Category Archives: Railways Blog

The Railways of Jamaica

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

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

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

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

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

The book was a delightful read.

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

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

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

Jamaica 1970 Jamaican Railways SG 326 [6]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References

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

The Forest of Dean – Milkwall Tramway at Dark Hill

In early September 2020, while staying in Bream in the Forest of Dean we walked around the Titanic Steel Works and the Dark Hill Ironworks of father and son David and Robert Mushet. These two establishments sit adjacent to what was the Coleford branch of the Severn and Wye Joint Railway. They were also served, in its time, by the Milkwall branch of Severn and Wye Tramway.

The location is significant in the development of the Bessemer Process for making hardened steel. Robert Mushet took the relatively novel ideas of Bessemer and refined them to the point where the process became functional in an industrial context. [3]

The tramway closed when the Coleford Branch opened as the route of the new railway closely followed the old tramway. There are only a few places where the route of the old tramway diverged from the newer railway and one of these locations is in the area of the Mushet owned works. The next few OS Map extracts come from the very early series of 25″ OS Maps which were drawn in the period from 1873-1888, nonetheless, the old tramway was by this time only a memory,

At the Eastern end of the Dark Hill Iron Works site, the old tramway diverged from the line of the Severn and Wye Joint railway. The loop shown here was no doubt provided to lessen the gradient. Steam power enabled the newer railway to take a more direct route. The Severn and Wye Joint Railway is shown by the double black lines which curve from the right of the map extract to pass through the words ‘Darkhill Iron Works’ at the bottom of the extract. [1]

The tramway route shown by the thin red line ran across the North side of Darkhill Iron Works and then on the Northeast side of the Titanic Steel Works. The  Severn and Wye Joint Railway looped round the South side of the two sites. [1]

The two distinct red lines which appear on this map extract are both part of the old Milkwall branch of the Severn and Wye Tramroad. That to the West of the Map extract became the Sling Branch which left the Coleford Branch of the Severn and Wye Joint Railway at the small Milkwall Station to the North. That railway can be seen running to the West side of the Titanic Steel Works. The other red line is just to the Northeast of the Titanic Steel Works. [1]The two arms of the tramway which are seen as red lines on the map extract prior to this one are shown coming together just to the South of the Milkwall Station on the Severn and Wye Joint Railway which is sited just off the North side of this map extract.

We followed a Heritage Walk route which took us around Milkwall and Dark Hill areas of the Forest. [2] We encountered a significant section of the old stone sleepers which were used to support the cast-iron L-shaped plates which the trams ran on. Pictures I took at that location follow. I have also included a photograph taken the same week at the Dean Forest Railway which shows how the plates were keyed-in to the stone sleepers using  purpose made ‘chairs’.

Generally the modern footpaths which follow the routes of these old tramways are not wide enough to allow both rows of stone sleepers to be seen.

The different gauges used at different times in the Forest can be seen clearly in this picture taken at the Dean Forest Railway at Norchard on 2nd September 2020. The tramway gauge and construction can be seen in the foreground. Tramways in the forest were of 3’6″ to 3’8″ track gauge. Each plate was fixed in place by a metal chair which in turn was supported by an independent stone block/sleeper. All the photographs above are my own.

As we noted when looking at the map extracts above, the Sling branch of the Severn and Wye Joint Railway followed the line of the older Milkwall Tramway. Our walk took us, for a short distance, along the line of the Sling Branch. The more modern rails of the branch were supported on concrete blocks similar in size to the stone blocks which once supported the tramway. My picture below shows these concrete blocks where they are still visible outside Fairview Cottage which appears in the third of the four map extracts above.

References

  1. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15.577087890792386&lat=51.77809&lon=-2.59762&layers=178&b=1, accessed on 3rd September 2020.
  2. There is an app which can be downloaded to mobile phones which provides access to a number of different Walks, one of these is the Coleford Heritage Walk, part of which we followed: https://www.forestersforest.uk/projects/12/hidden-heritage-app, accessed on 3rd September 2020.
  3. David and Robert Mushet: http://www.wyedeantourism.co.uk/mushets#, accessed on 8th September 2020.

