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Helene
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Good afternoon, Everyone

 

I'm a South African editor/translator doing research for a novel. Been living in Ireland for a year now and I'm fascinated by many different aspects of Irish life and culture. I don’t want to bore you with all those details though.

My story is basically about the development of a young boy (five years old at the beginning of the story) into a full-blown psychopath – something along the lines of a Graham Dwyer character.

 

The dad (Irish, grew up poor in inner-city Dublin in the 60s and 70s) is a very successful plastic surgeon who has a celebrity practice running in London. The mum (English, grew up in and around London with a privileged background) is a successful artist, shut up in her studio most of the time.

 

They are moving back to County Wicklow and the Dad will commute to Dublin where he will work at the Royal College of Surgeons and some or other of the hospitals. He has a passion for people from a similar background to his own, however, and will get involved in some charity to give back to the community from which he came.

 

Money is, therefore, no object ever in this house. It is just available all the time for whatever the need or fancy.

 

They are renovating a Big House in Glenealy, where there is a large playroom of which half will be covered by a model railway layout. I’ve been dawdling around the internet, but I know far too little, and the lingo is much too technical for me to make headway any time soon.

I paid a visit to the South Dublin Model Railway Club the other evening to look at some layouts and received some valuable general information from Paul Daly and some of the other members. I hope that the people here may be able to help me figure out the specifics of the exact layout and trains that may be plausible.

 

Questions:

1 The dad looks back on his childhood in inner-city Dublin with nostalgia and he would like to share this with his five-year-old son, who prefers to spend time in his mother’s art studio. Does any of you or perhaps one of the clubs have a layout of Heuston Station and surrounds or any other layouts in Dublin itself as it used to be in the 60s/70s? LUAS included if it already existed then?

 

2 The dad is a perfectionist and I think he would build things from scratch. But I also believe he would have expensive collectors’ items, and if I understand correctly, collectors’ steam engines etc. are bought readymade from the manufacturer? Also, he is a plastic surgeon, and there is a danger of hand injury when building from scratch. Would he take the risk? In the context of the info above, what would he buy? What would he build? Would he buy some things and build others?

 

My plea: I may know a lot about words and things relating to words, but of model trains I know nothing. I don’t understand the technical lingo going around the forum and on the internet in general. Hard as it may be to admit, I’m a silly woman digging into a hobby that seems to be pretty much a man thing. :o :o I don’t know if that’s the case everywhere in the world, but it seems true here in Ireland.

Please bear this in mind when providing information.

 

And thank you, in advance, for your patience in reading this long story so start with.

 

Helene

Edited by Helene
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1 The dad looks back on his childhood in inner-city Dublin with nostalgia and he would like to share this with his five-year-old son, who prefers to spend time in his mother’s art studio. Does any of you or perhaps one of the clubs have a layout of Heuston Station and surrounds or any other layouts in Dublin itself as it used to be in the 60s/70s? LUAS included if it already existed then?

 

The LUAS is only a recent addition to Dublin's Streets, 2004 was when it opened. Prior to that there were tram lines in Dublin up until 1949, and 1959 on Howth Head. They were then ripped up.

 

As for the layouts, I don't think so, but I'd suggest contact be made with the MRSI and SDMRC, both of whom have a presence here to validate.

 

2 The dad is a perfectionist and I think he would build things from scratch. But I also believe he would have expensive collectors’ items, and if I understand correctly, collectors’ steam engines etc. are bought readymade from the manufacturer? Also, he is a plastic surgeon, and there is a danger of hand injury when building from scratch. Would he take the risk? In the context of the info above, what would he buy? What would he build? Would he buy some things and build others?

 

I'm a scratchbuilder, and the risk of hand injury is negligible if you've been at it long enough. The only risk is sanding your nails accidentally or having superglue on the tips of your fingers. However, his skills with a scalpel and access to high end medical tools such as forceps, arterial clamps, even scrubs, would be useful and are all part of my toolbox.

 

As for the guy who is also a collector and scratchbuilder, I have to say that that sounds highly unlikely. Generally in an Irish context, if it is available to purchase off the shelf, and you have the resources, that's what you'll do. Scratchbuilding from about 2000 backwards, would have been painful, with Self Addressed Envelopes being sent to the UK for Mail Order Catalogues, and endless waiting time for parts, Postal Orders, and so on. It would be far more likely that your character would purchase a UK model, and hand it over to a specialist, who would do the modifications to make it Irish. This would be a prized possession at the time, being a rarity, and it would have cost a significant amount of money.

