IH News 2022

We like cross border projects……

Or so you would think, given the enthusiasm for Thon Sheugh in the Irish Government.

However, there is another cross border project that is ready to go, except that, according to the Irish Independent, the Government of Ireland is having issues around planning permission (An Bord Pleanala level so not a Donegal County Council issue) and the granting of a foreshore licence in relation to the River Foyle.

Perhaps some of the enthusiasm for Thon Sheugh could be diverted to this project to get it across the line.


The Conflict on Irish Railways

RTE has an article entitled “Enemy lines: the conflict on Irish Railways 1922-23” on their site, looking at aspects of Ireland’s railways 100 years ago.

A worthwhile read, I did notice an error in photograph selection, with RTE publishing a stock photo from SSPL/Getty Images, which they claim is of a Great Southern & Western Railway locomotive at Inchicore Works in Dublin.

I will be the first to admit that I have little to no interest in trains (including locomotives) and I know nothing about what type of locomotive this is or anything about it.

However, I did note that the initials on the side of the locomotive are:

“G&SWR” and not “GS&WR”.

A small difference, but significant in ruling this out as an Irish locomotive and also determining that the photo is not Inchicore.

There was a British railway company – the Glasgow & South Western Railway – the initials of which were “G&SWR”.

IH News 2022

Ulster Canal – Irish Government asks NI to pay

In a rare outbreak of common sense, the Irish Government has asked the (suspended) NI Assembly to commit to Thon Sheugh and “restore” the Ulster Canal in Co. Armagh to aid the Peace Process ™.

Per the BBC, Government Minister Heather Humphries was quoted thus:

“This here is about bringing our communities together,”

“It’s showing the benefit of working together and it will make a difference here in Clones, of course that will also make a difference along the route where it travels through Northern Ireland and right into Castle Saunderson in County Cavan.”

The arguments against the “restoration” of the Ulster Canal as anything other than a greenway remain. That Humphries is asking others to commit to facilitate this fetish of the Irish Government is appalling – what next, ask NI to pay to drain the Shannon?


Essexford Station, Co. Monaghan

I have (finally) started to process the photos I took over the last few months and one of these was taken at Essexford in Co. Monaghan, which was the intermediate station on the Carrickmacross branch.

The Google Streetview image of the station master’s residence is below (dates from 2018):

The photo I took is below:

Essexford Stationmaster's house
Essexford, Co. Monaghan
Essexford Stationmaster’s house, Essexford, Co. Monaghan. Copyright Ewan Duffy 2022

I think the house looked better before the new owners went at it (the house was on the market in recent years).

IH News 2022

Narrow Water Bridge tendered

The on/off bridge proposed to connect Co. Louth with Co. Down has gone out to tender, with the Government of Ireland playing rich uncle and offering to pay for the whole thing.

Still, better this than the Ulster Canal.


The County Donegal Remembered

Jim McBride will give the above titled lecture (about the County Donegal Railway) on Monday 28th November 2022, to the Ballybofey, Stranorlar & District Historical Society.

The event is being held in the Henderson Hall, Stranorlar at 8pm and all are welcome.


Irish Rail timetable changes

Irish Rail’s new timetable is due to commence on 11th December with small changes overall. On the webpage announcing these changes, IR also listed the main suggestions for service improvements from the public consultation process and the reasons for such suggestions not being implemented – the main one being insufficient drivers.

One of the suggestions which I disagree with (and which IR swiftly and correctly passed over to the NTA) is that Newbridge should be brought within the Short Hop zone.

This is a ludicrous suggestion and would see a commuter in Castleknock (10km as the crow flies from Dublin City Centre) paying the same annual fare as someone in Newbridge (42km as the crow flies from Dublin City Centre).

Some would argue that the distance determinations should be based on actual rail mileage. I would argue against that as modern day commuters should not be punished for engineering and landlord appeasing decisions made over 150 years ago when railway lines were built.

If the NTA were to include Newbridge in the Short Hop Zone, they would similarly need to extend the zone to Drogheda, Wicklow Town and Enfield – not an appropriate definition of Short Hop.

A better use of NTA resources would be to move PSO bus routes in the rail short hop zone that are currently with Bus Eireann/Go Ahead Regional services to the Dublin Area contracts, extending such services into North and East Kildare, thereby standardising bus and rail services in one zone. I will declare an interest here, residing as I do in Kilcock and would therefore be a beneficiary of such a move.


Clonsilla Locomotive Shed

In 1862, the Dublin & Meath Railway opened their line from Clonsilla, Co. Dublin to Navan, Co. Meath – their station in the latter being located to the south of the railway from Navan to Oldcastle, which was a separate company.

At the Dublin end of the line (Clonsilla), the company had their own locomotive shed, located in the apex of their line and the MGWR mainline to Galway/Sligo.

This building was later converted for use as accommodation for railway staff, but has been derelict for decades and overgrown with plant life.

When out volunteer litter picking on the Royal Canal today, I noticed that the side of the building facing the modern era M3 Parkway branch has been cleared of vegetation, exposing it to public view once more.

Former Dubllin  & Meath Railway Locomotive Shed, Clonsilla, Co. Dublin
Former Dubllin & Meath Railway Locomotive Shed, Clonsilla, Co. Dublin. Copyright Ewan Duffy 2022

I hope that this is not a prelude to demolition of the building.

IH News 2022

Weir near Lough Rinn, Co. Leitrim reports on the grant aided restoration of a stone wall, which was a boundary of the Lough Rinn (sic) estate south of Mohill.

The IH significance of this is further into the article as the wall was deemed part of an adjoining bridge and weir, which have also been restored.

IH News 2022

Streamstown Junction cafe

Midlands103 are reporting that Westmeath County Council are to grant aid the fitting out of a building at the former railway station at Streamstown Junction (on the Mullingar – Athlone greenway) as a cafe, to the tune of €33,000.

This is a welcome initiative and Westmeath County Council are to be commended for this move.