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Model Railway Planning Irish style 2. Newcastle



Well David got me thinking. Newcastle West another station with an unusual track layout, there are a number of photos in A J O'Rourke's book and the news section of the IRRS Journal from the early mid 70s I had a look around but did not take any photos before the track was lifted in the 1980s.



Originally built as a simple terminus by the Rathkeale & Newcastle Junction Railway in the late 1860s, it became a junction when the Limerick & North Kerry opened its line to Tralee in 1880.


The original station appears to have been a simple single platform branch terminus with a turntable and loco shed at the end of the running road and a single siding serving the good shed and loading bank. The single platform appears to have been extended and a second loop added for the opening of the Tralee line. This would have allowed two passenger or mixed trains to use the platform in a similar manner to Waterford. The diamond crossing arrangement across the down? running line to the goods yard was a fairly common W&L arrangement, Listowel had a similar crossover from the Up Main to the goods yard up to closure.






The "North Kerry Yard" with a second platform road run round and turntable appear to have been added in the mid 1880s to allow longer trains to cross.


The layout was later simplified with Up & Down main running along the platform and the diamond crossing and second loop removed, the down Home Signal from Limerick is now the down Home at Dromad on the C&L.


Some re-signalling may have been carried out when the wooden signal cabin was replaced with a GSR/CIE hipped roofed block built cabin in the mid 50s.


In CIE days the running line on the East side of the station appears to have been treated as the main line with the North Kerry Yard as a bay platform. The crossover near to the twin bridges at the Limerick & Tralee end of the station was laid out for reasonably high speed running, the crossover at the end of the platform much sharper.


Passenger trains continued to run over Barnagh up to 73 with specials from Dublin & Limerick to the Listowel Races and Knock and seaside excursion trains. One special was made up to 14 coaches double headed by B141s with a relief loco sent to assist the run round at Abbeyfeale.


The line had a brief resurgence in freight before closure Newcastle was the railhead for steel traffic for ESB in connection with transmission lines from Tarbert Power station. ESB leased the North Kerry Yard and both yards are chock full of open wagons in photos from that period.


The final traffic appears to have been meat in containers from Rathkeale, cement and fertiliser to Newcastle. A couple of Back to Back fertiliser specials operated in the last few months, before closure. The last train delivered a H van of cement and returned with 55 empty wagons to Limerick.


I haven't space for Newcastle but it would make an interesting major station on an American basement empire style layout with Abbeyfeale or Listowel or maybe both as secondary main line stations. Richard Chowan did much the same with his Castlerackrent, Moygraney and Western an O Scale WLWR broad gauge modular layout with models of several North Kerry & Burma Road stations.


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Fascinating stuff, John. Looks like it will not make my wish list either, as appears to need at least 4' of depth in 7mm scale.

As for Castlerackrent, that is probably what first got me interested in the Irish scene. That article in Model Railways was inspirational, not least in showing what could be achieved in a small space.

Love the concept of the basement empire too. The idea of driving a train along a whole line is very appealing and those guys seem to create these layouts in a very short space of time too.when I win the lottery, that will be high on my list. Unlikely though, as I never buy a ticket...

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