 

As far as is plausible for the time period, he could have a boyhood interest in the end of the steam era in Ireland and the beginning of the Diesel Era, so there is a wealth of choice to pick from.

 

My plea: I may know a lot about words and things relating to words, but of model trains I know nothing. I don’t understand the technical lingo going around the forum and on the internet in general. Hard as it may be to admit, I’m a silly woman digging into a hobby that seems to be pretty much a man thing. :o :o I don’t know if that’s the case everywhere in the world, but it seems true here in Ireland.

Please bear this in mind when providing information.

 

One of the moderators here is in the "words" business too, as are quite a few others, albeit in round about ways, and I'm sure they'll be able to help in either a public or private way. And as for a "man" thing, well, it was ever thus I'm afraid :)

 

Richie.

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Questions:

1 The dad looks back on his childhood in inner-city Dublin with nostalgia and he would like to share this with his five-year-old son, who prefers to spend time in his mother’s art studio. Does any of you or perhaps one of the clubs have a layout of Heuston Station and surrounds or any other layouts in Dublin itself as it used to be in the 60s/70s? LUAS included if it already existed then?

 

2 The dad is a perfectionist and I think he would build things from scratch. But I also believe he would have expensive collectors’ items, and if I understand correctly, collectors’ steam engines etc. are bought readymade from the manufacturer? Also, he is a plastic surgeon, and there is a danger of hand injury when building from scratch. Would he take the risk? In the context of the info above, what would he buy? What would he build? Would he buy some things and build others?

 

 

Well this is certainly better than some questions that are asked here. To answer your questions:

 

1 - None that Im aware of, publicly at least. The only model that would fit into this is the MRSI's O'Connell Street and this is based in 1949 when the trams ran along O'Connell Street for the last time as the trams in Dublin closed. There were no Trams on the streets Dublin between 1949 and 2004 when the LUAS Green line opened. The one exception is the Hill of Howth tramway which closed in 1959, but this was more of a rural tramway

 

2. In the 1960's if you wanted finescale you made it all yourself or paid someone else to make it for you. Given your surgeon is good with his hands he would have trust in them. An excellent modeller friend of mine is a floor fitter by trade and has a stanley knife in his hand almost the entire time. His skills with cutting and sculpting when modelling are second to none. Hence your surgeon would be a fine modeller and a perfectionist. Mass produced models were quite rudimentary until relatively recent times when massive advances in injection moulding and computer design became common and cheap.

 

In the 1960's you would make everything yourself. Its closed now, but the Fry Models collection would have shown you this perfectly - more or less everything was made by hand

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Thank you very much, burnthebox. Nothing against Wicklow. :) I promise. I love Wicklow, and was there last week to go and show it off to a friend from South Africa. The reason I chose Wicklow had to do with simple logistics. "Garden of Ireland" kind of weather where you have more bird species than just magpies, crows and gulls. :) Proximity and access to Dublin. I looked at thousands of pictures of Big Houses all over the country for days and days on end, then suddenly came across one in Wicklow and the lights went on. It was perfect. Another reason is the equestrian activities. Those are, in short, the most important reasons.

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Well this is certainly better than some questions that are asked here.

 

A humble thank you. :) That gives me hope.

 

1 - None that Im aware of, publicly at least. The only model that would fit into this is the MRSI's O'Connell Street and this is based in 1949 when the trams ran along O'Connell Street for the last time as the trams in Dublin closed. There were no Trams on the streets Dublin between 1949 and 2004 when the LUAS Green line opened. The one exception is the Hill of Howth tramway which closed in 1959, but this was more of a rural tramway

 

Okay, so no help from the trams. :) Thanks

 

 

2. In the 1960's if you wanted finescale you made it all yourself or paid someone else to make it for you. Given your surgeon is good with his hands he would have trust in them. An excellent modeller friend of mine is a floor fitter by trade and has a stanley knife in his hand almost the entire time. His skills with cutting and sculpting when modelling are second to none. Hence your surgeon would be a fine modeller and a perfectionist. Mass produced models were quite rudimentary until relatively recent times when massive advances in injection moulding and computer design became common and cheap.

