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Off The Beaten Track

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Blu Bianco
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As a possible thread conversation starter, does anyone remember this show on RTE? I think BBC showed it aswell.

 

Seems an age since it was last aired. I can't find any trace of it on Youtube.

 

There was a spin-off book by Kevin Cronin about walking some old lines, long since closed and/or gone. Since it was published back in 1996, I'd say a fair amount has changed. He said there was fair to middling undergrowth on some routes, I can only imagine what it would be like now!

 

Its sad to think that Olivia O'Leary's televised episode on the (then active) Rosslare to Waterford route could be now featured in an updated version of this book!

 

The section on the Shillelagh branch is very interesting given it has been since developed into a proper walk between Tinahely and Shillelagh. Back then Mr. Cronin and others were knee deep in thickets and shrubs!

 

I wonder how much else has changed of the routes mentioned:

 

Aughrim to Tinahely (South Wicklow)

Borris to Glynn (South Carlow)

Waterford City to Dungarvan (Waterford)

Killeagh to Youghal (East Cork)

Cork City to Passage West (Cork City)

Blarney to Donoughmore (Muskerry)

Waterfall to Bandon (West Cork)

Loo Bridge to Morley's Bridge (South Kerry)

Glenbeigh to Valentia Harbour (Iveragh Peninsula)

Lower Camp to Glenagalt Summit (Dingle Peninsula)

Rathkeale to Templeglantine (West Limerick)

Ennistymon to Miltown Malbay (West Clare)

Kilkee to Kilrush (West Clare)

Oughterard to Clifden (Connemara)

Westport to Achill Sound (West Mayo)

Florencecourt to Cornacloy (Leitrim/Fermanagh)

Lough Mourne to Barnesmore (South Donegal)

Cloughan to Glenties (South Donegal)

Barnes Gap to Burtonport (North Donegal)

Tynan to Maguiresbridge (Clogher Valley)

Martinstown to Retreat (North Antrim)

Ballycastle to Capecastle (North Antrim)

Newcastle to Drumadonnell (South Down)

Fathom Forest to Greenore (Cooley Peninsula)

 

Has anyone walked these in the last year or two? Anything to report on walkability, passability, the last remaining vestages of the railway or has anymore disappeared (old goods stores, stations, etc)?

 

I'm not ofay, walking wise, with much of these routes yet, hopefully in the future! I know the station and goods store at Tinahely is now a well renovated private residence. As for the West Limerick route, all I remember was more the city part, when the Foynes Line would have been open and even after that closed, the Castlemungret branch would have remained for a time.

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I posted up photos of the Waterford-Ballinacourty revisited

back in the summer after having a look at the former line

near Durrow tunnel and ballyvoyle viaduct which I found

Nearly impossible in parts to get through with the

overgrown nature of the line and pure bog in parts.

The New Ross line is almost impassible as well with the

weed killer train going on fire near Glenmore in1995 which

Caused 121 herself to never return to traffic.I have a

tape recording of some including the Waterford and Borris

lines.

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I posted up photos of the Waterford-Ballinacourty revisited

back in the summer after having a look at the former line

near Durrow tunnel and ballyvoyle viaduct which I found

Nearly impossible in parts to get through with the

overgrown nature of the line and pure bog in parts.

The New Ross line is almost impassible as well with the

weed killer train going on fire near Glenmore in1995 which

Caused 121 herself to never return to traffic.I have a

tape recording of some including the Waterford and Borris

lines.

 

Thanks for the tips Enniscorthyman. I will look that Ballinacourty thread up now (am just new to the forum!) Never knew about that event regarding the 121 before, it must have been really bad there then. I have some memories of the New Ross line from late 80's to early 90's, before its 'closure', even seeing locomotives passing the crossings on the Main Waterford Road, which are covered over now.

 

I was also down in Waterford last summer and went through New Ross. I passed the old Albatross factory alongside the line as it continues on next to the main road, which you must know well. The tracks are there, albeit as you say, in a decrepit state.