 

 

The Forest of Dean – Bream Heritage Walk, the Oakwood Tramway and Flour Mill Colliery

We are in the Forest of Dean again for a week away from work. On 1st September 2020 we followed a sign-posted circular walk which started in the centre of the village of Bream on the Southwest side of the Forest. The route was planned with the support of the Big Lottery Heritage Fund and featured a series of different heritage locations around the village. An overview plan appears below. [1]

Bream was one of a number of villages which sat on the edges of the old Royal Forest of Dean and in pre-industrial times had a population of around 300. The industrialisation of the Forest brought relatively rapid expansion to many of these villages. Bream’s population in the early 21st century is over 3,000.

The walk, including the different detours that we chose to make was about 7.5 miles in length. The first sections of the walk were along modern roads but we soon found ourselves walking along one of the access routes that would have been used by the workers in the iron ore mines in and around Noxon Park.

We passed a number of caves and sink-holes which were created by early iron ore miners. The area is riddled with underground workings and a number of relatively large caves have, over the years collapsed to create large and deep depressions (or scowles) at the surface. These can be found between locations 11 and 14 on the walk route map.

Initially, these workings were served by packhorses that carried the iron-ore away to be refined, but by the 19th century, plateways or tramways were being built to improve the transport of the ore.

The walk took us first along the route of the China Bottom Branch of the Oakwood Tramway which was covered in an earlier post about the tramways in the Forest (https://rogerfarnworth.com/2017/10/02/oakwood-and-dikes-tramways). [2] The branch ran between the approximate locations 13 and 14 on the map above. The track shows up on the old map below as two dotted lines leading from the bottom left of the map towards China Bottom.

When we reached China Bottom, we joined the route of the Oakwood Tramway which can be seen running left to right across the map extract below. The early China Bottom Branch served the small mines in the Noxon Park. These were superseded by the larger mines at China Bottom and Princess Louise and the early tramway branch was then abandoned and the cast-iron rails were lifted.

Extract from the OS 25″ Map on the mid 19th Century. [5]

China Bottom takes its name from a large iron-ore mine which once occupied the site which was called ‘China Engine Pit’. Its name indicates that the mine had a powerful steam engine which lifted iron-ore to the surface and pumped out water from the mine. “These engines were usually beam engines of the type used in Cornish tin mines, as seen on the TV series Poldark.” [7]

Close by was another large iron-ore mine called the ‘Princess Louise’ which had a 180 metre deep shaft. For more information, see the ‘Derelict Places’ Website. [3]

Princess Louise Pit, OS 25″ Map from the mid 19th century. [6]

The Oakwood Tramway

From location 14 through to between location 20 and 21 our path followed the route of the Oakwood Tramway. We picked it up again by taking a diversion northwards from location 24.

Oakwood Tramway ran, at first, on the Northern side of Oakwood Brook,  between locations 14 & 15.  The brook was culverted under the tramway and then supplied water power for Oakwood Mill which sat close to the brook between it and the road between Sling and Bream. [1]

At location 16 on the walk we passed Oakwood Mill Land Level, another iron ore mine.

“The land level was driven from 365 feet O.D. at the entrance. It is an adit or tunnel driven into the hill side for a distance of 1650 feet (500 metres). From the far end of the tunnel further levels were driven at right angles to facilitate mining and removal of the iron ore.  The level also allowed water to drain from the iron ore measures above 365 feet, allowing previously underwater deposits to be exploited. The level can be seen on Sopwith’s Map of 1835“. [11]

In 1827 David Mushet the metallurgist laid the earliest length of the Oakwood Tramroad from this area to Parkend. “Within a short distance you can observe a series of large flat stones in the pathway. These are sleepers for the Oakwood Tramway which terminated at Parkend and was used to transport mainly iron ore for transfer to the railway at Marsh Sidings (near Parkend’s Fountain Inn).” [11]

To the left and right of the walk route we came across dry mill ponds which originally “fed the water wheel at the Oakwood Corn Mill. The mill occupied the old buildings to the left and the waterwheel which drove the machinery was situated in a sunken chamber at the side. The sluice gate, which released the water onto the wheel, can be seen in the far corner of the stone-lined pond. It is probable that the operation of the mill was sporadic and dependant on the mill ponds containing sufficient water to drive the wheel.” [11]

The route of the Oakwood Tramway between locations 14 and 15, 1st September 2020.The different gauges used at different times can be seen clearly in this pisture taken at the Dean Forest Railway at Norchard on 2nd September 2020. The tramway gauge and construction can be seen in the foreground. Tramways in the forest were of 3’6″ to 3’8″ track gauge.

