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Arguments about abandoned trains, sociopolitical influences on railway building, and probably something else eventually.

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LNERW1

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Im on another one of my autism-induced posting sprees, this time about an anecdote from a school friend. Waiting for my bus, I was chatting to the lad when the subject of trains came up, with a little encouragement from myself. He told me his uncle (or grandfather, I can’t quite remember, but I think it was his uncle), had a farm in Carlow that backed on to the route of a closed railway line. (He didn’t mention where this farm was, so I can only guess what line it was). I commented that his grandfather/uncle must have found some interesting little bits and pieces from the railway line, left behind when it closed. He then replied his relative found a steam engine. He had already mentioned traction engines earlier on the conversation, so I thought he may have been referring to that, but he quickly clarified it was a steam train, and that the relative had dragged it up to his shed and polished it daily. This does not seem a particularly credible story, so if anyone could help me with some detective work that’d be great.

Thanks, LNERW1.

Edited by LNERW1
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There were quite a few traction engines around that area, due to the Castlecomer coalfield.


I can remember seeing a few sitting in Stradbally, idling at the side of the road, having drawn grain trailers into town in the 70s.

I do have a set of the 1912 1" maps, with the coalfield lines on - I did start building a 'Goggle Maps'-based thing with them overlaid on it - I might even finish it now...

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Just now, Broithe said:

There were quite a few traction engines around that area, due to the Castlecomer coalfield.

That does make sense, but he made it pretty clear it was a railway engine. He could have been wrong though, but given the fact he said his family owns a traction engine, I’m pretty sure he’d know. The point about the coalfield meaning more traction engines would be present makes a lot of sense, I never thought about it that way.

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On 12/2/2024 at 11:47 AM, LNERW1 said:

Im on another one of my autism-induced posting sprees, this time about an anecdote from a school friend. Waiting for my bus, I was chatting to the lad when the subject of trains came up, with a little encouragement from myself. He told me his uncle (or grandfather, I can’t quite remember, but I think it was his uncle), had a farm in Carlow that backed on to the route of a closed railway line. (He didn’t mention where this farm was, so I can only guess what line it was). I commented that his grandfather/uncle must have found some interesting little bits and pieces from the railway line, left behind when it closed. He then replied his relative found a steam engine. He had already mentioned traction engines earlier on the conversation, so I thought he may have been referring to that, but he quickly clarified it was a steam train, and that the relative had dragged it up to his shed and polished it daily. This does not seem a particularly credible story, so if anyone could help me with some detective work that’d be great.

Thanks, LNERW1.

You’re quite right - whatever it was, it very certainly wasn’t a railway vehicle of ANY sort; he’d have needed a low loader for it anyway! 

The only “old bits” you’d get on a lifted railway line might be a few old track bolts. The story appears to be nonsense!

Old locomotives were quite simply never left abandoned out along railway lines. Usually they were put to work elsewhere, but otherwise scrapped. The scrap value was too much to just leave.

Even in traction engine terms it still sounds like a tall story! These things are too big, heavy and cumbersome to just take home and polish! 

Edited by jhb171achill
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1 hour ago, jhb171achill said:

You’re quite right - whatever it was, it very certainly wasn’t a railway vehicle of ANY sort; he’d have needed a low loader for it anyway! 

The only “old bits” you’d get on a lifted railway line might be a few old track bolts. The story appears to be nonsense!

Old locomotives were quite simply never left abandoned out along railway lines. Usually they were put to work elsewhere, but otherwise scrapped. The scrap value was too much to just leave.

Even in traction engine terms it still sounds like a tall story! These things are too big, heavy and cumbersome to just take home and polish! 

I fully agree, but the story was told with conviction, and the lad is a very straight and clear talker- he says things as they are, and I wouldn’t say he’s one to exaggerate or lie. Even with such an unlikely story, it may have some truth to it- the part about the farm backing onto the line is probably true, it’s the rest that’s a bit fanciful!

1 hour ago, jhb171achill said:

…The only “old bits” you’d get on a lifted railway line might be a few old track bolts…

Speaking of, I once found a fishplate along the Abbeyleix Bog Walk. It’s in the garden somewhere.