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Thanks for the tips Enniscorthyman. I will look that Ballinacourty thread up now (am just new to the forum!) Never knew about that event regarding the 121 before, it must have been really bad there then. I have some memories of the New Ross line from late 80's to early 90's, before its 'closure', even seeing locomotives passing the crossings on the Main Waterford Road, which are covered over now.

 

I was also down in Waterford last summer and went through New Ross. I passed the old Albatross factory alongside the line as it continues on next to the main road, which you must know well. The tracks are there, albeit as you say, in a decrepit state.

Well welcome to the site.

Yes poor 121 was damaged with its traction motor cables and

body damage.She was coupled to a 141 and another 141 had to

come from Waterford light engine and push the whole train back

to New Ross after the fire was put out.The train stabled overnight

and returned to Waterford the next day.The line was closed shortly

and I think only a inspection car only ran after that.

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You're right in saying a lot has changed since Kevin Cronin walked those routes back in the mid 1990s, the last ten years in particular has led to a lot of new construction on the former trackbeds.

But there has been some positive developments, for example, much of the North Kerry route has since been developed as the GST, and Newcastle West station has been stored and is nowadays immersed in a new housing estate, unlike its derelict state in 1996.

 

Newport to Achill has since been restored as The Great Western Greenway. The section of the Aughrim line has also been restored as you mentioned, and the W&SVR nowadays runs trains on the trackbed between Kilmeadan and Waterford on the Dungarvan line.

 

However, Upton to Waterfall on the CBSCR is no longer walkable due to recent private housing built on the route.

Elsewhere, stations I've discovered have been developed and expanded it fully private residences and nowadays I would see it not possible to simply walk through them. Some routes are also virtually impassable due to the overgrown nature of some trackbeds, for instance it is not so easy to walk the Killeagh section of the Youghal since some track was lifted in the mid 1990s.

Edited by Eiretrains
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Cork City to Passage West (Cork City)

Pretty much unchanged, some info display boards around Monkstown/Passage now and exercise machines around Rochestown. Nothing at all to indicate the start of the trail at the Cork end.

Carrigaline - Crosshaven has been developed as a proper trail since (I think)

 

Waterfall to Bandon (West Cork)

One end of Gogginshill tunnel blocked off with site type fencing, presumably by landowner.

 

Loo Bridge to Morley's Bridge (South Kerry)

Loo Bridge now restored as private house after years of dereliction after previous life as a hostel.

 

Glenbeigh to Valentia Harbour (Iveragh Peninsula)

Girder bridge at Cahirciveen now fenced off at the town side at least, it was dicey to walk across anyway.

 

Lower Camp to Glenagalt Summit (Dingle Peninsula)

Kerry Co Council to develop a bike/walk trail along Dingle road, not on the T&DLR formation though.

 

Tralee to Fenit now being cleared by Kerry Co. Co. as a new trail.

Edited by minister_for_hardship
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  • 3 years later...
  • 4 months later...
http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/green-light-for-kerry-cycle-route-312939.html

 

Looks likely the Valentia branch or at least a portion of it will get to be a greenway with CPOs.

 

If only there was this attitude to railway preservation in the ROI as there is with the current greenway 'mania'.

 

 

If the same had been done back in the day, how many lines that were taken up would now be able to be reinstated now, and not have had housing estates or shopping centres built on them? A greenway doesn't prevent the line from being reopened years down the line, when it would have to be relaid anyway, so no bad thing IMO

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If the same had been done back in the day, how many lines that were taken up would now be able to be reinstated now, and not have had housing estates or shopping centres built on them? A greenway doesn't prevent the line from being reopened years down the line, when it would have to be relaid anyway, so no bad thing IMO

 

Greenways were not even thought of back in Ireland of the 1960's... or 70's for that matter unless by accident rather than design, converting the alignments of old railways into roads for motor traffic was dabbled with.