 

In the 1960's you would make everything yourself. Its closed now, but the Fry Models collection would have shown you this perfectly - more or less everything was made by hand

 

He isn't building these in the 1960s. He starts working on this specific layout when they start renovating the house in January 2002. They will move into the house in July, and there will be a fancy dinner at the house for the new colleagues at the end of August, before the commencement of the new academic year. I'm not sure whether he would have had more time for modelling earlier in his career though. He was too driven to make enough money to create a comfortable life for his family. It may be though that it was always an interest that he finally felt he could make time for.

 

Another logistics question here: If he took time off to oversee the seven or eight months of renovations (not working on it himself, but just making sure that the contractors are doing their jobs) and kept himself busy on this project to surprise his son with, how much of it would he be able to finish, etc. He would still be commuting to London occasionally for a day or two to make sure that the London practice's wheels didin't come off, but other than that, and general checking up on the progress of the house and preparations for his new job, he would have had a lot of spare time then. He thought it important to have this huge surprise ready (or very far along) when they move in. Would it practically be plausible if he had half a room to cover? See the attached floor plan.

 

The size would be approx correct, but this is not an exact floor plan of the house. It is just the shape of this one room that I liked when browsing hundreds of floor plans on the internet. I thought of putting the train set more towards the window half of the room where the bay window could possibly be utilised nicely for the landscape? Although Mum's a grand artist, I'm not quite sure that she will partake in this venture. There would be a large TV and Sony Playstation in the other half of the room.

 

Any ideas?

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]20133[/ATTACH]

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Hmm, as someone who does the whole minding contractors as an Architect, and building railway bits and pieces, this is most disturbing, given that I was in college with Mr. Dwyer....eek.

 

7-8 months to build a layout would require a full time commitment, he'd be lucky to get the boards down and simple track if doing it on a piecemeal basis. The size of the room is relatively huge, that's about 380 square feet in old money. If I had a Client like that who asked me to build something epic like that - say a scale Connolly Station (an iconic layout for most dreamers), I know it is 36 feet from the front of the building to the tolka river bridge if modelled to scale, I would tell him to compress the scheme into 24 feet long, by 4 foot wide, accessible from both sides, perfectly modelled version of Connolly Station, with the track running all around the room to tie up (continuous running) and have a large spare board where he parks his trains not in use (fiddle yard)

 

A room with those proportions, covered in boards would be truly implausible also. The boards that the layout would rest on may be about 600-1200mm /2-4 feet wide with a place to operate either side. A man's maximum reach to access track to clean is about 750mm/2 and a half feet.

 

Theoretically, it would be possible for him to have a significant piece of the layout complete - the boards, track and wiring installed (by someone else - if he lives in a house like that, it's an insignificant cost relative to the 6 figure sum he's spending on renovation)

 

He could commission the buildings and other structures to be completed off site - that's the most time consuming part of this hobby I find.

 

There would still be an epic amount of work to complete if that's done - installation of signals, ballast (the cosmetic stone that keeps the track in place) people, vehicles, lighting, weathering. One assumes that during his travels, he has been collecting the running stock though throughout. It's what most do, waiting for that spare room to open up.

 

hope that helps,

 

R.

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Helene

 

Richie has done a splendid job in answering your queries, so this is just a little add-on.

 

In the 1960s, I used to attend "Track Nights" at Drew Donaldson's amazing CLOCKWORK-operated Gauge "0" model railway. ALL of that was scratch built - locomotives, wagons, track - and I can bear witness to the brown envelopes crossing the Irish Sea to gain parts from the likes of Bonds of Euston Road in London, who sold every known kind of part for making models. By the late 1960s, I was resident in London and was sent on at least one occasion to buy parts for him and to post them over. Your fictional surgeon would have used methods like that too.

 

Drew was quite a character - an early railtours officer for the Railway Preservation Society and, despite his Ulster Protestant background was a notable Irish scholar (he had attended Trinity in the 1930s).

 

His railway included a Kingsbridge station, but only in name - not really modelled - the trains were the big thing with Drew. The railway was entirely CIE (ie Republic) based and ran the entire CIE timetable for 1953/4 against the clock!!!!

 

Another Belfast layout was that of Fred Graham, also scratch built, and based on the former Great Northern Railway of Ireland.

 

Locomotives and rolling stock from both railways survive to this day - Drew's stuff in the museum at Cultra, Co Down.

