAW021182 – Britain From Above. Castle Meads Power Station and environs, Gloucester, from the east, 1949. The Llanthony Docks Branch runs across the top of the image with the marshalling sidings just off the right side of the image. [8]This enlarged detail shows the Llanthony Branch heading towards the sub-branch which served the power station [8]An extract from the 25″ OS Map from the 1950s. The siding serving Castle Meads Power Station can be seen curving away from the docks branch at the bottom of the extract. [3] The Llanthony Branch – the disused former GWR branch from Over Junction to Llanthony Yard in Gloucester Docks. Seen here on 19th September 1989, it had closed a few years previously but the track had not yet been lifted, (c) Roger Marks. [14]Llanthony Branch – the former GWR Llanthony (Gloucester Docks) branch line shortly after closure when the track was still in-situ. 19th September 1989, (c) Roger Marks. [19]The junction where the spur that served Castle Meads power station diverged from the former GWR Gloucester Docks branch. 19th September 1989, (c) Roger Marks. [17]EAW021187 – Britian From Above. Castle Meads Power Station and environs, Gloucester, 1949. This superb panorama shows the full extent of the sub-branch or spur which served Castle Meads Power Sation and shows the Llanthony branch running into the docks sidings. [20]EAW021186 – Britain From Above. Castle Meads Power Station and environs, Gloucester, 1949. This photograph is taken looking North across the Power Station and again provdes a fullview of the sub-branch/spur. This time the Llanthony Sidings are fully visible. [25]

Wikipedia tells us that “Castle Meads Power Station was opened in December 1942. [22] It was built to replace the electricity supply from Gloucester Corporation’s works on Commercial Road. Castle Meads was one of two ‘war emergency’ stations intended to spread the risk due to war damage. [23] The other station was at Earley near Reading. … Coal was brought to the station by rail on the Great Western Railway’s Docks branch from Over, and by barge. [22][24] Once at the station, coal was transported toward the boilers by a fireless locomotive, one of only 162 ever built in Britain. It was built by Andrew Barclays of Kilmarnock in 1942, carrying the works number 2126. After the closure of the power station, the locomotive was preserved at the National Waterways Museum in Gloucester.” [21][24]

As we have noted, the power station was served by a fireless locomotive. There are a few photographs of this locomotive in its place of work in both monochrome and colour on flickr. Please follow these links: https://www.flickr.com/photos/curly42/35214968686; https://www.flickr.com/photos/31514768@N05/3388340802/in/faves-36406072@N02; https://flic.kr/p/SMkAUG; https://flic.kr/p/9mSp7s. [31]

After becoming redundant Andrew Barclay No. 2126 found its way into the collection of the National Waterways Museum at Gloucester Docks.Fireless 0-4-0 locomotive built by Barclay in 1942 (No.2126) for the Castle Meads Emergency Power Station, Gloucester in the livery of the CEGB. Withdrawn 1962. At the National Waterways Museum, Gloucester Docks in September 2009, (c) Hugh Llwelyn (Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0). [33]Another view of fireless 0-4-0 locomotive built by Barclay in 1942 (No.2126) for the Castle Meads Emergency Power Station, Gloucester in the livery of the CEGB. Withdrawn 1962. At the National Waterways Museum, Gloucester Docks in September 2009, (c) Andrew Bone (Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0). [34]

The sub-branch which served the power station extended beyond the coal loading facilities to a wharf on the bank of the River Severn. On the way it crossed a bridge which allowed flood drainage off the island. Tne YouTube video (https://youtu.be/ZwQT5JQfBcM. [29]) shows both the bridge below in its refurbished condition, and the wharf as it is in the early 21st century.The bridge on the short branch that served Castle Meads Power Station. The branch opened in 1943. It closed in 1970 and this section now forms a pathway linking a car park on the power station site to Gloucester Docks. 29th March 2009, (c) Roger Marks. [32] The bridge location is flagged on aerial image EAW021187 above.

The Docks branch continued Southeast from the junction with the spur to the power station and then crossed the river by means of a swing girder bridge.

The approximate route of the branch line as it approaches the docks sidings (Google Earth).

Looking back to the Northwest along the Branch line from the point marked ‘X’ on the satellite image immediately above. At this point the path for the nature reserve and the old railway route diverge, (c) John Winder (Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0). [30] This point can been picked out in the YouTube Video (https://youtu.be/ZwQT5JQfBcM which then shows the area beyond the turn of the footpath going towards the bridge over the river. [29]).An extract from EPW024157 – Britain from Above. The River Severn Lock and the approaches to the Llanthony Bridge over the Eastern branch of the River Severn. [38] The sign in the colour photograph above is positioned just of the top left corner of this image.3D aerial image of the Lock in the 21st Century (Google Earth).An extract from EPW037837 – Britain From Above. This shows the embankment and approach spans to the Llanthony Swing Bridge which gave access across the River Severn  into Llanthony sidings. [37]Another extract from EPW037837 – Britain From Above. The Llanthony swing bridge over the branch of the River Severn and the footbridge which formed the gateway to the Llanthony Sidings. [37]A small extract from EAW012210 – Britain From Above. [36] This image shows the footbridge at Llanthony Road level-crossing and the first point at the throat of the sidings for the Docks in Gloucester.

Llanthony Swing Bridge from the North This bridge only ever carried single track. One thing not apparent in this view is that the track is still in place on the bridge, despite it being 25 years or so (at least) since the last train crossed, (c) John Winder (Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0) [42]

Llanthony Swing Bridge is, in the 21st Century, in a poor state of repair. The YouTube video we have been referring to already (https://youtu.be/ZwQT5JQfBcM [29]), gives an overview of its condition. Roger Marks took the picture below in 2006.A track level view of Llanthony swing bridge, Gloucester. It carried the GWR Over Junction to Gloucester Docks branch over the eastern channel of the River Severn, (c) Roger Marks. 25th March 2006. [39]3D Image of Llanthony Swing Bridge in the early 21st century (Google Earth).2D satellite image of the swing bridge in the 21st century (Google Earth).Looking East under the Swing Bridge (c) John Winder (Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0) [40]

The swing bridge again. This photograph shows the former footbridge
Shot from directly underneath, this shows the parlous state of the old footbridge. Hidden by the steel bridge pier to the left of centre is the remains of the swinging mechanism, last operated in 1922, (c) John Winder (Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0) [41]

The original bridge was designed by Brunel. It had a span of 103ft which could be rotated to allow the passage of river traffic. Brunel’s design mirrored his design over the Western Channel of the River Severn which carried the GWR South Wales Mainline and which appears in a single image near the head of this article.