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There is validity to both sides of the argument. Greenways on a former railway bed that will never be used again for rail transport make a lot of sense. However if the land was sold to farmers they could have valid concerns about security, trespass and liability, which may or may not be addressable. Many urban folk simply don't comprehend the potential issues which is understandable. A train passing through a farm poses little risk as the humans are contained, however folk walking and cycling may pose risks unless restricted to the greenway route.

 

In principle I am in favour of greenways for Ireland inc, as they can be a wonderful local and tourist amenity. Providing however that they are not being built on former lines that could be reopened in the future as viable extensions to the transport system (e.g. parts of the western rail corridor). Some closed railway lines are still owned by the state and others not.

 

The 'hiker' recently awarded €40k compensation in the high court has put the "cat amongst the pigeons" as regards liability arising out of public land access, and also famers who have facilitated access on some non right-of-way routes across private farm lands. All solvable with a good dose of common sense, but that is rarely applied when the "fear" card is unleashed.

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Off the beaten track is still on YouTube. I saw one by chance only a few nights ago. It may be easier to link to it from Google etc as I can't seem to copy a link from the YouTube app on my iPad. They're about 30 mins in length and I remember several on there including Waterford to Dungarvan, Cork to Blarney, Scarva to Newcastle and Stranorlor to Glenties, I think

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I have met one farmer who bounded the Great Southern Trail who was very happy with the outcome, and then, not a million miles away on the former Fenit branch there were all sorts of scare stories cooked up..the proposed greenway being cited as a convenient access and getaway route for footpads, cutpurses and general bad types, stealing everything from round bales to small children. Why not go whole hog and blockade the public roads, a far more widely used network for thieves?

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I have met one farmer who bounded the Great Southern Trail who was very happy with the outcome, and then, not a million miles away on the former Fenit branch there were all sorts of scare stories cooked up..the proposed greenway being cited as a convenient access and getaway route for footpads, cutpurses and general bad types, stealing everything from round bales to small children. Why not go whole hog and blockade the public roads, a far more widely used network for thieves?

 

I don't thing 'crime' was the issue that scared some farmers, it was 'public liability' exposure and gates left carelessly open by folk who stray off the paths.

 

This photo was taken very near the old Fenit track bed.

FarmGateBullNotice.jpg

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I don't thing 'crime' was the issue that scared some farmers, it was 'public liability' exposure and gates left carelessly open by folk who stray off the paths.

 

This photo was taken very near the old Fenit track bed.

 

The GST has sturdy galvanised spring loaded gates that shut after the walker has passed through and farm-type gates to link up fields separated by the trail.

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Off the beaten track is still on YouTube. I saw one by chance only a few nights ago. It may be easier to link to it from Google etc as I can't seem to copy a link from the YouTube app on my iPad. They're about 30 mins in length and I remember several on there including Waterford to Dungarvan, Cork to Blarney, Scarva to Newcastle and Stranorlor to Glenties, I think

 

Here's the channel on youtube with Off the Beaten Track:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxEglx8PUE-zDLcEEoRTxgA

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However if the land was sold to farmers they could have valid concerns about security, trespass and liability, which may or may not be addressable.

 

Greenway or not, it has always been stupid to sell off land formerly used by disused railways or canals. The area of land involved is (generally) very small, and the tiny bit of advantage to the public purse is massively outweighed by the destruction of the asset- a potential transport corridor. It's probably not as bad in most of Ireland as it is in England, but transport projects here, from urban fast transit tramways to HS2, cost many billions more than they would have done if disused routes had been left intact.

 

As for liability, well Ireland doesn't seem to have the tradition of rural footpaths that pervade most of England and Wales, and in Scotland there is a general presumption of freedom of access for those passing through (though the very rich always have means of bending the law in their own favour).