1 hour ago, jhb171achill said:

Old locomotives were quite simply never left abandoned out along railway lines. Usually they were put to work elsewhere, but otherwise scrapped. The scrap value was too much to just leave.

And finally, that’s a point I’ll dispute- walk along the old bog railway south of Portlaoise. There’s three Hunslet Wagonmasters there, and I know because I saw them!

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4 hours ago, LNERW1 said:

I fully agree, but the story was told with conviction, and the lad is a very straight and clear talker- he says things as they are, and I wouldn’t say he’s one to exaggerate or lie. Even with such an unlikely story, it may have some truth to it- the part about the farm backing onto the line is probably true, it’s the rest that’s a bit fanciful!

Speaking of, I once found a fishplate along the Abbeyleix Bog Walk. It’s in the garden somewhere.

And finally, that’s a point I’ll dispute- walk along the old bog railway south of Portlaoise. There’s three Hunslet Wagonmasters there, and I know because I saw them!

Yes, the farm backing on the line is very probably true, but the rest is nonsense! If he's a "straight talker", it's probable he's simply repeating something that he believed from whoever told him..... but it's the "whoever" that was making stuff up!

Bog railways - different thing entirely - I was referring to public railways.

2 hours ago, minister_for_hardship said:

We had a neighbour, long since gone to his reward, but prone to yarning told one about when CIE were getting rid of old steam locomotives they sold them to big farmers up the country who put them to use in the task of drawing out farmyard manure...

I was exploring the route of the T & D in the 1970s, at which time most of the route was still to be seen, and closed only 20 years earlier, so not overgrown at all. This oul lad informed me that there had been "trains up and down all day long" (whereas the timetable suggested two a day!) and that this included an "express train"......  I suppose such things are relative; the T & D did, in fact, travel somewhat faster than a local man would on foot.......

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I suspect I know where this rumour came from.

Due to a work connection I became friendly with someone who worked in engineering for a company in that area. His family home was built on the trackbed of the old Tullow branch.

When he heard I was interested in trains he brought me home to show me the "Loco" that he had built in his garden.

It's very hard to describe but it was basically a full size "locomotive" built out of scrap parts that he was given by his company. He had the whole thing set up as an outdoor kitchen and barbeque.

It wasn't based on any prototype and owed a lot to his imagination but it looked great and was a real showpiece and talking point.

image.png.21b63112fea49380715d5e3725429803.png

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14 hours ago, jhb171achill said:

Bog railways - different thing entirely - I was referring to public railways.

I appreciate that, but I want so much to believe this story that I’m using it as an example anyway 😀

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Without wanting to divert the thread, a few other howlers I've heard over the years, quite often about more than one line - often, with apparent reference to them all:

(a)  "Sure the railways were all built by the British to control us"        Fact check: Class 1 nonsense in all cases, though the British Govt. DID build the Wolfhill and Deerpark lines in 1918 for the coal.

(b)  "They should never have closed it. It would make a fortune today, what with all the tourists an' all".  Fact check: Class 1 nonsense in all cases.

(c)  "When they closed it, sure they sold off all the scrap to make bombs to drop on the Germans".  Fact check: Class 2 nonsense; ONE line, the Clogher Valley, closed in 1942, did have its track recovered for the war effort.

(d)  "Ah sure, it was only closed due to political jiggery-pokery".  Fact check: In the case of the 1957 GNR / SLNCR closures and the "Derry Road", 100% true. For the closure of West Cork, arguably partly to largely true, likewise the BCDR and Ballycastle narrow gauge. In other cases, 90% - 100% nonsense!

(e)  One I heard implied lately, in this era of uneducated conspiracy theories which suggest that all freely, democratically elected governments are in some sense all inherently evil: "All them closures - sure someone was makin' money outta that, I tell ya. Brown envelopes, y'know". We're back to class 1 nonsense, again......and this time with bells and whistles.

By the way, I like that thing yer man has in his garden! Doesn't bear close scrutiny, but no law says it must! Looks great in his garden!

 

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17 hours ago, jhb171achill said:

Without wanting to divert the thread, a few other howlers I've heard over the years, quite often about more than one line - often, with apparent reference to them all:

(a)  "Sure the railways were all built by the British to control us"        Fact check: Class 1 nonsense in all cases, though the British Govt. DID build the Wolfhill and Deerpark lines in 1918 for the coal.