Hugh Conway-Jonest says that, “each girder was fabricated from iron plates riveted together, the upper flange being in the shape of a balloon and the lower flange triangular. The pivot was off-centre, so that two-thirds of the span’s length crossed the river passage and the shorter tail section carried more than enough additional weights to provide a counter balance, the excess being supported by two wheels running on a section of circular track. The main pivot was supported on a central group of six 14in square piles, and two side-wheels ran on a 6ft radius circular track supported by 14in and 12in piles.” [43: p19]

To facilitate the operation of the bridge, an hydraulic press was used to carry much of the weight of the swinging span, so reducing the load on the roller shells and permitting the bridge to turn easily. [43: p19]

Hugh Conway-Jones continues: “The importance of this design is that it is believed to be the first railway swing bridge to use hydraulic power. … By using an hydraulic press to lift the span, the load on the wheels was much reduced, making turning much easier.” [43: p20]

In 1890 and 1891 a 5 month closure of the bridge was required to replace the timber pier supporting the pivot of the bridge with cast iron cylindrical columns. By 1899 it was necessary to replace the swinging section of the bridge with a riveted steel span, Possibly due to a failure of the hydraulic system. It seems as though it was necessary to employ horses to turn the bridge span. Hugh Conway-Jones says: “Because of the length of time this could take, the foreman in charge of the railway yard frequently refused to open the bridge because it formed part of the railway shunting yard.” [43: p21]

The 1899 structure remains in place in the 21st century. Rails are still in place but the structure appears not to be in the best of conditions.

Immediately East of the swing bridge a footbridge was installed to allow pedestrians to pass when the level-crossing at Hempsted Lane had to be closed to permit shunting movements.Llanthony Road level crossing and its distinctive Tubewright footbridge. The crossing took the road across the former GWR branch from Over Junction to Llanthony Quay in Gloucester Docks. The line closed in the mid 1980s. This part of Llanthony Road has now become the A430 and instead of curving to the right it now carries straight on, crossing the river and joining the A417 at Over Causeway. (c) Roger Marks, 19th September 1989. [35]Looking North early in the 21st century, the footbridge is a distant memory. It sat approximately in front of the grey panelling. The old road curved round to the right at this point (Google Streetview).An extract from EPW037837 – Britain From Above. Llanthony Dock Sidings in 1932 view from the West. the footbridge frames the entrance to the Yard. [37]

As can be seen in the aerial image above, the single line which crossed the River Severn branched out into extensive sidings that terminated just short of the Western quay wall of the canal/docks. Branching away to the left of the above photograph is a branch which ran between the River Severn and the docks, eventually crossing the northern locks which provided access from the docks to the river and linking with the sidings on the East side of the docks. To the right of the picture, running behind the buildings which can be seen on the right of the image, another siding served the southern quayside of the docks and ran further down the canal.Llanthony Railway Yard as shown on the 1st Edition of the 25″ Ordnance Survey Maps. This extract shows the Yard at a relatively early stage in its development in broad-gauge days. Later editions show some changes. The lines running North were mixed gauge as the GWR and MR shared them. Crossing Lanthony Bridge to the right of the extract was a line crossing the bridge connecting the two sides of the dock basin.[44]Llanthony Railway Yard as shown on the 4th Edition of the 25″ Ordnance Survey Maps. This map extract better reflects what can be seen on the aerial photograph of the Yard above. Immediately to the North of Llanthony Priory the buildings to the right of the aerial image can be seen, these were sheet works used for the repair and conditioning of the tarpaulins used to cover open wagons. [43: p21] The large building at the centre-bottom of this extract (and the top-right of the following extract) is a transit shed which according to Conway-Jones, “provided space for temporary storage and customs inspection of goods being transferred from ships to railway wagons. It was particularly used for handling cargoes (principally sugar) imported by the regular steamers of the Bristol Steam Navigation Company.” [43: p21] In addition to these changes, a link curves from the North side of the Yard to the quayside where the sidings have been developed to improve access and to serve the transit shed. To the North of Llanthony Road the arrangements are much as they were on the 1st Edition Map. By this time all of the track shown on the map extract would have been standard-gauge. [44]By the time of this later map series, this extract for the OS Map shows that the railway company had extended their lines to the south of Llanthony Yard to serve premises around the new Monk Meadow Dock. [44]Looking South from Llanthony Railway Yard along the Canal Quay with the ex-GWR transit shed on the right, (c) Roger Marks. [45]A few steps further South looking South along the side of the Transit Shed again, (c) Roger Marks. [46]Looking North along the transit shed on the GWR’s Llanthony Quay in Gloucester Docks. 16th April 1991. The site is now part of the campus of Gloucestershire College of Art and Technology, (c) Roger Marks. [47]An extract from EAW012211 – Britain From Above. This image provides a view of the GWR transit shed in 1947 across the Llanthony Secunda Priory site. [48]

Looking South along Llanthony Quay in 2020 (Google Earth) The large building(s) on the site of Llanthony Railway Yard make up the campus of Gloucestershire College of Art and Technology. Llanthony Road is at the bottom of the image and the new St. Ann Way at the top. Llanthony Quay extends beyone the top of the image by some hundreds of yards to Monk Meadow Dock.

Llanthony Quay extended south along the canal to Monk Meadow Dock which was opened in 1892 to provide additional quay-space for the timber trade, and it was later used for receiving petroleum products. To the south of the dock, Monk Meadow Quay was built beside the canal in 1965 for the discharge of timber from motor coasters. [49]

Monk Meadow Dock is shown on the aerial images below The first is taken looking West across the Gloucester and Berkeley Canal in 1928.

The second looks North across Monks Meadow Dock right along the Llanthony Quay to the Llanthony Railway Yard. It was taken in 1932 and is an excellent study of the use of these sidings and the Yard.

The transit shed at Monk Meadow can be seen on the first image looking bright and new to the right-hand side of the Dock. It is centre-left on the North side of the Dock in the second image.An extract from EPW024167 – Britain From Above. This image shows Monk Meadow Dock in 1928. [50]An extract from EPW037836 – Britain From Above. Looking North towards the Main Basin of the Docks with Monk Meadow Dock visible in the foreground and Llanthony Railway Yard towards the top of the extract. [51]A view looking East through the canopy of the transit shed at the West end of the North side of Monk Meadow Dock in 1992. The dock is now a marina, (c) Roger Marks. [54]A view of the transit shed on the south side of Monk Meadow Dock. It was taken in the 1950s and is included here by kind permission of Paul Barnett of the Friends of Purton. Paul is the author of  ‘Fore and Aft… Lost Ships of the Severn Sea.’ [52][53] The presence of the oil storage tanks on the horizon point towards this being the shed on the south side of the Dock.