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Greenway or not, it has always been stupid to sell off land formerly used by disused railways or canals. The area of land involved is (generally) very small, and the tiny bit of advantage to the public purse is massively outweighed by the destruction of the asset- a potential transport corridor. It's probably not as bad in most of Ireland as it is in England, but transport projects here, from urban fast transit tramways to HS2, cost many billions more than they would have done if disused routes had been left intact.

 

As for liability, well Ireland doesn't seem to have the tradition of rural footpaths that pervade most of England and Wales, and in Scotland there is a general presumption of freedom of access for those passing through (though the very rich always have means of bending the law in their own favour).

 

If they weren't sold off, I would daresay in the land where cute hoorism runs rampant...landowners would get adverse possession anyway, so back to square one. That is, unless the route is patrolled to prevent that...even so the Burma Road/Foynes branch periodically has electric fences strung across and livestock grazing away happily in places.

Edited by minister_for_hardship
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If they weren't sold off, I would daresay in the land where cute hoorism runs rampant...landowners would get adverse possession anyway, so back to square one. That is, unless the route is patrolled to prevent that...even so the Burma Road/Foynes branch periodically has electric fences strung across and livestock grazing away happily in places.

 

 

Very true, Minister. CIE Property board are to be blamed for this, which is completely inexcusable. Mind you, I can't imagine there are too many countries where a court of law would even listen to a farmer who had appropriated land he didn't own, whether it was on a disused railway line or not. The laws of adverse possession, to such extent as they exist - should not apply to publicly owned land. ALL farmers who have "possessed" such lands should just have their fences, cattle, and anything else they put there, bulldozed away (no, no compensation).

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The Killeagh-Youghal walk is very overgrown now and Youghal station site itself not accessable anymore, palisade fencing surrounds it all after a malicious fire a number of years ago.

 

Gogginshill tunnel has been blocked off at both ends by person who owns new house on the Ballinhassig station site. It used be possible to obtain keys to access tunnel by asking nicely at this house, now that it has been rented out to a tenant this isn't possible anymore.

 

I *think* part of the Shillelagh branch is now a walkway, thought I saw signage to that effect last time I passed through there but didn't have time to confirm. EDIT: a quick consultation with the gods of Google confirms this. http://tinahely.ie/walking/railway-walk/

 

From a drive through the stations of the SL&NC last year, a lot of the route appears quite clear and walkable.

Edited by minister_for_hardship
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http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/green-light-for-kerry-cycle-route-312939.html

 

If only there was this attitude to railway preservation in the ROI as there is with the current greenway 'mania'.

 

Minister it would be a help for more volunteers to help on currently operating lines! I can count on two hands ACTIVE railway volunteers and they deserve great credit.....but agreed on your statement....

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Minister it would be a help for more volunteers to help on currently operating lines! I can count on two hands ACTIVE railway volunteers and they deserve great credit.....but agreed on your statement....

 

I don't believe preservation is part of our 'culture'. We're passionate about many things as a nation, but unfortunately railway preservation isn't one of them.

 

Lobbyists and public representatives are willing to move mountains for greenways; they're plastered all over Failte Ireland ads and are the 'in thing' now, they're pretty easy to construct and maintain compared to a working railway and appear to be a magic formula for attracting visitors to the area.

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they're pretty easy to construct and maintain compared to a working railway and appear to be a magic formula for attracting visitors to the area.

 

From my volunteering experience in Waterford recently, the new greenway there is making a huge impact with the gift shop at Kilmeaden (depsite not being open yet!). a consideration is being given to a bicycle wagon for prams and bicycles.

 

But then you come to railway preservation itself, I can name every active member in this country it is so small. I know Facebook groups may have hundreds of members if not thousands but volunteering on rails is a very minor percentage, I am one of those who are active in stradbally but i can recall days where we have had just enough staff to operate a service

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That has happened in Downpatrick as well. On one occasion I arrived to do the dining car, but there was no fireman and I ended up firing the engine for the afternoon!

 

Didn't do any harm, firing locos puts hairs on the chest, by!

Certainly as soon as I become an independent state from the parental empire I will join the RPSI...

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