 

In Dublin, of course Sam Carse had built his remarkable model railway based on the Co Donegal. His sons can tell you all about it. One of our number is in regular contact with Barry, his elder son.

 

Leslie

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The LUAS is only a recent addition to Dublin's Streets, 2004 was when it opened. Prior to that there were tram lines in Dublin up until 1949, and 1959 on Howth Head. They were then ripped up.

 

As for the layouts, I don't think so, but I'd suggest contact be made with the MRSI and SDMRC, both of whom have a presence here to validate.

 

Thanks, Richie, for your detailed answer. I am honoured to have my first answer from a Super Guru on this site. :) I assume that the SDMRC is the South Dublin Club where I spent some time with Paul Daly and co. the other evening. I have to thank them for a very informative few hours. I even learnt about Thomas the Tank Engine! Not sure they have an inner-city Dublin layout though. If the MRSI is the Model Railway Society of Ireland, my first e-mail via their website must have been lying in their inbox for close to two months by now. Or there's a glitch in the web-form system or something. I tried contacting them first. I waited about two weeks and then contacted the Midlands Club (the only club with a contact number on the Associates' page). Got Paul Daly's contact number from Ronnie Gaunt. Via Paul Daly, I eventually got in contact with Fran Burke, because for the life of me, I didn't know murphy models - al lower case - to be the code for cracking the question to get onto this site. But now I'm here! :trains::banana:

 

It would be grand to have contact with MRSI as well.

 

 

I'm a scratchbuilder, and the risk of hand injury is negligible if you've been at it long enough. The only risk is sanding your nails accidentally or having superglue on the tips of your fingers. However, his skills with a scalpel and access to high end medical tools such as forceps, arterial clamps, even scrubs, would be useful and are all part of my toolbox.

 

Grand, I'm glad to hear that. :D

 

As for the guy who is also a collector and scratchbuilder, I have to say that that sounds highly unlikely. Generally in an Irish context, if it is available to purchase off the shelf, and you have the resources, that's what you'll do. Scratchbuilding from about 2000 backwards, would have been painful, with Self Addressed Envelopes being sent to the UK for Mail Order Catalogues, and endless waiting time for parts, Postal Orders, and so on. It would be far more likely that your character would purchase a UK model, and hand it over to a specialist, who would do the modifications to make it Irish. This would be a prized possession at the time, being a rarity, and it would have cost a significant amount of money.

 

:( Not so grand. I would have loved him to build these things as well, but you can probably not have Santa's whole toy shop for Christmas...

In the context of this info of yours, see also my question on Blaine's reply re the dad's modelling experience and time constraints in the normal swing of things.

 

As far as is plausible for the time period, he could have a boyhood interest in the end of the steam era in Ireland and the beginning of the Diesel Era, so there is a wealth of choice to pick from.

 

When exactly did the first diesel engines come onto the Irish railway? I still have to figure out the logistics of where they lived in relation to the station and how easy it would have been to gain access to the station. They might have lived in one of the tenement buildings that collapsed in 1963 - or close to there - because it might have had a significant influence on the dad's (David's) family. The research is still a bit scanty. If you or anybody else reading this know anything or have any ideas on that front? David was born in 1964 so he might have had an interest since he was little. I think his dad might have had some technical/mechanical job as well. Brains and technical skill running in the family and all that. The only difference was opportunity because of economic circumstances. He must have had a job that paid only a pittance. Perhaps something with trains? Any ideas?

 

I would think he'd like steam, but perhaps that's just me female Ana Karenina-kind of psyche at play here. If you guys were him... what would you have liked and why? And then, if we decide on steam or diesel or a combination of both... which models? Why those particular ones?

 

Yea, I'm still going to drive you all bonkers. *Female Devil Smiley with horns, tail, a wink and a toothy grin* Why? Detail is important, as you will know from the great writers who shaped the literature of this country. If I want to have just a miniature little spot here, I need to do me homework. It would be disrespectful not to.

 

One of the moderators here is in the "words" business too, as are quite a few others, albeit in round about ways, and I'm sure they'll be able to help in either a public or private way. And as for a "man" thing, well, it was ever thus I'm afraid :)

 

On that note, I should probably say that I'm in the Afrikaans word business, so my English is by no means flawless. I also don't have time to check these posts for consistency and grammatical or other bugs, so if you see Afrikaans cracks in my language here, please forgive them. ;)

 

And as for the man thing... thank you for indulging me in your inner circle. It is much appreciated. :)

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Diesels first came in the form of multiple units on the old Great Northern in 1950.

