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Malahide opening

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Greetings, all.

The final frantic work is in progress now at the Malahide Fry museum for the “soft” opening on Saturday. 

It’s likely that finishing touches will still be required before the main public opening, which is planned to be in January.

Finishing me coffee for another 13-hour day there!

Dave & team are doing a stupendous job on the 00 gauge layout. Everyone else is running about looking after different aspects of it. 

It’s looking good! If I get time I’ll post a few pics later.

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10 hours ago, Irishrailwayman said:

Doors open without advertising/fanfare to test first reactions/iron out any glitches before a grand opening public ceremony in January?


Final ungarbling of Castle “storage” emm, “system“ for Fry’s models tomorrow. Final positioning in display cases now that missing items found.... Need to set me alarm for 05:45.......  eerrggghh

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“Soft” opening now not going ahead tomorrow. Various display cabinets need alteration, staff trained on cctv, last minute stuff. Layout almost ready and looking amazing.

Artefacts almost all placed in cabinets, labelled, catalogued and ready to view.

Exterior garden being tidied - admin office now furnished.

Updates will follow....

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Update today.

I have selected some of his continental stuff for one display case, and the railway signs and crests are now sorted out, positioned, and on the walls.

There is a larger amount than I thought of Fry's LNWR stuff in the Reserve Collection. Most of the Reserve is the Castle layout models made by Harry Connaughton, Des McGlynn and above all Tommy Tighe. Being strictly not Fry's, this is technically outside the scope of the museum and collection, which is dedicated to Cyril Fry himself - in any event, there's no room for it. I am hoping to persuade them to include "just one more" display case so that some of Fry's LNWR coaches are included - they are truly tasty stuff, as are his two LNWR express passenger locos.

The display cases now contain all of his Irish stuff, from the Schull & Skib to the Giant's Causeway; from Lough Swilly and Castlederg to the CBSCR and DSER.

There's a narrow gauge navy blue turf railway loco lettered "No. 1" and "ESB" - does anyone know the details of it, as I need to finalise all the captions? So far, it's a gap both in my own knowledge (Sean Cain anywhere?) and in anything lurking here in the Catacombs at home. there's a bogie navy blue turf wagon with it.

Naturally, jhb171 has some thoughts on the liveries of a small number of Fry's models - particularly a GNR "S) class 4.4.0 in railcar navy (-ish) blue! But don't worry, jhb171 will keep shtum on liveries for once. Yes, I know you'll need your smelling salts after reading that.

Tonight, captions being written for the exhibits displayed on the walls - crests and loco number / name plates.

There's a 3 1/2  inch gauge live steam loco. I don't know what to do with that. There's nowhere to display it - it's too big for all the cases, but it would make a fine exhibit. I am assuming Fry made it but I have no evidence to this effect.

However, I made what for me was an astounding discovery today. Among Fry's crests are exact duplicates of some from my grandfather's very extensive collection, including a few from some quite obscure English companies. Both jhb--very-senior and Fry were in Inchicore at the same time, and must have known each other. One in the loco drawing office and one in the loco dept. Was there a collaboration? Both Fry and jhb-snr. were not exactly chatty when they roamed this earth..... and they're both less so these days. How, when, why? Now that the radar is up, the detective work must start. Both had "O" gauge layouts, too. I remember the jhb-snr one....huge, but not anywhere like as big as Fry's.

The late Sam Carse knew Cyril Fry well - and possibly one or two of the readers here, perhaps those of us who suffer from a condition known as "too-many-birthdays syndrome".

Incidentally, I was asked by a friend today what has become of the actual layout that was in Malahide Castle. Those who read here will presumably be aware that this was purpose-built for the castle and was nothing to do with Fry, and nor were any of the models that ran on it. It was dismantled in the castle in sections and these remain in store. In all reality, they're not of any value in themselves (in terms of Fry) and there's nowhere to put them anyway.  Thus, they will remain in storage until or unless Fingal Council or Shannon Heritage decide what to do with them.

I'll report back in due course.

Back to these wretched captions.



PS: The Drumm Train turned up, hidden in a box with non-layout railway artefacts! These had been missing since I saw them in the conservator's workshop months ago. The interesting thing about the Drumm train is that Fry built the models from the ORIGINAL drawings, which were done by my grandfather when in Inchicore. But when the Drumm trains were actually built, the front ends of them looked entirely different. So the two carriages you look at in the display are the way the later Drumm trains were ORIGINALLY meant to look like - not what they DID look like!

