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jhb171achill

The Express to Dingle

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I was told this in the mid 1970s while on a CIE "Runabout" ticket in Tralee. I had arrived behind an "A", three laminates and a tin heating van, probably one of the last in service. The yard was busy with another "A" shunting in preparation for the up goods. All loose-coupled, mostly "H" vans.

i went walkabout to explore the still very much intact T & D station, Basin Halt and Blennerville station - all intact, though Blennerville was roofless. Basin was by now a well cared for house, but the platform (full height if I remember correctly; highly unusual for Irish narrow gauge and unique on this system) was still there.

I met a man who walked with me much of the way. He had been s track worker on the T & D, later in the "broad gauge" station.

He recounted a summer evening about 1940, just after he started on the railway, obviously by this stage under GSR auspices. Sadly, though I'm glad to say practically uniquely, he had a poor opinion of Americans. (How VERY wrong he was!).

When he started on the railway, passenger services had ceased only about nine months earlier, and the railway still LOOKED as if it catered for them - especially with a rake of maroon passenger stock parked in the station just opposite the platform. Our friend and his colleagues were carrying out routine maintenance work on the platform road and run round loop. By now, there was but one goods train per day to Dingle; the two daily passenger trains were history.

A well dressed American enters the station and approaches our track-fixing friend.

"Say, buddy, I was told this is the railroad station. I'm looking to travel to Dingle. Do you work here?"

(The answers to all of the above were quite obvious).

"Yes".

.....Pause....

"Say, how long does it take by train?"

"Lasht time I was on it, a couple hours".

"Oh, ok, I didn't realise it took that long...."

"Ah but sure the express is quicker".

"There's an express? How long does that take?"

"Jusht twenty five minutes", said the heavy Kerry accent. "But it's away now. Ye'd be better coming back tomorrow"....

The American gentleman thanked him and left....  He never saw him again.

  • Funny 1

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