 

There were a few home-built diesels on CIE before even that, but the great dieselisation began in 1955 when the first British-built diesels arrived.

 

By 1964, when your man was born, steam had finished in the Republic and I suspect that by the time a boy would notice such things (early 1970s?) we are getting out of the Black and Tan livery into the Supertrain Livery, which looked impressive when you had a full train in it.

 

I leave the Dublin guys to suggest where he might have lived to see lots of trains!

 

Leslie

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:( Not so grand. I would have loved him to build these things as well, but you can probably not have Santa's whole toy shop for Christmas...

 

Ah, but one assumes.he has a wife who buys him kits for Christmas, or buys them for the axe murdering prodigy and dad and boy are to bond together whilst making it?

 

I'll put the glue away now.....

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Helene,

 

The dad (Irish, grew up poor in inner-city Dublin in the 60s and 70s).

 

Depending upon your definition of "The Inner-city", and allowing some Artistic Licence, I suggest two possible locations each with Main-Line Stations. Amiens Street (Connelly Station) from 1966 and Kingsbridge Station (Heuston Station) from 1966; this was the year the original termini were renamed. A lad who lived in the inner-city would have been able to Mitch, (Bunk-off school) and walk to either of these railway locations with ease. From these station he would have observed main-line trains leaving and arriving.

 

Kingsbridge would still be referred to by this name in the mid sixties and into the mid seventies. From this station your character would have seen and heard Diesel Hauled Trains, Locomotives and first generation of Railcars arriving and departing to the South East, South and South West. Goods trains were marshalled for the Guinness Traffic prior to their transfer via the Phoenix Park Tunnel to the Railway Goods Yards adjacent to Dublin Port for forward transfer to all points throughout Ireland . This location also accommodated Amiens Street Station, from which trains departed to the North of Ireland; Belfast (The Enterprise). Local services to Dundalk, Drogheda, Donabate, Rush and Lusk as well as Howth. Suburban services to South Dublin; Dun Laoghaire, Dalkey, Bray and Greystones as well as the trains to Rosslaire.

 

An important point for your Novel, and one you may wish to consider! Your Hero, and how he departed Ireland for London? It is perfectly possible, that he, like many a poverty stricken Emigrant, departed from Dun Laoghaire having travelled there on "The Boat Train" from Westland Row Station (Pearce Station) after 1966. These memories are the ones we railway modellers remember with fondness. Of course we, the Older Generation, used the trains for travelling to and from our schools, to go on family holidays and visit our relations. All this was done with regularity as few of our parents owned motorcars in the fifties and sixties in Ireland.

 

He is a very successful plastic surgeon who has a celebrity practice running in London. The mum (English, grew up in and around London with a privileged background) is a successful artist, shut up in her studio most of the time.

Questions:

1 The dad looks back on his childhood in inner-city Dublin with nostalgia and he would like to share this with his five-year-old son, who prefers to spend time in his mother’s art studio. Does any of you or perhaps one of the clubs have a layout of Heuston Station and surrounds or any other layouts in Dublin itself as it used to be in the 60s/70s? LUAS included if it already existed then?

 

2 The dad is a perfectionist and I think he would build things from scratch. But I also believe he would have expensive collectors’ items, and if I understand correctly, collectors’ steam engines etc. are bought readymade from the manufacturer? Also, he is a plastic surgeon, and there is a danger of hand injury when building from scratch. Would he take the risk? In the context of the info above, what would he buy? What would he build? Would he buy some things and build others?

 

There was a famous Railway Modeller - Cyril Fry - a former employee of "The Great Southern Railway" who built many models of Trains, Trams and Buses. His collection was housed in the Fry Museum at Malahide Castle. Unfortunately this collection is now in storage. It may have been feasible that your wealth Surgeon could have befriended this Gentleman, and commissioned him to produce a Model Railway on his behalf!!

 

After Fry's death, and upon removal of his Models to Malahide Castle, a new Model Railway was constructed there by Tommy Tighe; a former employee of Coras Iompair Eireann, (CIE). CIE existed as a transport company from 1st January, 1945 to 1987. It then became a Holding Company responsible for it's subsidiary companies; Irish Rail, later to become Iarnrod Eireann, as well as Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann. Tommy was responsible for the Model Railway at Inchiecore Works. The model railway was used to educate railway personnel on railway procedures prior to them running the real thing.