 

Hi Jonathan,  may I make an observation on this. The building of railways required government approval and unlike the rest of the UK of which Ireland was a part, it is quite noticeable that many railway stations are located outside (at distance from the centre) of the towns they serve. One theory is that the British government was responsible for this as they viewed the railways as a quick means of  deploying military resources in the event of unrest and deploying troops to the centre of a town controlled by insurgents would not be sensible.  

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11 minutes ago, Ironroad said:

Hi Jonathan,  may I make an observation on this. The building of railways required government approval and unlike the rest of the UK of which Ireland was a part, it is quite noticeable that many railway stations are located outside (at distance from the centre) of the towns they serve. One theory is that the British government was responsible for this as they viewed the railways as a quick means of  deploying military resources in the event of unrest and deploying troops to the centre of a town controlled by insurgents would not be sensible.  

That’s a good point, some food for thought there. I actually think I can give a good example- Abbeyleix station, serving a newer, posher estate town, was as close as possible to the town- the line actually ran directly behind the St Michael and All Angels church and the rectory. However, the next obvious station on the Mountrath-Kilkenny line (it did actually begin in Mountrath, not Portlaoise), would be Durrow, but to my knowledge it had a higher percentage of Roman Catholics, who would have been perceived as being more likely to cause insurgency, and so Durrow did not have a station, the line instead running through Attanagh, a mile or so east. That’s just one example that came to mind because, as I write this, I am sitting about 200m away from Abbeyleix station, but I’m sure there are other examples. Obviously, the railway bypassing Durrow may have been simply a matter of convenience- reaching Durrow would have made the line longer and therefore more difficult to build- but it’s possible the company may have pushed a little harder to reach Durrow otherwise. 
Note: @Broithe and @Metrovik  may be able to clarify if I’m wrong about the distance between Durrow and Attanagh.

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39 minutes ago, LNERW1 said:

That’s a good point, some food for thought there. I actually think I can give a good example- Abbeyleix station, serving a newer, posher estate town, was as close as possible to the town- the line actually ran directly behind the St Michael and All Angels church and the rectory. However, the next obvious station on the Mountrath-Kilkenny line (it did actually begin in Mountrath, not Portlaoise), would be Durrow, but to my knowledge it had a higher percentage of Roman Catholics, who would have been perceived as being more likely to cause insurgency, and so Durrow did not have a station, the line instead running through Attanagh, a mile or so east. That’s just one example that came to mind because, as I write this, I am sitting about 200m away from Abbeyleix station, but I’m sure there are other examples. Obviously, the railway bypassing Durrow may have been simply a matter of convenience- reaching Durrow would have made the line longer and therefore more difficult to build- but it’s possible the company may have pushed a little harder to reach Durrow otherwise. 
Note: @Broithe and @Metrovik  may be able to clarify if I’m wrong about the distance between Durrow and Attanagh.

Not sure about the distance between Durrow and Attanagh but Mountrath station is actually known as Kilbricken and is situated a few kilometres outside the town, as for the line to Kilkenny starting there rather than Portlaoise , I'll have to disagree with you as I've checked the old O.S. maps which show the track going from MaryBorough (Portlaoise) and when overlaid with modern satellite maps it's possible to trace the trackbed right to Abbeyleix. 

The reasoning about Abbeyleix being a posh town so that's why the station's there is interesting. It fits in with a similar story that I've heard being that the De Vesci estate gifted the land for the line to the railway company for free, in exchange for it building its station there.

Interesting about Durrow though, never heard that one before.

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23 minutes ago, Ironroad said:

Hi Jonathan,  may I make an observation on this. The building of railways required government approval and unlike the rest of the UK of which Ireland was a part, it is quite noticeable that many railway stations are located outside (at distance from the centre) of the towns they serve. One theory is that the British government was responsible for this as they viewed the railways as a quick means of  deploying military resources in the event of unrest and deploying troops to the centre of a town controlled by insurgents would not be sensible.  