As well as the quayside rails, a branch from Llanthony Yard ran south behind the transit shed on Llanthony Quay and then crossed Abbey Road to serve an number of oil storage depots and provide good access to Monk Meadow Docks sidings as shown on the map extract below. The sinuous curve of these lines is well illustrated on the map extract and on the Aerial image next below.

An extract from EAW012196 – Britain from Above. The extract shows the route of the branch running on the West side of the Industrial Area and serving Monk Meadow Dock. The photograph was taken in 1947. [55]

An extract from the 4th Edition 25″ OS Map. [44]

This next map extract shows the area around the timber holding pond which was created to prevent imported timber drying out before onward shipment. Railway lines ran both quayside to the East of the pond and on the West. On the extract below we have our first look at the New Docks

An extract from the 4th Edition 25″ OS Map. [44]

The length of the canal south of Gloucestershire College of Art and Technology is shown as it is in the early 21st century on these satellite images from Google Maps.

 

Branch on this side of the canal. Installed by the LMS to gain access to the sidings on the West of the Canal. We followed the route of this line on the East side of the Canal to the point where it crossed to the Hempsted side of the Canal.

The quayside lines and the New Docks Branch continue South along the West side of the Canal for only a short distance with the New Docks Branch (or the Hempsted Branch turning to cross the Canal as shown on this next map extract.

The New docks branch and the bridge over the canal are long-gone. The area has been extensively developed as housing. The first satellite image extends from the College in the North, across St. Ann Way, past Monk Meadow Dock which is now a marina and further along the canal-side. Domestic dwellings on The West side of the canal sit within a stone’s throw of significant industrial premises to the East.

The new road has been built along the line of the ancient New Docks Branch. The approximate alignment of the old railway is shown on the second of the two images at the point where it curved towards the canal , crossing it on a swing bridge which was removed in the middle of the 20th century.

This brings us to the end of our study of the railways associated with Gloucester Docks. There is more to consider further to the South at Sharpness Docks but those docks and their railways need to be left for another occasion. We have literally only looked at a very short length of the Canal. There is so much more to explore along its length and in the areas either side of its route.

A useful point to start an exploration on line is on the website owned by Hugh Conway-Jones who is an acknowledged expert on the history of the docks and the canal. The link to that website is:

https://www.gloucesterdocks.me.uk

 

 

 

References

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Gloucester Docks and Railways – Part 2 – The High Orchard Branch and Railways to the East Side of the Docks

The featured image above is a 1951 Plan of Gloucester Docks which was produced by the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive South Western Division in 1951 which was found on the Llanthony Secunda Website. [14]

 

Railways on the East Side of the Docks

The railways on the East side of the docks replaced the older tramroad/plateway which served the dockside. They were sidings from the Midland Railway in Gloucester, whereas the railways to the west of the docks were sidings from the Great Western Railway.

It had initially been intended to follow the alignment of the Gloucester and Cheltenham Tramroad into the docks from the East. This was always going to be impracticable as the tramroad operated with tight curves through the streets of Gloucester. In the end, these Eastern sidings had to be served from elsewhere. Within the main docks area they took over the role of the tramroad in two separate phases. The first phase came about as a result of the tramroad route along the east side of the Main Basin between it and what became the Victoria dock, was cut as part of the construction of the Victoria Dock and was not re-instated.

In this phase, the Midland railway sidings took over the whole of the area North of the Barge Arm. A new Midland Railway Branch was built to make this possible – The High Orchard Branch.

In a second phase the Midland Railway took an effective monopoly over the area immediately  to the South of the Barge Arm. It was at this time (1861) that the tramroad closed completely. These additional sidings were also served from the High Orchard Branch.

Steam was used on the main sidings of the new system but horse were still gainfully employed on some of the wharves, warehouse sidings and quays of the docks, specifically where these were accessed by wagon turntable rather than points.

The High Orchard Branch

I first came across the branch when reading one of the volumes of ‘British Railway History in Colour’ published by Lightmoor Press and compiled by Neil Parkhouse. [1]

In this volume of what is a magnificent series of books there is a section dedicated to the High Orchard Branch and the Sidings on the East side of the Docks. [1: p51-80]

Parkhouse notes that the Midland Railway opened its High Orchard Branch in 1848 which was 6 years before the Great Western Railway opened its Llanthony Branch. [1: p52] He notes that as the 19th century progressed the network, in and around the Docks, developed significantly. Many of the sidings were owned by the Docks Company and leased jointly to the two railway companies to operate. This did not work effectively and from 1880 it was agreed that the Midland (MR) would operate on the East side of the Canal and Docks and that the Great Western (GWR) would operate on the west side of the site. [1: p52]. This arrangement held, with the exception of some disputes over a new branch built by the Midland as the end of the 19th century approached.

The 1843 map of Gloucester does not show the Midland Railway line which curved through the eastern area of the City of Gloucester. It clearly shows the route of the old tramroad and Gloucester Railway Station which sat on the East side of the old city on roughly the same latitude as the cathedral. The MR took over the Bristol and Gloucester Railway and the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway in 1845 and the original station became the MR Station in the City. This is shown on the  extract from the map drawn 1843 below.

The Midland Railway Station in Gloucester – the image is an extract from Causton’s 1843 Map of Gloucester. [2]

The Midland Railway Station in Gloucester – the image is another extract from Causton’s 1843 Map of Gloucester and shows the planned railways close to the station. [2]

In 1848 the High Orchard Branch was completed it ran from the mainline access to the MR railway station down across Barton Street and then curved to the west through the bottom corner of the Park. Its route is shown in red below.

In 1851 the GWR built its South Wales line across the North of the city and built its own station to the North of the MR station. The approximate line of the GWR South Wales Route near the MR Station is shown on the plan above. The two stations shared the same throat although they were still operating on different track gauges.

In 1854 the MR built its Tuffley Loop because the rapid expansion of the rail network had left their station difficult to work. The Loop followed the first part of the original High Orchard Branch and then headed away t the Southeast to meet the MR mainline which ran to the East of Gloucester. Parkhouse notes that the issues surrounding the MR station were only partially resolved by the construction of the Tuffley Loop. It did however allow the MR to “dispence with the operation of broad gauge trains. The line was effectively and extension of the High Orchard Branch to the docks, with the twin tracks of the loop curving away from the docks branch between Barton Street and what was to be the site of California Crossing.” [1: p82]

The 1852 Map drawn for the Local Board of Health can be found in an interactive form on the ‘Know Your Place’ Website [3] This Map predated the construction of the Tuffley Loop. It shows the original form of the High Orchard Branch and its route through into the docks There is a short section of the route which falls outside the mapping area. The name ‘High Orchard’ acknowledges the early use of the land as an Orchard for Llanthony Priory.