 

Returning to the Fry Model Railway at Malahide Castle. Fry's rolling stock was deemed too fragile for use on the replacement railway built by Tighe at Malahide. Thus his models were housed in display cabinets. The rolling stock used on the railway was built by Tighe and it is this stock that is seen in the videos and photographs of "The Fry Museum at Malahide Castle.

 

My plea: I may know a lot about words and things relating to words, but of model trains I know nothing. I don’t understand the technical lingo going around the forum and on the internet in general. Hard as it may be to admit, I’m a silly woman digging into a hobby that seems to be pretty much a man thing. ** (I disagree. There are some very good Female modellers who enjoy our hobby, thus your Surgeon's Wife, could be woven into your story as someone who participates in the construction of his Model Railway. As she is an Artist, perhaps, her Art and skills could contribute to the design and Scenic construction of the railway.) ** I don’t know if that’s the case everywhere in the world, but it seems true here in Ireland.

 

Please bear this in mind when providing information.

 

And thank you, in advance, for your patience in reading this long story so start with.

 

Helene

 

Should you wish to contact me please send me a Private Message -

 

Fry Information - available from This Forum.

 

Also - http://www.virtualvisittours.com/fry-model-railway/

 

Old Blarney.

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Hi Helene

 

A young lad living in the area around Heuston would have a much better chance of breaking out of the slums and poverty than a lad living in the area around Connolly. The area around Connolly (Amiens St) had quite a history. The area around Railway Street between Gardiner and Amiens Street was Monto the old red light area shut down after the founding of the Free State, Sherriff always seems to have been some thing of a no-go area, excellent baggage for a obsessive father who is unable to shake off his roots.

 

Going to the trains building a large model railway could be a lifetimes work the father like Pete Waterman the musical producer might commission professional model builders to re-create his childhood memories.

 

During the 1970s Harry Connaughton a prolific professional modeller produced high quality models of mainly Irish steam era locos and rolling stock mainly for private clients. Dave a member of this news group builds layouts to order allowing dad more time to cut himself off from the family and play God.

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Really interesting contributions by Old Blarney and Mayner!

 

Just a note on historical accuracy, the collapses of 1963 took place on Fenian Street (Near Westmoreland Row (renamed to Dublin Pearse Station 1966), Bolton Street ( close to Broadstone, but that closed in 1961) and York Street - Where the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland is now.

 

So it would make more sense for the surgeon to have grown up on Fenian Street, and rambled around the disused mill buildings and granaries that surround Grand Canal Dock and look back toward on Westland Row. It was also an area of mixed fortune, with small lanes of cottages tucked behind the grand houses or Pearse Square, so it allows the surgeons parents to come from any walk of life.

 

It is also one of the main stations if you wanted to go to Bray from the city regularly, so it would be a nostalgic trip everytime he came to Dublin.

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Diesels first came in the form of multiple units on the old Great Northern in 1950.

 

There were a few home-built diesels on CIE before even that, but the great dieselisation began in 1955 when the first British-built diesels arrived.

 

Leslie, what's CIE? :o

 

By 1964, when your man was born, steam had finished in the Republic and I suspect that by the time a boy would notice such things (early 1970s?) we are getting out of the Black and Tan livery into the Supertrain Livery, which looked impressive when you had a full train in it.

 

I was just thinking... he might have noticed trains somewhat earlier if his father was a train driver, eg. If his dad took him with on shorter trips since he was about four or five (1968/69), he might have got his love for trains from there? Would he still have seen a steam loco or two at that time, or not at all? If not, then I'll have to go for diesel... :((

 

Practicalities: Would being a train driver be plausible in the context of my story? How much would a train driver have earned, eg? Was it a very technically skilled job back then? If not, what other job could he have done on the railway that would need high technical skill, and if such a job existed, would it not have paid too much?

 

Useless information: They were poor, but they were a happy family in spite of. His father's motto was look on the bright side and do the right thing; the rest will take care of itself, which we all know is not always how it happens. David (the dad) tries his best to carry this motto forward, and thought that if he had enough money, he might be able to fix what was broken in his own childhood. He never realised how many other things would slip through the cracks if he didn't pay attention and spend enough time with his wife and son - the two people he loved most in this world.