Interesting point indeed - but perusal of records of plans to build railway lines, and records of who put the money up and why - show the same pattern as railway building elsewhere in the world; namely private enterprise. In the 1830s, interestingly, there was a British government commission set up to consider the building - presumably or possibly government-funded - of a network across Ireland. One detail of this which sticks in my mind is a main line north which instead of sticking to a largely coastal route as far as Newry anyway, would have gone inland via Navan, probably Carrickmacross, and Armagh. However this scheme was never acted upon. It is possible that any publicity given to the fact that such thoughts were even being considered, might have given rise to rumours of this nature. But, with nothing on the ground having come of these early plans, what railways WERE built were subject to entirely separate, but unremarkable circumstances. Quite simply, people with the funds to build railways built them, in the hope of making a nice profit. For a while they did, until someone invented the car.

Once the main network was largely finished in the 1870s, a secondary round of railway building took place over the 1883-1913 period. These were also promoted by local people, but had hitherto been avoided by commercial companies as they perceived no sound financial case for them. Dividends to investors were guaranteed by the baronies. Few if any of these lines ever turned a penny profit, and many were closed in the 1930s onwards.

None of these lines - not a single one - was planned by the British government itself at all, either for military purposes or any other purpose. The fact that following the Light Railways and Tramways Acts they were prepared to part-subsidise their construction was an entirely seperate issue, as was the fact that once built, they could transport their military horses etc. by them.

The distance of stations from towns was the result of several causes, where it applied. One was topography; in cases where diversion actually through, or to, a town would cost a lot more; remember, railways were built commercially. Then as now, anyone wanting anything built anywhere, wanted it done as cheaply as possibly - though obviously within reason. Another reason could sometimes be pressure from a landowner. If railways were only being invented now, Dublin's termini would be out near the airport, as the commercial promoters would never countenance the colossal expense of building them right into a built up city - even if they could persuade the local authority to serve CPOs on everyone in its path. Many of the landlord classes didn't want a railway through their land, and many owned land adjacent to towns.

Political perceptions of the views of townspeople were quite simply never taken into account anywhere. Had they been so, few lines would have been built at all, because right across the island bar four counties, rural areas were predominantly Catholic, and nationalist.

LNERW1, you're right about Durrow / Attanagh; this line was originally the Waterford and Central Ireland Railway, whose aim was to go north from Kilkenny, up to Port Laoise and beyond to Mountmellick onwards to "Central Ireland". In fact, if never got anywhere further than Mountmellick and eventually became part of the GSWR. When it was beinf built through your neck o'the'woods, it was intended that it would some day be a main line of some sort, thus a diversion such as you mention would not have been considered worthwhile financially. That's the reason there.

Mountrath is further down the Cork main line, so would have been nothing to do with it - it was simply a station on the Cork main line. It was opened some 20 years before the Port Laoise - Kilkenny line ever existed.

Railway history here may thus be summed up as firstly, an early wave of strictly commercially-led building, with busines interests driving it. Most of these were in Ireland, some were based in Britain - but commercial, not at all military of governmentally-related. Any theories to that effect are simply historically untrue. Secondlky, a later wave of branch line and rural railway building, some of it narrow gauge (e.g. in Donegal), where lines were still promoted by local Irish interests, but once THEY had promoted them, grant funds from British governments could be made available. But the idea was local, the rationale was local, and the perception of benefit to communities was locally led.

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2 minutes ago, Metrovik said:

 

Not sure about the distance between Durrow and Attanagh but Mountrath station is actually known as Kilbricken and is situated a few kilometres outside the town, as for the line to Kilkenny starting there rather than Portlaoise , I'll have to disagree with you as I've checked the old O.S. maps which show the track going from MaryBorough (Portlaoise) and when overlaid with modern satellite maps it's possible to trace the trackbed right to Abbeyleix. 

The reasoning about Abbeyleix being a posh town so that's why the station's there is interesting. It fits in with a similar story that I've heard being that the De Vesci estate gifted the land for the line to the railway company for free, in exchange for it building its station there.

Interesting about Durrow though, never heard that one before.