The Oakwood Tramway most probably consisted of L-shaped cast-iron rails resting on stone blocks or sleepers, as shown above, which served to spread the load over the ground, and to maintain the gauge. We located a number of these stone blocks along the first length of the tramway between 14 and 20. Each had two or three holes into which the rails or ‘plates’ were fixed. A few photographs taken on 1st September 2020 at different locations along the path, follow. …

There were long lengths of the route where usage and time have resulted in these stone blocks/sleepers being covered. “From this point, the tramroad did not plunge down the slope to the bottom of Mill Hill, it ……. went to the right and took a level path that hugged the hillside as it continued along the valley.” [12] It then turned to the Northeast following the valley.

In the valley bottom is what, in the 21st century, is a large white rendered private house. This was, until 1969, the ‘Oakwood Inn’.

At location 19 on the walk we passed what was once Oakwood Mill Deep Level iron-ore mine. It was driven in the early 1800’s by “David Mushet and it drained water from the earlier surface workings, both draining the mine of water and allowing a much easier extraction of ore.” [13] And at location 20, we passed the remains of Bromley Furnace.

The next significant location on the walk is the Oakwood Chemical Works and Flour Mill Colliery. We will return to look at the route of the tramway after we have looked at the Flour Mill Colliery site.

Flour Mill Colliery and its present use.

At locations 21, 22 and 23 on the walk we passed the site of Flour Mill Colliery. The walk runs immediately alongside the remaining colliery buildings on the line of the old tramway.

A while ago, the Colliery and the current use of its remaing buildings featured on my blog. [4]

The buildings of Flour Mill Colliery sit immediately alongside the route of the Heritage Walk, 1st September 2020.The Electricity Generating Hall/Building of the old colliery is now in use as an engineering works, 1st September 2020.

These buildings are now in use for the repair and refurbishment of steam locomotives. We spent a while wandering around the boundary of the works.

For more pictures please click here, [9] and for more information about the engineering works please click here. [10]

The route of the walk deviates away from the tramway alignment approximately at the entrance to the modern works, just northeast of the electricity generating hall. The tramway route begins to drop away heading for the transshipment wharves at Parkend.

When Flour Mill Colliery was expanding in the late 19th century it had to bridge the Oakwood Tramway which ran through the enlarged site. The later 25″ OS Map extract below shows the site of Flour Mill Colliery towards the end of the 19th century. The Oakwood tramway can be seen bridged by a relative wide man-made land bridge. [15] This is approximately at location 23 on the walk. The Oakwood Tramway leaves the map extract in the top right corner heading for Parkend. A rope-worked incline runs away to the right just to the South of the Oakwood Tramway. That incline led to what was most recently known as the Princess Royal Colliery.  ……

The 25″ OS Mapping of the late 19th century shows that Flour Mill Colliery had two shafts. The more southerly of the two had required a bridge between the shaft and the colliery spoil heaps. The more northerly of the two shafts, later required a land bridge over the tramway which was first culverted before the land was built up to provide access across the Oakwood tramway to a rope worked incline which took coal from Flour Mill Colliery to Princess Royal Colliery. [8][14]

The Oakwood Tramway again

25″ OS Map extract [18]

To the Northeast of the land bridge, Oakwood Tramway was in deep cutting. Its route could only be found by taking a deviation from the Bream Heritage Walk at location 24 on the walk route shown above. It was a delight to find significant remains of the tramway between this point and the Parkend Road.

The Oakwood Tramway was a single-track line with passing places. The two pictures immediately below were taken to the North of location 24 on the Bream Heritage Walk. They show the location of one of these passing places. A shirt loop of line left the main route and returned back to join it in a very short distance. Just long enough to accommodate a train of trams and their motive power (a horse or two)! The map extract below shows the location. [16]

The two pictures show the northern end of the passing loop which can be seen on the OS Map above. The first looks north, the second looks South. Both pictures were taken on 1st September 2020.The rope-worked incline passed under the Bream to Parkend Road at this location. The barrier protect the drop into the cutting, (Google Streetview). 