 

Some more ideas?

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:Ah, but one assumes.he has a wife who buys him kits for Christmas, or buys them for the axe murdering prodigy and dad and boy are to bond together whilst making it?

 

I'll put the glue away now.....

 

Mmm, I have to admit that I haven't thought of the mum buying them kits for Christmas yet. She's a very emotional, manipulative woman The prodigy prefers playing with clay and paint in his mum's art studio, and he will become a huge point of conflict in their marriage. There are two sides to the father-son playroom. The other side is the Sony Playstation II (which was available in 2002) with the biggest TV screen that they could find back then. If he wasn't fiddling around with the art stuff, he was on the play station, but no matter what the dad did - even introducing Thomas the Tank Engine (which I was told could run together with the other trains on the normal tracks?) - little prodigy never took to the train dream of his dad. At a later stage, he will either destroy Thomas, or set the whole set on fire or something horrible like that. But he is also a sly little bugger. He always seems to get away with horrible things while someone else gets the blame. (How I am going to pull this off, scene by scene and chapter by chapter, heaven knows, but I'm going to try.)

 

Please don't put away the glue. It's only through questions and comments like the ones I get on the forum that I'll eventually be able to figure the character out - completely and realistically, ie kill the darlings. That is why I am here.

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Coras Iompar Eireann the Irish Transport Authority. It's the State body that runs the railways and buses.

 

http://www.cie.ie/

 

 

Practicalities: Would being a train driver be plausible in the context of my story? How much would a train driver have earned, eg? Was it a very technically skilled job back then? If not, what other job could he have done on the railway that would need high technical skill, and if such a job existed, would it not have paid too much?

 

As it is/was a highly unionised organisation, train drivers would have been well paid, probably 30% above the average industrial wage.

Edited by Weshty
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Helene,

 

May I answer on behalf of Leslie?

 

He's from the Northern part of the Island and has a very limited knowledge of the railway system in the South of Ireland.

 

Please refer to my post, Old Blarney for some information regarding CIÉ. Córas Iompair Éireann, or CIÉ, is a statutory corporation of the Republic of Ireland, answerable to the Irish Government and responsible for most public transport in the Republic of Ireland. (See Wikipedia). CIE was created in 1944, and came into being on the 1st, January, 1945. Formed from the amalgamation of The Dublin United Transport Company, (formerly Dublin United Tramways (1896) Ltd) and the Great Southern Railways, this new company controlled the majority of Bus, Rail and Road Haulage in Southern Ireland. The exception to this being, The Great Northern Railway of Ireland (GNR). Their geographical area of operation covered public transport in North Dublin where they operated the Buses, Trains and The Hill of Howth Tram until September,30th, 1958. On this date they too became part of CIÉ in The Republic of Ireland.

 

The GNR's property was divided equally as of this date between CIÉ, and the Ulster Transport Authority ( six counties of Northern Ireland.) The railway lines emanating out of Amiens Street Station were operated by the GNR as were the Country Bus Services, roughly drawn from a line in Dublin to Sligo.

 

 

I was just thinking... he might have noticed trains somewhat earlier if his father was a train driver, eg. If his dad took him with on shorter trips since he was about four or five (1968/69), he might have got his love for trains from there? Would he still have seen a steam loco or two at that time, or not at all?

 

He would not have seen any Service Steam Trains running in regular service in 1968/1969. CIE had withdrawn the last of their Steam Locomotives by 1963. Some steam trains continued to come South into Amiens Street from Belfast.

 

(Leslie please provide the date of the last steam train into Amiens Street).

 

The reason steam continued to come to Amiens Street was this; Upon the division of the Great Northern Railway, September, 30th 1959, the main line between Dublin and Belfast became a shared operation between CIE and the UTA. The UTA continued to use steam locomotives for some services to Dublin as they and CIE both ran The Enterprise Service, and still do so to this day. (The UTA became Northern Ireland Railways NIR in 1967).

 

Your character, and his Father, David, could have seen - Preserved Steam Locomotives - running on Irish Railways.

 

 

Practicalities: Would being a train driver be plausible in the context of my story? Yes, I believe it would be.

 

How much would a train driver have earned, eg? http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/1969/si/60/made/en/print -

 

These pages will provide you with financial details. Please note the sums of money are quoted in Pre-Decimalisation and Euro sums.