I know the line went via Portlaoise, but it was officially, initially at least, the line from Mountrath, but I don’t know whether through trains were run at any point. The thing about Durrow is just an assumption, given the fact that I’m like 95% sure it had a higher RC population in the 1860s/70s (my dumbass forgot when the line was built). I’ll check a couple of statistics and I’ll make another post here.

Yet more evidence of me being an idiot, misremembering place names and not doing my research- the line began in Mountmellick. 🤦‍♂️
636814ED-8CED-493F-B32D-2884C29D78F6.thumb.png.9ed53d241a00b5b34b33907dbd426706.png

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Just now, LNERW1 said:

I know the line went via Portlaoise, but it was officially, initially at least, the line from Mountrath, but I don’t know whether through trains were run at any point. The thing about Durrow is just an assumption, given the fact that I’m like 95% sure it had a higher RC population in the 1860s/70s (my dumbass forgot when the line was built). I’ll check a couple of statistics and I’ll make another post here.

Just a gentle correction on that point - Mountrath was nothing to do with the W & CIR.....  Religious make-up of local population was also entirely irrelevant, both here and elsewhere. Pretty much everywhere in southern and western Ireland had a 95% RC population anyway; but it isn't relevant. It isn't physically possible to run through trains between Mountrath and Kilkenny anyway, never was, and was never planned to be; you'd have to reverse at Port Laoise. The line from Kilkenny to Port laoise was opened in the mid-1860s. Mountrath station, on the Dublin - Cork line, was opened in the 1840s.

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Was it ever possible to run a train from Mountrath & Castletown/Kilbricken to Abbeyleix without reversing in Maryborough/Port Laoise?

My mother's family had connections in Waterford and would travel from Rathdowney to Attanagh via a pony and trap, to catch the train southwards.

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1 minute ago, jhb171achill said:

Just a gentle correction on that point - Mountrath was nothing to do with the W & CIR.....  Religious make-up of local population was also entirely irrelevant, both here and elsewhere. Pretty much everywhere in southern and western Ireland had a 95% RC population anyway; but it isn't relevant. It isn't physically possible to run through trains between Mountrath and Kilkenny anyway, never was, and was never planned to be; you'd have to reverse at Port Laoise. The line from Kilkenny to Port laoise was opened in the mid-1860s. Mountrath station, on the Dublin - Cork line, was opened in the 1840s.

Yeah, I don’t believe Catholics are more likely than Protestants to be nationalists, but something tells me discriminatory big business in the 1860s wouldn’t have agreed with me.

2 minutes ago, Broithe said:

Was it ever possible to run a train from Mountrath & Castletown/Kilbricken to Abbeyleix without reversing in Maryborough/Port Laoise?

My mother's family had connections in Waterford and would travel from Rathdowney to Attanagh via a pony and trap, to catch the train southwards.

I meant Mountmellick, but I have the memory of an amnesiac goldfish and I’m awful at Laois geography, being a still-relatively-recent (2017) blow-in from the land of sourdough and SUVs. (Guess where that is😉).

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4 minutes ago, LNERW1 said:

-from the land of sourdough and SUVs. (Guess where that is😉).

I’ll give ye a clue, my nearest station was Lansdowne Road. I’m not proud of being from that area though, as most people who are seen to be arseholes.

Just now, Broithe said:

I wonder if the owner is a railway enthusiast?

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6 minutes ago, LNERW1 said:

I meant Mountmellick, but I have the memory of an amnesiac goldfish and I’m awful at Laois geography, being a still-relatively-recent (2017) blow-in from the land of sourdough and SUVs. (Guess where that is😉).

Within the last year, I have had two fairly local people tell me that you could get a train from Mountrath to Kilkenny - probably the same similarity misremembrance.

 

2 minutes ago, LNERW1 said:

I wonder if the owner is a railway enthusiast?

I have no idea, but I may investigate one day...

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1 hour ago, LNERW1 said:

I’ll give ye a clue, my nearest station was Lansdowne Road. I’m not proud of being from that area though, as most people who are seen to be arseholes.

 

🙂  🙂  

Tis my own childhood stamping ground, too! Early memories of a black "C" class going through...... probably on the way to Dun Laoghaire Pier... and the smell of cresoted timber sleepers on a hot summer's day, the ringing of bells in the signal cabin, and my dad chatting to the signalman........

