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Loughrea Branch, C.I.E. ,Co. Galway

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G'day all, having just completed the drive up from Fermoy, I'm busy settling in to my new job as District Manager,Loughrea Branch, C.I.E.


The Loughrea Branch bears an uncanny resemblence to the old Fermoy Branch, just coincidence, I guess :confused:


The story is that the Loughrea Branch was "Ireland's last operational rural railway branch line, having outlasted most other country railway lines of this type by 10 – 20 years, and even surviving to have diesel trains used on it."

In an unexpected flash of brilliance C.I.E. managment decided that Loughrea might have a considerable future as a commuter town for the City of Galway, and instead of closure decided to modernise and develop the Loughrea Branch as a railhead for the surrounding area. The sugar beet traffic was greater than ever before and the lead & Zinc mines at TYNAGH were (this is 1972, remember :tumbsup:) " for 15 years (1960–1975) the most important zinc and silver mine in Ireland":tumbsup:

With growing commuter traffic, mineral traffic and sugar beet traffic ~ How could it fail ???

Ah, If only real life were as well organised =D


The Loughrea Branch is a classic station to fiddle yard design, so beloved of British GWR modellers, but with the added refinement of a "hidden" continious run.

It fits around the walls of a roughly 16' x 10' bedroom The actual station is on a 9' 8" x 2' 3" board and is set in the 1970's. The baseboards around the other 3 sides of the room already exist as part of my existing On30 layout. On these boards the scenery will mostly remain as is, with the buildings, vehicles, etc., being swapped for OO scale ones. This should work out OK as a 7mm tree just becomes a bigger tree in 4mm scale.


Talking of TREES,

One of my pet peeves with the layouts I see are the tiny little fiddling trees on them, little more than bushes. Trees are BIG things. When I lived in Queensland we had two magnificent trees in our back garden between 100' and 125' high - actually nothing exceptional in REAL trees. Think about it, in 4mm scale a 120' tree is 480mm ! thats almost 19 INCHES. Compare that with the fiddling little 4" high "bushes" you see on 99% of layouts ! So my layout will have BIG trees and lots of them!.



Locos will be RTR using the products of Murphy Models and Silver Fox. Same for Passenger stock. The branch is set in the 1970's so diesels are the norm but there will be "RPSI" steam locos, Green 2-6-0 N and O-6-0T Y available for steam charters. 141/181 are my favourite locos and trusting in God and the postal system I should have six of these, three in Black & Tan and three in Supertrain liveries. 121s are my next favourite and, hopefully, I'll have 2 or 3 of these If Mr Murphy looks after us. A 2600(original) DMU set will share passenger services with the loco hauled trains.


Goods stock will start off as repainted/kitbashed DAPOL mostly but will gradually be replaced with the genuine articles as my pension allows.


Control will by by DCC. I use an American system called EasyDCC which you probably have never heard of in Ireland, as they only sell direct to the customer not through shops. It lives up to its name and is well made and easy to use. One thing I particularly like is that the hand controllers only have 5 buttons in addition to the 1-0 keypad, not like most DCC systems (most of the UK ones are re-badged US ones, anyway)which have enough buttons on the hand (more like 3 hands :confused:) controller to fly a 747.

All programming is done by the seperate base station, accessible only to the owner, who, in theory, at least, understands it all. So no chance of a ham fisted new operator accidentally reprogramming the whole system with a few confused keystrokes :tumbsup:


I'll post some photos when there is something worth photographing.

In the meantime I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of my 141/181s.


Patrick "Frank" Savery,

District Manager, Loughrea Branch, C.I.E.

Loughrea Branch C.I.E. 2 001.jpg

Loughrea Branch C.I.E. 2 001.jpg

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Just a re-hash of what I wrote on the Fermoy Branch thread.


I'm very much into "Operating" in the American Model RR sense.You may have seen the sort of thing. Instead of just shunting whatever wagon takes your fancy, each wagon has a Card with a pouch which holds a waybill which directs the wagon to a certain industry or business to be unloaded then turning the waybill specifies wether it's to be loaded, what with and to a new destination or maybe it's just to be an empty to be returned to the nearest yard ).


If shunting is your thing, it adds an awful lot to the fun. Moving a wagon has a purpose.


There was an excellent series of articles in the July - November 2010 Railway Modeller entitled 'Operating Branch Line Layouts' by David Cox. There is a fantastic amount of information and ideas in these articles, covering passenger traffic, freight traffic, timetables, generating traffic, etc. A really good investment in RM Back Numbers.


Of course, this sort of operation is really suited to "Old-Fashioned Railways" the modern day block trains going from A to B and back again don't give much scope for 'operation'. Which is why I set my railways around the late 60's - 70's.


Shunting is my thing, and I've tried to give myself plenty of destinations to deliver wagons to, etc

I sat down and worked out what I thought was the sort of traffic I could reasonably justify on a layout like the Loughrea Branch. I came up with :


Anticipated traffic fto Loughrea:

IN Bulk Cement, aggregate, Gypsum, etc to Bulk Ready Mix Concrete Depot

Containers for local area delivery

Engineers Stores

Household Coal

Guinness casks and crates to distributor

Bagged Cement to Distribution Depot

Palletized Bagged Fertilizer to Farmers Co-Op Depot

Components to Caravan Manufacturer

Sawn timber to L/R Timber Yard

Parcels, etc to Parcels Depot


OUT Cattle from Monthly Fair

Sugar Beet to Tuam - October to January

Logs to Sawmills.

Railway Ballast in Engineers Hoppers

Empty Guiness Casks


Caravans from builder


Anticipated Passenger Traffic :

Branch train consisting of 141/Open Coach/Generator Car shuttling between Limerick Junction and Fermoy and return.

Sometimes replaced by 2 car DMU set

Morning & Afternoon trains to Galway & return for shoppers & schoolchildren

Once daily train to Dublin out early morning return evening

Fairly frequent RPSI weekend steam excursions

Special trains for football and hurling matches


There should be enough traffic there to keep me occupied (:-)

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Hi Frank


I would not go too overboard on trees on a West of Ireland layout, the area around Loughrea is quite exposed windswept almost bleak countryside with little tree cover.


The MRSI Loughrea layout captures the atmosphere of the town and countryside pretty well http://irishrailwaymodeller.yuku.com/reply/7240/Model-railway-show-for-D-n-Laoghaire#reply-7240.


There were a number of plans for railways in East Galway in the late 1800 including a ilne from Craughwell to Loughrea and eastwards to Portumna and Birr in County Offaly which would have passed close to the Tynagh ore body.


A line from Loughrea or Portumna to Craughwell would have made better sence for a commuter service to Galway as it would have been more direct that via the Loughrea-Attymon branch.


In the 1960 Loughrea was mainly worked by G Class with a single coach G613 seems to have been the regular branch loco. DC Kits produce a resin kit and SilverFox Models rtr versions of the G Class.


Domestic coal traffic was light or non existant on CIE In the West and Midlands most people used turf (peat) for domestic heating, though Bord na Mona basically strip mine peat for Electricity Generation over much of East Galway and County Offaly.


BNM once sent out export Peat Moss http://www.bordnamonahorticulture.ie/home-gardening/gardening-products/improve-your-soil/irish-moss-peat by the train load from plants in Kildare and Laoise, perhaps BNM is exporting peat from a plant on the Shannon Callows out via Loughrea to Galway Port.


Loughrea seems to have gone through something of a revival in the 1960s becoming a distribution centre for fertiliser and cattle traffic increased when the local Station Master had the authority to agree rtes with shippers. Even in the 1960s over 100 wagons of cattle could be sent out in several trains.



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