The Sligo, Leitrim & Northern Counties Railway opened in 1882 & ran from Carrignat Junction, near Sligo, to Enniskillen. Broad gauge, it remained independent until closure in 1957. While no additions were made, there were proposals for branchlines to Swalinbar [from Florencecourt in 1883] and Arigna. The latter would have left the mainline at Dromahair and run via Drumkeeran, where there had been ironworks in the 18th century, then down the western shore of Lough Allen to Arigna. Here there were coal desposits, which were the basis of the proposal. In fact, there were at least two, the SLNCR’s just mentioned in 1904 and an independent line from Collooney, via Ballyfarnon in 1914. The latter was my initial proposal in an earlier blog, but the former is now the fiction behind my layout.
The reason for the change is partly from the acquisition of Neil Sprink’s history of the SLNCR, but also because the orientation of the backscene on the layout better relects the likely SLNCR route and physical geography of the area. On the map, the station has been rotated 180 degrees, with the line exiting to the east & also moved north of the minor road from the actual Cavan & Leitrim station.
Had the line been built, subsequent history would have most likely followed that of its parent, with railbus & railcar taking most passenger traffic and steam power for freight. However, I still like the idea of the M&GWR/GSR having a hand in the coal traffic, which is the excuse for my J26 tank. Being wholly in the Republic, it seems likely that most traffic would have been to/from Sligo, so a timetable will be created to link with mainline ones at Dromahair.
Had the line been built, I guess it is just possible that it might have outlived the main SLNCR’s closure in 1957, not least because coal traffic could have continued to run & perhaps a link to the new power station on Lough Allen in 1959 would have brought welcome extra revenue. This could even have kept the line open until that closed in the 1990s. My larger version of the Arigna community might even have kept passenger trains running too. If so, the Railcar B could easily have continued into the 1980s, with C or G class diesels on freight. It is something to keep me interested as far as future stock building is concerned!