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For the sake of completeness, this is Mountrath & Castletown/Kilbricken -

https://www.google.com/maps/@52.9634348,-7.4660293,102m/data=!3m1!1e3?entry=ttu

- not so easy to see from the Street View, but still fairly complete.

Catching a glimpse of it fleetingly as you go past can have you thinking you've passed Ballybrophy.

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I love the way this thread is going from rumors of an abandoned steam loco in County Carlow, to CIE selling steam locos to farmers to haul out bullshit (bovine excrement), to politics and religion to the land of sourdough and SUVs.

I eat sourdough from the local supermarket and drive a SUV but live far from D4.

Keep the thread going and possibly move it to the Letting off Steam era, 

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I agree that the direction this thread has taken probably warrants a new thread, the moderators may want to consider this at least from the point JHB raised the subject of Howlers.

Anyway in response to Jonathan's points about railways in the 19th century being entirely capitalistic and funded by private investors I think a little review of this is in order.

Undertakings, as enormous and as radical as the building of railways could not and cannot be taken out of context with political considerations and economic factors at play.  It is true the railways were born in the era of Laissez Faire economics but it wasn't long before the merits of this  philosophy as regards railways came into question. Concern with monopolistic practices gave rise to regulations introduced in the 1844 Railway Act. The Irish Railways Commission (IRC) 1836-39 came up with some very radical recommendations for that time which were not adopted, but may have had some effect on later thinking.  In any event financial markets can be fickle and no less so  in the 1830's & 1840's and this caused great uncertainty and long postponement and abandonment of many schemes.  So much so that between 1831 & 1852 the government provided approx £12.5 million (nearly 2 billion in today's money) in support of railway projects in Ireland.  There were three agencies involved in this financial aid, The Treasury, The Board of Works and The Public Works Loan Commissioners.

Examples:

Thirty percent of the capital required by the Dublin to Kingstown Railway was provided by means of a government loan.

In 1842, despite his opposition to the proposals of the IRC proposals, the PM Robert Peel provided aid of £150,000 to the Dublin & Drogheda Railway.  To quote the Chairman of the D&D, Hamilton when addressing the board:-

"by the prompt proceedings and language of Sir Robert Peel on this occasion, the long disputed question of railways in Ireland is at length settled and on the best principle-government assistance may henceforth be expected in aid of private enterprise for the prosecution of honest and bona fide undertakings-a new era is thus opened"

In 1843 in pursuance of his so called "Justice for Ireland " policy, Peel refused financial aid for the proposed Dublin - Kilkenny line in preference to and in line with the IRC proposals, a more westerly route to Cashel in the hope of providing employment in "troubled" Co Tipperary. 

In 1844 government funds accounted for 25% of the capital invested in Irish railways.

In 1849 a government loan was also effectively forced on the MGWR.  Originally the MGWR rejected the offer of a loan ( @5%) to help finance an extension from Athlone to Galway but recanted when the government threatened to instead lend the money to the GSWR to build from Portarlington to Galway.

So I'm under no illusion that there was significant political interference and influence exercised in the construction of railways in Ireland. The location of stations at distance from the centre of many towns may have been due to economic constraints but it also  conveniently fits with a government concern of the time

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42 minutes ago, Ironroad said:

I agree that the direction this thread has taken probably warrants a new thread, the moderators may want to consider this at least from the point JHB raised the subject of Howlers.

Anyway in response to Jonathan's points about railways in the 19th century being entirely capitalistic and funded by private investors I think a little review of this is in order.

Undertakings, as enormous and as radical as the building of railways could not and cannot be taken out of context with political considerations and economic factors at play.  It is true the railways were born in the era of Laissez Faire economics but it wasn't long before the merits of this  philosophy as regards railways came into question. Concern with monopolistic practices gave rise to regulations introduced in the 1844 Railway Act. The Irish Railways Commission (IRC) 1836-39 came up with some very radical recommendations for that time which were not adopted, but may have had some effect on later thinking.  In any event financial markets can be fickle and no less so  in the 1830's & 1840's and this caused great uncertainty and long postponement and abandonment of many schemes.  So much so that between 1831 & 1852 the government provided approx £12.5 million (nearly 2 billion in today's money) in support of railway projects in Ireland.  There were three agencies involved in this financial aid, The Treasury, The Board of Works and The Public Works Loan Commissioners.