In the 1852 map the developments in the station area are visible – the GWR line is shown as was, at the time, only recently open to traffic. The station ‘yard’ and sidings of the MR station are by this time more complex.[3]

The Branch crossed Barton Street close to the old Tramroad and curved to the West around the bottom of Gloucester’s Park. On the curve, it  became double-track for a short distance which, I guess, gave trains room to pass and may also have been used as storage space when trains arrived before they could be taken down into the docks. This can be seen on the third of the map extracts on the bottom side of the Park. [3]

As it left the Park area, the Branch once again became single track. This can be seen at the left-hand side of the third extract from the 1852 map. It was then just a matter of a few 10s of yards before the dock complex was reached and the fourth map extract shows this area. [3]

The fourth map extract shows three main areas to the South of the Barge Arm which can be seen centre-top of the map extract.

First, there are sidings around the High Orchard Dock at the bottom left of the extract. (1)

Second there is a single long siding giving limited access to the rail network for canal frontages between High Orchard Dock and the more northerly Barge Arm. (2)

Third, a series of sidings (3)accessed from the main branch which curved round to the north to serve properties North of the Barge Arm.

The fifth extract from the 1852 Map (adjacent) highlights the sidings which served the Northern part of the docks at this early stage. It is worth noting that the Tramroad sidings on the North side of the Barge Arm have now been removed and replaced by standard-gauge lines. On the map, the Gaol can be picked out centre-top (4) next to the River Severn (5). The two main basin are central to the extract – The Basin (or Main Basin) (6) and Victoria Dock (7). These two docks are linked by a short canal which severed the tramroad access and which has not by the time of the map been bridged by the MR sidings. [3]

The next series of maps of Gloucester which we have access to are those prepared between 1880 and 1925. Three series of 25″ OS Maps appeared in relative quick succession – Series 1 (1886), Series 2 (1901) and Series 3 (1923).

Firstly, Series One.  In the first extract below we see what was the northern end of the High Orchard Branch in the East of the City. By the time this map was drafted, the railway network had expanded considerably. The pattern of railway lines close to Gloucester Station had begun to look much like it would be in later years. The two Gloucester Stations (A & B) were at this time still adjacent to each other. The Midland Loco Shed is in a position (C) which would soon eb seen to be preventing expansion. The lines of the Tuffley Loop follow what was the older High Orchard Branch across Barton Street (D).

Very little else on the High Orchard Branch differs from what can be seen on the Series 2 Map extracts below. However, one area which was still under used at this time, was that South of the early buildings of the Wagon Works shown on the adjacent extract. Railway sidings hugged the canal bank to provide access to timber yards further south along the canal. These appear in the bottom left of the map extract.

The area alongside the Canal at that location was known as Canada Wharf.

Secondly, Series Two, The first extract below shows that the Midland Station had been moved to the Southeast when this map was drafted. This meant that it was possible for the New Midland Station (Eastgate) to be a through station, making the handling of trains significantly easier. The Loco Shed  to the east side of the map is the GWR Shed at Horton Road. A footbridge now links the two stations. The MR Loco Shed was just off the east side of the map extract.EPW041489 – Britain From Above – Great Western Road, the railway stations and city centre Gloucester, from the east, 1933. [4]EPW024156 – Britain From Above. Central Station, Eastgate Station and railway sidings, Gloucester, 1928. [5]

Heading to the Southwest across the Barton Street level crossing the map shows the Tuffley Loop leaving Eastgate Station (the MR Station).

The second extract shows the High Orchard Branch leaving the Tuffley Loop at a very shallow angle and crossing Parkend Road, again on a very shallow angle and curving round to the West.

EPW024171 – Britain From Above. The area between Park Road and the railway station, Gloucester, 1928. This shows the route of the Tuffley Loop down the East side of Gloucester and the point at which the High Orchard Branch left that route. [6]An extract from EPW050780 – Britain From Above. The photograph was taken in 1936 and the extract shows the junction between the High Orchard Branch and the Tuffley Loop. California Crossing can be seen in the bottom-centre of the image. [50]

An extract from EAW012211 – Britain From Above. Gloucester Docks and the surrounding industrial area, Gloucester, 1947. This shows the High Orchard Branch and its sidings on the far side of the Canal. The photograph is taken from the West. [7]

The third extract, which appears above at a slightly smaller scale, shows the Branch crossing Lower Southgate Street and providing access to enhanced siding approaching the canal. Space has been created for these sidings by infilling the High Orchard Dock which was visible on the 1852 Map. Gloucester Carriage and Wagon Works had grown significantly since 1852 ad had a complex of lines serving its site.

As shown by the fourth map extract, the two lines running north from the sidings had changed little until they reached Lanthony Road. An East-West line crossed Lanthony Bridge linking the West and East Sidings. and which met the ongoing Midland lines at a trailing crossing. This map also shows that new sidings had been developed on the South side of the Barge Arm to serve premises which in 1852 were still being served by the Gloucester and Cheltenham Tramroad.

The fifth extract shows the most northerly end of the docks complex. Things to note here include: the line crossing the bridge across the canal between the Main Basin and Victoria Dock; the two link bridges across the locks leading to the River Severn, North of the Main Basin which allowed access to the West side of the Main Basin; the fact that no attempt has been made to serve the quays on the river to the North of these Locks.

An extract from EAW012204 – Britain From Above. Gloucester Docks and the surrounding warehouses, Gloucester, 1947. [8]

Finally, above, on the Series 2 mapping, we have zoomed out to get an idea of the railway system South of the Railway Carriage and Wagon Works alongside the Gloucester and Berkeley Canal, which were referred to in the notes about the Series 1 mapping. The Carriage and Wagon Works had expanded and new timber yards were now served by the railway.

An extract from EPW016965 – Britain From Above. This shows the Baltic Wharf and timber yards on the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, Gloucester in 1926. Very soon after the Series 3 OS Maps were produced. The map extract below covers this area. [9]

The most significant overall difference between the Series 2 maps and the Series 3 OS Maps is the mapping style. However, there is one area of the map which has changed – the area shown below, This is the area south of the Carriage and Wagon Works. Madleiz  Road, just to the South of the main site of the Wagon Works, has been shortened significantly to allow the Wagon Works to expand southwards. The track-work has been expanded in this area to serve new works building(s).By the 1950s, the Carriage and Wagon Works was redeveloped and modernised. External track-work seems to be only marginally changed from the 1920s.1950s 25″ OS Map of the Carriage and Wagon Works. [10]

An extract from EAW032295 – Britain From Above. The Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company Works and environs, Gloucester, 1950. The main sigins of the High Orchard Branch seem tightly hemmed in between the industrial buildings. [11]An extract from EAW032296 – Britain From Above. The High Orchard Branch sidings are shown to good advantage, 1950. [12]

A final set of maps [13] show the area to the east of the Docks as it is in the early 21st century after significant redevelopment has occurred.