Our walk turned away from the Tramway just North of the location of the passing loop shown in the pictures above. We walked up to the Parkend Road and turned back towards Bream. We were able to make out the point where the rope-worked incline passed under the road. The last picture above was taken from the Bream to Parkend Road at location 25 on the Bream Heritage Walk,

References

  1. https://bhwalk.uk, accessed on 1st September 2020.
  2. https://rogerfarnworth.com/2017/10/02/oakwood-and-dikes-tramways. The Oakwood Tramway ran West to East before turning Northeast towards Parkend.
  3.  https://www.derelictplaces.co.uk/main/industrial-sites/8587-princesss-louise-iron-mine-forest-dean.html, accessed on 1st September 2020.
  4.  https://rogerfarnworth.com/2017/09/30/the-flour-mill-colliery.
  5. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=51.75812&lon=-2.59536&layers=178&b=1, accessed on 2nd September 2020. 
  6. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=51.75805&lon=-2.59121&layers=178&b=1, accessed on 2nd September 2020.
  7. https://bhwalk.uk/china-bottom, accessed on 3rd September 2020.
  8. https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=51.75823&lon=-2.57385&layers=168&b=1, accessed on 2nd September 2020.
  9. https://rogerfarnworth.com/2020/09/04/the-flour-mill-colliery-and-the-flour-mill-ltd-again, blog post completed on 4th September 2020.
  10. https://theflourmill.com, accessed on 2nd September 2020.
  11. https://bhwalk.uk/oakwood-mill-land-level, accessed on 1st September 2020.
  12. https://bhwalk.uk/oakwood-mill, accessed on 1st September 2020.
  13. https://bhwalk.uk/oakwood-mill-deep-level, accessed on 2nd September 2020.
  14. https://bhwalk.uk/flourmill-colliery, accessed on 3rd September 2020.
  15. https://bhwalk.uk/flourmill-land-bridges, accessed on 3rd September 2020.

The Flour Mill Colliery and The Flour Mill Ltd again!

We were staying in the Forest of Dean in September 2020 and followed the Bream Heritage Walk. Details of the walk can be found on my blog, [1] and independently on-line here. [2]

The walk passes alongside the engineering works at Flour Mill Colliery. [3] We spent a while walking round the industrial site before continuing our walk.

“The Flour Mill is a listed building which was converted to a railway workshop in 1995 – 1996, and used as such since 1996. The Flour Mill Ltd operates the business in the building undertaking work repairing and overhauling steam locomotives.” [3] Please note that this is a working site and not a visitor attraction.

It was possible, from outside the boundaries of the site, to take a number of photographs which might be of interest. …..

Locomotive boiler and driving wheels/axles. Others may be able to give an idea of the provenance, 1st September 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These two photographs show Locomotive TDK 4015 ‘Karel’ outside the main works building. This locomotive was imported to UK and moved to the Avon Valley Railway. It was withdrawn in 2013, and sent to the Flour Mill in the Forest of Dean for overhaul. It returned to traffic September 2016 but was back under repair again in 2020. It was made by Fablok, Poland in 1947. [4][5] (1st September 2020).

Another locomotive boiler and the site crane, 1st September 2020.

These two images show a railway crane awaiting refurbishment. I will have to rely on others to provide more information! (1st September 2020).

The next series of images are all taken from the North boundary of the site.

More information about the site can be found on The Flour Mill’s website. [3]

References

  1. https://rogerfarnworth.com/2020/09/04/the-forest-of-dean-bream-heritage-walk-the-oakwood-tramway-and-flour-mill-colliery, published on 4th September 2020.
  2. https://bhwalk.uk, accessed on 1st September 2020.
  3. https://www.theflourmill.com, accessed on 2nd September 2020.
  4. https://www.avonvalleyrailway.org/about-us/locomotives-rolling-stock/tkh49-no-4015-karel, accessed on 3rd September 2020.
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fablok_TKh49, accessed on 3rd September 2020.

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

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  32. After completing the first version of this article I was offered three images by Kerry Doherty of Ballindrait, Co. Donegal.