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NorthWest Rail link.

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I'm totally for this crackpot idea, as it means someone like the RPSI will have to buy and fix up the roundhouse at Clones, and fill it with nice locos for us to oogle over. Then get all the stuff out of Cultra, and put it back into use...

 

On a more serious note, I'm reminded about another cross country notion from another century of joining Rooskey with Newry, of which Tom Ferris noted "Even the most fanatical of railway enthusiasts might have shuddered at the prospect of having to spend maybe eight hours in a rattling narrow gauge carriage to make an unlikely odyssey from Newry to Rooskey". The same could apply here. Is there a bankable connection from Sligo to Enniskillen that would justify the route? Same with the easterly route through Clones, Monaghan, Armagh, and onto Newry? (The Dundalk route seems really unlikely given the limited population centres on the line) This one makes the most sense as the majority of the trackbed is still untouched though Lisbellaw and a few others would have to be bypassed. Would there be enough local use of the line to justify it's existence?

 

Richie.

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On a more serious note, I'm reminded about another cross country notion from another century of joining Rooskey with Newry.[/color]

 

This madcap scheme grew even bigger and ultimately proposed a narrow gauge line from Greenore in Co Louth to Clifden in Co Galway - a distance of approximately 234 miles. This would, according to Fayle's 'Narrow Gauge Railways of Ireland', have made it the longest mainline in the country. Known as the Ulster & Connaught Light Railway, the line would have run via Newry, Bessbrook, Keady, Tynan, Maguiresbridge, Bawnboy Road, Dromod, Rooskey, Roscommon, Tuam, Shrule and Cong. Branches from Shrule would have run to Ballinrobe and Galway. Fayle estimated the end to end journey time being in the region of 10 hours!

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Unfortunately, this is another case of the heart ruling the head. Neither the northern or southern administrations have the money for these schemes. The fact that the trackbed of a former route exists undisturbed is zero reason to put it back. There would have to be a sound business case. Freight will simply not just appear, nor passengers in Luas-style numbers which would make the thing self supporting. The trend in western societies for the last fifty years, and likely to remain, is to lighten the load on public purses to reduce tax. The capital costs of these schemes would be cheaper per mile than motorways by a long way, but that's not the way the public and their elected reps will look at it.

 

Scemes have been suggested to reopen the Valentia line, on the basis that if you just buy an "old steam train" and run it, sure it'll make a fortune, so it will. Same for Buncrana, and the various manifestations of a Great Derry, Barnesmore & Sligo Railway.

 

Nice to think of, and who knows, a model railway based on Sligo to Derry via the SLNCR would make a truly fascinating project, but that's about it. Therefore, it's probably most appropriate to discuss such a new railway to Enniskillen on these model railway based boards, as opposed to public meetings or even the IRN!

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Assembly considered an Enniskillen rail link as part of its long term transport planning, but the costs substantially outweighed the benefits.

 

Any to the realms of dreaming

 

A layout based on Irish North operating patterns would be fascinating, an interesting mix of steam, diesel railcars and horse power :D. Passenger trains generally short with more vans and wagons than coaches.

 

Enniskillen was basically a double ended terminus with only the Bundoran Express and one or two Dundalk-Derry passenger trains working through and quite complicated workings between Enniskillen and Bundoran Junction.

 

Add in the SLNCR yard the mix becomes even more bizarre.

 

Passenger trains dropped off bread container vans at most stations. Freight workings could be heavy with through cattle trains to Belfast, Greenore and Derry off the SLNCR, going the other way Sligo received bagged cement from Drogheda over the GNR from Omagh.

 

Building stock would be challenging many of the locos are available in kits, Leslie does suitable wagons.

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Think of the modellers dilemma of deciding whether to work OO, HO or TT if the Irish North stayed open and GNR had gotten its way and bought a fleet of German diesel hydraulics :D.

 

The GNR engineers and traffic people appear to have wanted something similar to the DB V90 for heavy passenger and freight use http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DB_Class_V_90 with most of the German builders tendering with MAK & Jung coming closest with 1000Hp B-B units similar to the V90s.

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