 

One Irish pound = 20 Shillings

One Shilling = 12 Pence

 

One penny = 1d

 

 

 

Was it a very technically skilled job back then? Yes it was, and still is.

 

If not, what other job could he have done on the railway that would need high technical skill, and if such a job existed, would it not have paid too much? You have many choices-

 

Signalman, Locomotive Inspector, Shed Foreman, Station Master etc,

 

Useless information: They were poor, but they were a happy family in spite of. His father's motto was look on the bright side and do the right thing; the rest will take care of itself, which we all know is not always how it happens. David (the dad) tries his best to carry this motto forward, and thought that if he had enough money, he might be able to fix what was broken in his own childhood. He never realised how many other things would slip through the cracks if he didn't pay attention and spend enough time with his wife and son - the two people he loved most in this world.

 

Some more ideas? Lots of them but it is your book. Your character, David, could have gone on to work for Dr James Drumm, but this is yet another Railway Story.

 

I hope some of this information is of use to you.

 

Old Blarney

 

Ps -With apologies to my good and dear friend Leslie.

Edited by Old Blarney
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Helene

 

Richie has done a splendid job in answering your queries, so this is just a little add-on.

 

In the 1960s, I used to attend "Track Nights" at Drew Donaldson's amazing CLOCKWORK-operated Gauge "0" model railway. ALL of that was scratch built - locomotives, wagons, track - and I can bear witness to the brown envelopes crossing the Irish Sea to gain parts from the likes of Bonds of Euston Road in London, who sold every known kind of part for making models. By the late 1960s, I was resident in London and was sent on at least one occasion to buy parts for him and to post them over. Your fictional surgeon would have used methods like that too.

 

Drew was quite a character - an early railtours officer for the Railway Preservation Society and, despite his Ulster Protestant background was a notable Irish scholar (he had attended Trinity in the 1930s).

 

His railway included a Kingsbridge station, but only in name - not really modelled - the trains were the big thing with Drew. The railway was entirely CIE (ie Republic) based and ran the entire CIE timetable for 1953/4 against the clock!!!!

 

Another Belfast layout was that of Fred Graham, also scratch built, and based on the former Great Northern Railway of Ireland.

 

Locomotives and rolling stock from both railways survive to this day - Drew's stuff in the museum at Cultra, Co Down.

 

In Dublin, of course Sam Carse had built his remarkable model railway based on the Co Donegal. His sons can tell you all about it. One of our number is in regular contact with Barry, his elder son.

 

Leslie

 

Thank you so much, Leslie. I'll definitely get in touch. County Down... Haven't been there yet. Sounds like a nice excuse for a trip. ;)

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This is just a quick message to thank everybody who so kindly responded to my request on the thread as well as via the PMs.

 

I have lots of work to do now, and I am sure more questions will pop up as I go along.

 

I'll be back for those.

 

If anybody can think of anything else that I may not know about historically, please let me know.

As Old Blarney said on the old thread:

 

Some more ideas? Lots of them but it is your book. Your character, David, could have gone on to work for Dr James Drumm, but this is yet another Railway Story.

 

The thing is... I can't write stuff that I'm not even aware of. James Patterson says do your research down to the bee sting.

 

The wealth of information that I got from all of you is like the stretched-out spring flowers in Namaqualand, South Africa.

https://www.google.ie/search?q=namaqualand+flowers+2015&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0CCYQsARqFQoTCJuCt8jnkcgCFTFa2wod490LzQ&biw=1366&bih=658

 

Lots of bees to find.

 

Thanks again for everything so far.

 

Helene

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Good morning, everyone, me again.

 

As I predicted, there are some follow-up questions after I've gone through all the material that you guys provided.

 

Especially for the guys who told me to send on PMs.

 

I am really dependent on the info that will follow on the previous conversations before I can carry on with other stuff, and as things go in my world, I'm usually tied to deadlines. I would really appreciate it if we could tie things up because I'm kind of hanging in limbo at the moment.

 

Thank you ever so much for your patience.

 

Helene

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've been to the exhibition today, met some of you in the flesh and had great fun talking trains to strange people, suddenly realising that I know a little bit more now than I did when I posted here for the first time - thanks to all of you.

 

I also have to tell the admins here that the new look on the forum's just up my alley. The same green I have on my business cards and stationery.

 

H

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