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Connemara Railway Project

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There’s a lovely article in the March 2019 Railway Magazine about the Connemara Railway Project and the work being undertaken at the former Maam Cross station. To anyone who has been involved in railway preservation project, especially in its early years, it will bring back happy memories. Good luck to them.


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I'm familiar with this project. The organisers have acquired the site of the station and a short section of the trackbed. A new replica gate has been installed at the level crossing, of the type unique to the line. While the entire station building was demolished in the 1960s, the platforms, base of water tower, and goods shed are intact. The initial plan is to make up a small museum relating to the line and Connemara in general (which has a fascinating social and economic history otherwise). Eventually, rolling stock is planned.

Initial discussions have taken place with organisations who own 5ft 3in stock, with a view to establishing what is practical to go there, and under what conditions.

Excavations have revealed the base of the signal cabin and down platform shelter, both of which will be rebuilt in the long run.

In theory (and this is my input), four MGWR six-wheel coaches are potentially available; the ones at Whitehead and Clifden, and two at Downpatrick. All four would require a rebuild from ground up, but such a task - while time consuming and expensive - is feasible. Again in theory, the ITG own four "G" class locomotives which would be suitable, though substantial renovation would be needed. The DCDR's "E" class locos have been surplus to operational requirement for many years and are likely to remain so. In terms of steam, and again very much hypothetically, either the "Guinness" engine, or "R H Smyth" at Whitehead, would be theoretically suitable. The line was operated almost totally by J18 class 0.6.0s, the MGWR's equivalent of the southern J15s. At Whitehead, 184 and 186 remain, neither in traffic or likely to be. Of these, 184 would require a total rebuild - basically a new engine, as little is suitable for further use. This would be impractically expensive, and in any event operation using J15s would be beyond hopelessly uneconomic (which is why the DCDR has never requested a loan of them!).

Beyond this, there is currently nothing further to report. 

Once "Rails Through Connemara" is published, it is hoped to hold a book launch in the area.

Edited by jhb171achill
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