The modern Trier Way (A430) follows the line of the old High Orchard Branch as far as Southgate Street. This is mapped on the adjacent image and on the one below. [13] The next map extract shows the approximate relation of old lines to the modern High Orchard Area, Shopping Centre and St. Ann Way (A430).

The final map in this sequence shows the Northern end of the docks. These maps do not always appear at the same scale in this blog. They are schematic illustrations rather than accurate plans. The lines shown for the dock railways and sidings are only approximate. Detail can be gleaned from the earlier maps above. However, these plans illustrate that modern development has generally respected the alignment of the old dock buildings. This clearly has not bee possible in the case of the new shopping development at High Orchard.

 

The High Orchard Branch

We have already noted that this Branch left the Tuffley Loop just to the south of the Barton Street Level Crossing. Up to now, we have primarily concentrated on mapping and aerial images to give an idea of the Branch and its sidings. We now look at the route of the Branch and its sidings from ‘street’ or ‘rail level’ wherever that detail is available to us.

This view was taken in 1975 looking North towards Barton Street Crossing. The High Orchard Branch has not yet been lifted and is the railway track to the left of the mainline, leaving the mainline to the left of the  DMU, (c) David Stowell / Towards Barton Street / CC BY-SA 2.0 [16]California Crossing looking North towards the Barton Street Crossing. The Park can be seen to the left of the image. The High Orchard Branch has left the Tuffley Loop and runs across Parkend Road at a very shallow angle behind the crossing gate in this picture, (c) David Stowell / California Crossing / CC BY-SA 2.0. [17]

The picture above is taken, as shown by the red arrow, on the adjacent map extract.The next picture shows the California Crossing at an earlier date and is taken from within the park. The tracks of the High Orchard Branch cannot easily be picked out on this picture, but they run under where the Ford Anglia is waiting to turn across the Level Crossing. [18]

There are some excellent pictures of the eastern end of the High Orchard Branch in Neil Parkhouse’s book [1: p53-58], in Ben Ashworth’s pictorial essay on the railways of Gloucestershire in the steam era [21: p6-8], and in Colin Maggs’ book, ‘The Branch Lines of Gloucestershire’ [22: p66] but not many that I can find across the web. There are also photographs available in the Gloucestershire Archives. [23]

Colin Maggs’ book includes a picture of the gated entrance to the High Orchard Branch which was taken on 9th March 1968 by Derrick Payne. Ben Ashworth’s book includes a series of great photographs of steam at work in the docks area and a couple of excellent shots of the eastern end of the branch: one of ex S&DJR 2-8-0 53806 crossing Parkend Road heading away from the docks on 12th May 1961; and one, taken on 4th June 1962, showing MR class 0F 41535 hauling a timber load away from the docks and passing under the footbridge which gave access to the South side of the park from Weston Road.

Early 21st century view looking South across the location of California Crossing (Google Streetview).

There are a few photographs of the area around California crossing in Ben Ashworth’s first book, “The Last Days of Steam in Gloucestershire.” [51: p59-60] These include: a shot of Locomotive No. 41537 crossing Parkend Road on its way onto the branch, travelling cab first;  S&DJR travelling tender first onto the branch; and Wigmore Castle  on the Tuffley Loop heading south across California Crossing.

As we have already seen, the branch curved to the West on the South side of Gloucester Park. Neil Parkhouse’s book should to be consulted if you wish to see images along the length of the line as it runs towards Southgate Street. [1: p53-58] Ben Ashworth’s book also includes a picture of 41535 on 17th December 1962, shunting the yard at High Orchard which took it East along the branch before setting back across the Crossing at Southgate Street.

Southgate Street Level Crossing on the High Orchard Branch (c) A Rigby. [19]

The adjacent picture shows the level crossing at Southgate Street and is taken looking West into the docks complex. The factory buildings on the right are part of the former Fielding & Platt engineering works. [19]

The ‘Fielding and Platt History’ website [20] has a number of pictures which show the High Orchard Yard.

The same Junction in 2002 after the building of St. Ann Way, but before the demolition of Fielding and Platt’s site to make way for the High Orchard Shopping Centre (https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk). [24]To the West of Southgate Street the line divided to form High Orchard Yard. Most of that Yard is now under the buildings of the High Orchard Shopping Centre (Google Streetview).

The High Orchard Yard ran along the South side of the Fielding and Platt site and on the North side of Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Works site. As noted above, in searching the internet, I have discovered some pictures of the Yard on the The ‘Fielding and Platt History’ website [20] I have very kindly been given permission by them to share these pictures here. A night-time shot of the level crossing on Southgate Street/Bristol Road. The crossing provided access from the Branch into High Orchard Yard (c) Henry Jenner. [20]High Orchard Yard with the tracks in the process of being lifted. (c) Paul Regester. [20]High Orchard Yard again, this time prior to dismantling of the track-work but further into the site. (c) Paul Regester. The image shows the rear of No. 1 Hydraulic shop, the Boiler Yard and the Former Iron Foundry. The tracks curving away ahead of the photographer are the lines which provide access the the main dock basins. [20]This picture is taken from the South looking towards No. 1 Hydraulic Shop (c) Ralph Tucker. [20]

Paul Regester notes this picture as showing the unloading of an F&P Press for modification in the plant (c) Paul Regester. [20]

The last three pictures show the unloading of wagons supplying Fielding and Platt in High Orchard Yard. The first looks from the South across the Yard towards Fielding and Platt’s factory. The remaining two pictures seem to have been taken of the same operation but from different angles. The first from the East, the second from the West.

