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Layout Planning North Kerry Fenit the end of the line?



After an almost classic tailchaser with Patrickswell I looked at Fenit as a sleepy branch line terminus. I initially looked at including Spa with its beet siding and treating the Harbour Commissioners line as part of the hidden staging, but eventually decided to omit Spa and include a representation of the pier and its railway.




The layout is a lot more challenging in terms of trackwork and operation compared to Patrickswell, with little in the way of structures, the footbridge and lifeboat station weer the most prominent structures on the mainland & a rather plain looking warehouse on the quay. The backscene would be a challenge a panorama including the Dingle Peninsula and Tralee Bay.


The layout is essentially a scenic shunting plank, with operation mainly around shunting wagons between the station yard and the Pier. Traditionally small tank locos were used for shunting the pier, the Harbour Commissioners bought Hunslet industrial saddle tank which was passed on to the GSWR as 299, an ex MGWR J26 from the Waterford & Tramore was the last steam loco used until replaced by G & D Class diesels. The small rail mounted steam cranes used into the 70s were probably the most distinctive part of the operation and a challenge to model.


Locos and stock used seems to have been mainly restricted to standard small GSWR types in steam days, there is a photo of a J15 with a train of 6 wheel coaches in a photo before passenger services were withdrawn in 1934. CIE provided seaside trains on Summer Sundays running the Sunday Tralee service through to Fenit.


Traffic from the harbour mainly appears to have been spasmodic coal and timber for Tralee and presumably other destinations in Kerry. The harbour struggled financially, the Pier was closed to commercial traffic during much of the 1949s & 50s due to structural problems with the causeway which connects the pier with the main land.


The final traffic on the Fenit branch and Western end of the North Kerry was sugar beet from Fenit, Spa, Ardfert and Abbeydorney to the Tuam factory during the 1977 campaign.


For a modeller starting in 21mm gauge the Murphy Models B141 and DC Kits G Class with a 28:1 Blackbeetle Motor bogie would be a good option to get things running before venturing into kit or scratchbuilding.


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My sort of layout, but too big for 7mm. Shame! Am plotting diorama type layouts as new projects post Arigna. Something Clogher Valley like perhaps...

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Any idea what the Courtmacsherry terminus looked like? With so many Tyrconnel models available, this could perhaps make a very nice 7mm scale layout.

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Definitely worth a field trip to West Cork apart from lifting the track very little seems to have changed since the track was lifted in the 1960s. http://eiretrains.com/Photo_Gallery/Railway%20Stations%20C/Courtmacsherry/IrishRailwayStations.html. There are some very atmospheric photos of the line in Ernie Shepherds CBSCR book. The branch is probably the nearest thing in Ireland to lines like the KSER, Mid Suffolk & Tanat Valley corrugated iron buildings very light construction.


Courtmacsharry would make an attractive model with the main street as a backdrop, single slighty curved platform road, run round, two sidings one to pier, loco shed, small goods shed. Timoleague station curving layout squeezed in between the Abbey and town, seems to have been the operating hub of the line, cattle bank, carriage, loco shed/workshop on down side, single platform goods yard on up town side of line. The station site is now a car park.


Colour photos of T&C in both editions Irish Railways in Colour Steam to Diesel Tom Ferris (Midland Publishing) incl. brand new C Class at Timoleague on excursion, J26 on beet working late 50s including a great shot of Timoleague yard full of wagons and trucks transferring beet.

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