Examples:

Thirty percent of the capital required by the Dublin to Kingstown Railway was provided by means of a government loan.

In 1842, despite his opposition to the proposals of the IRC proposals, the PM Robert Peel provided aid of £150,000 to the Dublin & Drogheda Railway.  To quote the Chairman of the D&D, Hamilton when addressing the board:-

"by the prompt proceedings and language of Sir Robert Peel on this occasion, the long disputed question of railways in Ireland is at length settled and on the best principle-government assistance may henceforth be expected in aid of private enterprise for the prosecution of honest and bona fide undertakings-a new era is thus opened"

In 1843 in pursuance of his so called "Justice for Ireland " policy, Peel refused financial aid for the proposed Dublin - Kilkenny line in preference to and in line with the IRC proposals, a more westerly route to Cashel in the hope of providing employment in "troubled" Co Tipperary. 

In 1844 government funds accounted for 25% of the capital invested in Irish railways.

In 1849 a government loan was also effectively forced on the MGWR.  Originally the MGWR rejected the offer of a loan ( @5%) to help finance an extension from Athlone to Galway but recanted when the government threatened to instead lend the money to the GSWR to build from Portarlington to Galway.

So I'm under no illusion that there was significant political interference and influence exercised in the construction of railways in Ireland. The location of stations at distance from the centre of many towns may have been due to economic constraints but it also  conveniently fits with a government concern of the time

Different thread, yes; the above points are valid, but light years from the oft-quoted idea that "the brits built all the railways to control us" type of thing. That aspect of it is pure nonsense. Government aid, as you mention above, is a different issue.

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14 hours ago, jhb171achill said:

Different thread, yes; the above points are valid, but light years from the oft-quoted idea that "the brits built all the railways to control us" type of thing. That aspect of it is pure nonsense. Government aid, as you mention above, is a different issue.

Hi Jonathan, while the railways were primarily built with private capital, there can be little doubt that given the political environment, the government had a strategic interest ( beyond an economic one) in a network that connected all the major centres. So when the provision of private funding faltered they stepped in with aid (and even coercion) to ensure that network was completed. This was totally at odds with the economic philosophy (laissez faire) of the time which contributed to the famine being a much greater disaster than it might have been.  Peel opposed the concepts proposed by the Irish Railway Commission which included government involvement in the chosen  routes and in funding but then remarkably within a few years did a u-turn, and provided aid to the D&D and was pro-active in the choice of route to the south. Was he perhaps alarmed by O'Connell's monster meetings and the rise of the Young Ireland movement? (he had good reason to be). Is the siting of the terminus of the GSWR at Kingsbridge (Heuston) beside the former Royal Barracks (Collins) and adjacent to Richmond Barracks (distant from the city centre) a co-incidence?  And is the route chosen by Peel whereby the railway line served the Barracks in Templemore another co- incidence?  I'll leave this subject with the opening section of the report by John Mcneill to the Provisional Committee Of the GSWR on the proposed line from Dublin to Cashel, which I think speaks volumes.

Gentlemen,  in compliance with your directions I have now the honour to lay before you the result of my Survey of a Line of Railway from Dublin to Cashel, founded on the principle suggested by your deputation, after their interview with Sir Robert Peel in relation to this subject.

One can only speculate what was discussed in that smoke filled room, but there can be no denying UNDUE INFLUENCE 

            

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Government involvement in public transport arteries goes back to the canals of Babylon and Roman roads. And continues through things like General Wade’s roads in Scotland right up to HS2. It’s just a fact of life. Ireland was a significant military establishment for the Crown, vital to defending the western approaches and a convenient place to garrison and exercise troops. So railways were built to facilitate that, just as they were to Aldershot, Portsmouth and Salisbury Plain. 

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6 hours ago, LNERW1 said:

Will I make a new thread then?

As you started this thread, you are able to edit the title, if you want to.

Something like "A possibly fictional steam engine and its place in the socio-economic history of railways in Ireland"...?

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