High Orchard Yard – Crane at work, probably taken looking West towards the Canal (c) Paul Regester. [20]This final shot in the sequence appears to have been taken from the West looking back towards the Level Crossing and shows No. 1 Hydraulic shop behind the locomotive and crane, (c) Paul Regester. [20]

Turning North from High Orchard Yard there were three different lines. One was little more than a quay-side siding which ran up the East side of the canal and served a number of the properties very close to the Yard. Another ran up Merchants’ Road towards Lanthony Road but stopped short of making a junction with the tracks in Lanthony Road. The remaining  line was the most significant of the three. It appears in one of the pictures credited to Paul Regester above and appears in a couple of excellent images in Ben Ashworth’s book. One image shows No. 41537 on a short covered freight running between the high walls of Fielding and Platt’s site. The other image shows the same engine leaving the narrow channel between those high walls, crossing Baker Street and entering High Orchard Yard. [21: p14]

High Orchard Street looking North towards Gloucester Cathedral, showing the original Fielding and Platt buildings, (https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk). The railway to the main basin and the Victoria Dock runs to the right of the building in the centre of this image. Llanthony Road is just out of sight between the buildings two-thirds of the way up the image. [24]Looking North along High Orchard Street in July 2018 (Google Streetview).Turning to the left from the image above we get a glimpse of the Canal at Bakers Quay. Merchants’  Road runs into the shot from the bottom-left (https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk). [24]Street level view north along Merchants’ Road in 2019 (Google Streetview).

Llanthony Road looking West towards Llanthony Bridge in 2002. There was a line running East-West across Llanthony Bridge which connected the Docks sidings either side of the Canal, (https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk). [24]Llanthony Raod looking West in 2019 from roughly the same position as the image above (google Streetview). There has been major redevelopment of this area.

Llanthony Road Bridge – April 2011 (Google Streetview)

Llanthony Road Bridge lifting to allow access along the canal © Copyright David Martin and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence – CC BY-SA 2.0. [25]

Looking North using a long telephoto lens along what was the line of the Old Docks Railway. The older building which is coloured white, and which is only just visible below the tower of the Cathedral and above the parked cars, is Albion Cottages which can be seen on the images below. The photograph was taken from Llanthony Road. (Google Streetview). There is a photograph in Ben Ashworth’s collection from a similar position but taken in April 1962 which shows No. 41537 advancin towards the crossing at Llanthony Road and the line diverginf to run along Llanthony Road to the swing bridge. [21: p13] The old docks railway alignment (Google Streetview).

The same location adjacent to Albion Cottage (c) Roger Marks. He comments: The track-bed of one of the former Midland Railway lines at Gloucester Docks, looking towards Llanthony Road from the Southgate Street docks entrance in 1991 and 2015. The building on the right is known as Albion Cottages. If you look carefully at the wall on the left on the left hand picture, you can make out two gate pillars. This was the entrance where the Gloucester & Cheltenham Tramroad once entered the docks. The gateway was bricked up for many years but has recently been restored. [26]

The Docks Sidings and Quays on the East Side of the Canal and Main Basin

Tank Engine LMS 41537 (0-4-0T) close to the entrance to the docks off Southgate Street. Albion Cottages can be seen behind the locomotive. [15] The following monochrome image is taken looking East along the front of Albion Cottages. [27]

A pair of replica Gloucester & Cheltenham Tramroad wagons on display at Gloucester Docks on a section of original track. They stand on the original route of the Tramway, which entered the Docks through the gateway in the background. 21st May 2015 (c) Roger Marks. [27]

No. 41537 again. This picture is taken from almost the same position as the preious one featuring this locomotive, only the photographer is now facing West rather than facing South on 13th April 1959 (c) Ben Brooksbank
(Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0) [35]

Wikipedia provides some details of this small class of locomotives – Midland Railway 1528 Class.  [34] Ten were built in two batches; all at the Midland Railway’s Derby Works: the first five, Nos 1528–1533, in 1907 on Derby order number 3031, and the second five, 1534–1537, in 1921–1922, with only minor detail differences between the batches. When they were given BR numbers a ‘4’ was placed in front of the original locomotive numbers – so ‘1537’ became ‘41537’. No. 41537 was withdrawn from service in 1963. As the picture above shows, these locomotives were unusual in not having a coal bunker and so carried spare coal on top of the side-tanks. The last locomotives of the Class were withdrawn in 1966 (41528, 41533).

Ben Ashworth’s first photographic collection includes a shot of 41537 travelling North away from the Southgate Street entrance to the docks in 1962. It was waiting for some road vehicles to be moved out of its way before propelling its train of four covered wagons towards the Commercial Road entrance to the docks. [51: p59] The colour image below mimics the same movement but a little further to the North.This photograph of No. 41537 is taken from the East side of Victoria Dock looking North. The building at the North end of the dock are still recognizable in the 21st century. Permission to use this image was kindly given by the Tewkesbury Direct website. [36]A view from a similar location in the 21st century (Google Streetview).A five-plank open goods wagon displayed outside the National Waterways Museum, Gloucester. 29th March 2009 (c) Roger Marks. Immediately behind the wagon, just beyond the roofed area to the left, is the Barge Arm. The short length of track on which the wagon sits is on the line of one of the old docks railways which surrounded the Barge Arm. Turning 90 degrees to the left would bring the main building of the Museum into the picture.[28]Close to the same location in 2012 (Google Streetview).

Severn & Canal Carrying Company motor narrowboat “Oak” in the Barge Arm, Gloucester Docks. 21st May 2015 (c) Roger Marks. Biddle & Shipton’s Warehouse is on the North side of the Barge Arm, in the centre of this image. At one time, railway sidings ran down each side of the Barge Arm. [33]The Biddle & Shipton Warehouses in 1989 (c) Roger Marks. These warehouses are that the Western end of the Barge Arm. A railway siding ran around the dock wall at this location. [31]Biddle & Shipton Warehouses (c) Roger Marks.He writes: “The Biddle & Shipton warehouses, Gloucester Docks. 21st May 2015. Now rebuilt as residential apartments.” In this image, the Barge Arm is to the right. To the left, the Canal opens out into the Main Dock Basin and warehouse continue down its eastern edge. [30]Warehouses on Gloucester Docks, 21st May 2015 (c) Roger Marks. These warehouses are alongside the Main Dock Basin to the North of the Biddle & Shipton Warehouses. The dockside railway ran in front of these buildings before turning sharply by means of a wagon turntable to the right just beyond the far wall of the warehouses. Access to these sidings required the use of horese-power. [32]The City Flour Mills (c) Roger Marks. He writes: “The former City Flour Mills, Gloucester Docks, 21st May 2015. Anyone with an ounce of railway knowledge will immediately see that the railway track foreground is what is technically known as ‘utter bollocks’. Although it links two sections of authentic old docks railway, the physically impossible set of points is a figment of the mind of the developer who rebuilt this section of the docks in the late 1980s.” The Priday Flour Mills (these buildings) formed the northern backdrop to the Main Basin and the Victoria Dock. Behind the photographer is the old steam crane which has been placed on the North end of the docks and which was the first image in Part 1 of these notes about the Docks Railways. [29]Turning round to look to the West from the same position as the immediately preceding photograph, we look along the North end of the Docks Main Basin in the 21st century (Google Streetview)..

There is an excellent view of the East side of Victoria Dock on 5th July 1965 in Ben Ashworth’s photo collection. [21: p12]. The photograph shows the three lines on the East side of the Dock.

We have reached the northern end of the Docks complex. In order to finish our survey of the railways on the East Side of the Docks and Canal, we need to go back to the High Orchard Yard and turn to the South. A single line ran down the East bank of the Gloucester and Berkeley Canal and served a number of industrial concerns. The first, was the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Works and then there were a series of timber yards and Saw Mills along Baker’s Quay and Canada Wharf as far as the other Midland Railway Branch which for a time served the Docks. This branch was known as the Hempsted or New Docks Branch.

Baker’s Quay, Baltic Wharf and Canada Wharf

There was a single-track line serving the various industries which fronted onto Baker’s Quay. The Quay ran southwards from the High Orchard Yard down to the point where the Hempsted Branch was to cross the Canal just before the turn of the 20th century, The next three map extracts show the full length of Baker’s Quay, Baltic Wharf and Canada Wharf in the late 1940s and early 1950s. [3]

Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Works were a significant employer in Gloucester> Their engineering products travelled all over the world. The business was formed in 1860 and lasted until 1986 when it was acquired by Powell Duffryn Rail, all operations ceased in 1993/1994. [39] The factory site was accessed by rail directly from High Orchard Yard and from Baker’s Quay.

The Timber Yards were used by a number of different traders during their lifetime. Once such was Nicks & Co. [40]

Nicks & Co. are still trading in 2020 from their site on Canada Wharf. The adjacent image shows their first offices, the picture was taken in 1863. [41] Hugh Conway-Jones has written a short history of this company which appeared in the GSIA Journal in 2007. [40]

Typical view of the timber yards alongside the Canal. The view is taken looking North from Baltic Wharf towards the Docks. This is not a view of Nicks Timber Yard but shows the length of canal about 500 yards North. The access railway siding can easily be seen in the picture running from the bottom-left towards the top-right. Typical timer wagons stand on the siding  [42]

This smaller image comes from the 1880s and is included in an article by Hugh Conway-Jones published in the GSIA Journal, (c) Nicks& Co. Archive [40]. It shows Nicks & Co.’s frontage onto the Canal at Canada Wharf.

Nicks & Co.’s yard was rail served, initially along the canal-side, as can be seen by the first image below. The image shows the unloading of timber at the canal-side from one of the 1940 shipments. [43]

There were also internal sidings and the next picture shows. The main feature of the image is the construction of a new chimney in 1916. The internal sidings of the yard a visible towards the bottom of the image. [44]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Griggs’ Timber yard was at the South end of the wharves close to the Bristol Road. It started operating in 1875 and is still in operation in 2020. [48]

Saw Mills were an integral part of the industrial development of Baltic Wharf and Canada Wharf. Two large concerns are marked on the OS Maps at the Southern end of the site.

Rail access to all of these concerns was along the canal-side from High Orchard Yard, no connection seems to have been made to the Hempsted Branch when it was installed. All of the OS Map Series show a dis-connect (as in the adjacent extract) between the Canal-side lines and the Hempsted Branch,

 

 

The Hempsted Branch

The Hempsted Branch was a Midland Railway incursion into GWR territory. The two companies has reached a competitive truce which saw the Midland managing traffic on the East side of the Docks and the GWR operating on the West side of the Docks. Visit-Gloucestershire reports that the Hempsted Branch opened on 5th September 1898. [15] Colin Maggs says that, “The variously named New Docks, Tuffley, or Hempsted branch ran from Tuffley Junction (where the hitherto parallel MR and GWR divided to make their separate ways to Gloucester) to Hempsted Wharf. The branch opened to goods on 24 May 1900; a sub-branch, opened in 1913, served the gasworks. Another line crossed Monk Meadow where, until 1938, it linked with the GWR’s docks line. At Monk Meadow a dock and large pond for floating timber had been constructed west of the canal in 1891 and 1896 respectively. In 1969, the branch closed west of the gasworks siding and was shut completely two years later.” [22] Wikipedia supports the date Maggs has indicated for the opening of the line. [37]The Railway Clearing House Map of 1910 shows the Hempstead Branch on the bottom-left (Wikiwand) [38]25″ OS Map – the Hempsted Branch leaves the main line. [3] Its primary purpose was to proved the Midland Railway with access to the West side of the Gloucester and Berkeley Canal. The next few 25″ maps show its route up to the Canal Bridge.The ‘Know Your Place’ 2019 digitized maps [3] show the modern Podsmead Road at the hear of residential development. The old accommodation bridge which carried the Hempsted Branch over the road shown in the top-left of the 25″ OS Map above is long gone. Earlier OS Maps show the bridge in place  supporting the line long before Podsmead Road was extended South under the line. The old branch was carried on an embankment which is also long-gone.

 

Looking Northwest along the line of the old branch (Google Streetview). A little to the Northwest of Podsmead Road the branch broadened out into a series of sidings and at that point a ‘sub-branch’ turned away to the Southwest. [3]

A ‘sub-branch’ turned away to the Southwest at the beginning of the branch sidings. It does not appear on the 25″ 2nd Edition OS Maps. It first appears on the 25″ 3rd Edition OS Maps. It served the Bristol Road Gas Works. The Gasworks was not rail-served until 1920. A regular ‘4F’ 0-6-0 working saw coal delivered twice a day to Gloucester Gas Works Siding. Locomotive 4F 0-6-0 No. 44269 was photographed at the Gasworks in August 1965 by its fireman Dick Courtney. The photograph can be found on the Gloucestershire Railway memories Website. [45]

An extract from EPW037842 – Britain From Above. The picture was taken in 1932 and shows the Gasworks at the centre of the image. The canal can be seen in the bottom-left of the image with Bristol Road (A38) running parallel to it and almost empty of traffic! The Gasworks sidings can be seen heading away North towards the Hempsted Branch which runs across the top of the picture [46]

There are also two photographs of this working in Ben Ashworth’s first collection [51: p64]. the first shows 4F 0-6-0 No. 44264 leaving the sub-branch with a train of empties. The second shows the same engine propelling a train of coal onto the sub-branch.

Two further images appear in his second collection [21: p18-19]. The first shows 4F 0-6-0 No. 44264 in charge of a train of coal wagons heading along the Hempsted branch towards the Gasworks sidings in September 1965. [21: p18] The second is a view across the allotments which are centre-bottom of the first of the two map extracts above. [21: p19] The picture shows the 44264 returning, tender first, from the Gasworks with empties on the same day.

The gasworks were decommissioned in the early 1970s but it took around 40 years for the site to fully made safe. [46]

At the Northwest end of the sidings before the Branch passed under the Bristol Road ther was a further siding bearing away to the Southwest and a short stub-siding on the Northeast side of the running line. The first of these served Hempsted Wharf although it was divided from the Canal by Bristol Road (A38). The stub-siding served a chemical works.

And finally ……….

In order to build the Hempstead Branch the Midland Railway had to realign the A38 Bristol Road and build a substantial 3-arch bridge. This is the last significant feature before the branch crossed the Canal on a sing bridge.

The parapets of the bridge over the Hempsted Branch, still in place in 2019 (Google Streetview).Looking to the East from the A38 bridge over what was the Hempsted Branch. This picture was taken in 2019 (Google Streetview).Looking West along what was the Hempsted Branch towards the Canal. Joseph Griggs’ Timber yard is beyond the bridge parapet.A grainy extract from EPW037841 – Britain From Above (1932). The bridge carrying the A38 Bristol Road is highlighted. The Hempsted Wharf Sub-Branch and the Hempsted Branch are indicated. Both have wagons sitting on them. It is impossible to make out the Canal Bridge on this image. [49]Bristol Road Bridge in 2019 looking along the old Hempsted Branch to the Canal (Google Earth 3D).Looking East across the A38 from above Griggs’ Timber Yard in 2019. The three-arch bridge is hidden in the shadows created by the trees (Google Earth 3D)

The A38 bridge also appears in Ben Ashworth’s collection. A view taken from the West bank of the Canal in 1970 shows the structre to good advantage looking along what was the old railway but by then was part of Griggs’ Timber Yard. [21: p16]

The route of the Hemsted Branch as it crosses the Canal is shown by the red line on this image. The swing bridge has long been removed. The route on the far side of the canal is now a footpath (2020 – Google Earth -3D).

References

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  21. Ben Ashworth; The Last Days of Steam in Gloucestershire A Second Selection; Amberley Publishing, 2013.
  22. Colin Maggs; The Branch Lines of Gloucestershire; Amberley Publishing, 2013.
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  34. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midland_Railway_1528_Class, accessed on 24th May 2020.
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  36. https://www.tewkesburydirect.co.uk/times-gone-by, accessed on 20th May 2020.
  37. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristol_and_Gloucester_Railway, accessed on 25th May 2020.
  38. https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Gloucester_railway_station, accessed on 25th May 2020.
  39. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gloucester_Railway_Carriage_and_Wagon_Company, accessed on 25th May 2020.
  40. Hugh Conway-Jones; Nicks & Co. Long Established Timber merchants of Gloucester; Gloucestershire Society for Industrial Archaeology (GSIA) Journal for 2007, p3-13. Found online at https://www.gsia.org.uk/reprints/2007/gi200703.pdf, accessed on 25th May 2020.
  41. https://nickstimber.co.uk, accessed on 25th May 2020.
  42. https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/news/history/gallery/day-docks-caught-fire-gloucesters-3960358, accessed on 25th May 2020.
  43. https://www.facebook.com/Nickstimber.co.uk/photos/a.1053087591401414/1536323183077850/?type=3&theater, accessed on 25th May 2020.
  44. https://www.facebook.com/Nickstimber.co.uk/photos/a.1053087591401414/1536323189744516/?type=3&theater, accessed on 25th May 2020.
  45. https://sites.google.com/site/gloucestershirerailwaymemories/home/train-services/31-october-1964, accessed on 27th May 2020.
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  47. https://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/epw037842, accessd on 27th May 2020.
  48. https://www.griggstimber.co.uk, accessed on 27th May 2020.
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  50. https://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/epw050778, accessed on 28th May 2020.
  51. Ben Ashworth; The Last Days of Steam in Gloucestershire; Amberley Publishing, 2009.

Co. Donegal Railways, Ireland – Part 1 – The Glenties Branch – Stranorlar to Ballinamore

My wife and I were due to take our annual holidays in 2020 in April and May. We would have been staying in Co. Donegal in Ireland and would, among other things, have explored some parts of the old 3ft gauge railways which served Co. Donegal.

Map of the Co. Donegal 3ft-gauge railway network. [25]

I have been reading through the 1948 editions of The Railway Magazine and on 16th May 2020, I found this short paragraph in the ‘Notes and News’ section of the May and June 1948 edition. Volume 94 No. 575. …

Closing of the Glenties Branch, County Donegal Railways Joint Committee

Passenger services were withdrawn on 13th December 1947, from the Stranorlar-Glenties branch of the County Donegal Railways Joint Committee in Ireland. The stations affected were Glenmore, Cloghan, Ballinamore, Fintown, Shallogans and Glenties. The branch of 3ft-gauge and 24.5 miles in length was constructed under the Light Railways (Ireland) Act of 1889, and opened on 23rd June 1894.

This seems to be far too short an obituary to the Glenties Branch. So, it seemed to me that I should start looking at the Co. Donegal Railways by looking at the Glenties Branch.

As part of my holiday reading, I had set aside the updated version of E.M. Patterson’s book about the Co. Donegal railways (which I first read as a teenager). That 2014 book has been a companion over a couple of weeks of lockdown in 2020. [3]

The Glenties Branch ran through a very rural part of Co. Donegal and seemingly stopped short of what could be considered a ‘sensible’ destination – the Atlantic Coast. Indeed it seems as though there were quite a few people in Ardara on the coast who thought that way. There was a concerted campaign over many years to get a short extension built between Glenties and Ardara. [3] But more of that later!

Grace’s Guide tells us that the line between Stranorlar and Glenties was 24 miles (38 km) long and that It opened in 1895. [2] Stranorlar and Ballybofey (located on the other side of the River Finn) together, form the “Twin Towns.” [5] It might interest you to know that there are no schools or churches in the town of Ballybofey itself, all these amenities were governed by laws during plantation times when certain Catholic buildings were not allowed within a specified range of Protestant towns. Times have changed a little now as Stranorlar has both a Roman Catholic and a Church of Ireland church. Both of the Twin Towns have their own railway station.

Stranorlar Railway Station was a junction Station with the line to Glenties branching off the Donegal to Strabane line. Ballybofey Railway Station was on the other side of the River Finn. Ballybofey Railway Station opened on 3rd June 1895 and closed on 15th December 1947 along with the rest of the Glenties branch.

Wikipedia tells us that Stranorlar Railway Station was built by the Finn Valley Railway and opened on 7th September 1863 and finally closed on 6th February 1960. “The old railway station was demolished to make way for a new bus garage owned and run by Bus Éireann. To celebrate the millennium, the old clock from the railway station was restored and installed in a new clock tower which sits at the