These will need a separate case. I might display them along with one of the (non-Fry) DART cars that are in the Castle (Reserve) collection.

Edited by jhb171achill
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Jonathan, can you post a photo of the ESB loco? Suspect it's one of either Allenwood or Portarlington's Number 1, a Ruston 48DL like below.

Of course, if it's Allenwood 1 that is preserved in Stradbally, Portarlington 1 was preserved, but not sure on its current status as it was stored at Clonbullogue for the Irish Narrow Gauge Trust


Edited by hurricanemk1c
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  • 4 weeks later...
55 minutes ago, Galteemore said:

Rather like the late G P Keen, Fry had an eclectic modelling style uncommon today. Thankfully so - hence we have this wonderful cornucopia of odd prototypes that never made preservation - and are not modelled elsewhere. A real treasure trove. 

It absolutely is.


The entire collection consists of the following.

1. Irish prototypes made by Fry

2. NON-Irish prototypes made by Fry - the bulk being ex-LNWR and some LMS, LNER and GWR locomotives and coaches, but with some continental and USA examples as well.

3. No more than one or two fictitious vehicles made by Fry. e.g. a very continental-looking coach (a bought model) painted in GSR livery by Fry

4. Irish prototypes made by other people for the Malahide Castle layout (long after fry's time; these were made by Inchicore man Tonny Tighe, Des McGlynn, and Harry Connaghton.

5. Bought models (e.g. Hornby wagons). Most of these non-hand-made vehicles are British wagons made by Hornby in the 1950s. Some are in poor order.

6  Scenic items and road vehicles, both "bought" and home-made.


The display is based on Fry's Irish stuff, thus (1) is entirely on display, bar two or three duplicate vehicles where he built more than one example of the same vehicle. At any one time, a few of (2) are also on display.  Lists 3-6 as above are in storage. With 3-5 being nothing to do with Fry himself or his layout these items will eventually be carefully stored away in air-proof boxes until or unless some future use may be found for them. I have suggested to the organisers that they ought to get one more cabinet (though it's hard to see where they'd put it) to rotate a full "Irish Mail" LNWR train and a selection of his road vehicles and scenic items.

The organisers are considering a book about Fry's photographic collection, and also featuring his models as a guide book which they would sell at the Malahide complex. If they decide to do that, I'll probably get that done over the summer.

That's about it - my next "consulting" museum thing will relate to a new canal museum in the north........

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Theoretically do-able indeed, and what an interesting thing it would be.

About fifty years ago I read an article about a man in England (I believe his name was Mike Sharman) who had (WELL ahead of his time) built a layout based on the very early GWR broad gauge. Naturally, like Cyril Fry he had to make everything from scratch himself.

So, a D & K layout with original-type track, original Westland Row and do in, would be quite a thing of beauty! Waterford & Tramore, LLSR broad gauge, Finn Valley Railway, Dublin & Meath, and of course the Ulster Railway would be great fodder for a layout too....

Fry has a beautiful model of an Ulster Railway 0.4.2 in GNR green livery in his collection....

Other "old" stuff in the display are two W & T locos, a Dublin & Drogheda one, and a little beauty from the Ballymena, Cushendall & Red Bay Railway.

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2 hours ago, DART8118 said:


I also like the Dublin & Blessington Steam Tramway Co. Locomotive No. 9.  Is that a twin cab solution long, long before it's time?  Photos that I know of are always black and white so it's good to see colour adding life to this loco.


A number of systems had double cabbed steam trams or locos. The only other Irish example I can think of was on the T&DR, but that didn't last long in that state and had a short innings anyhow.

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7 hours ago, jhb171achill said:

About fifty years ago I read an article about a man in England (I believe his name was Mike Sharman) who had (WELL ahead of his time) built a layout based on the very early GWR broad gauge. Naturally, like Cyril Fry he had to make everything from scratch himself.


Mike Sharman stuff;-


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Agreed - that video of Mike Sharman's work was brilliant - awesome is a word used far too often these days - but his work qualifies for that description - that was a magnificent layout and the attention to detail was something else - inspirational!

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12 hours ago, DERAILED said:

G601 class locos were supplied for lightly used branchlines (Newmarket, Castleisland etc.) rather than as shunting locomotives.

Looking forward to visiting the museum.

Yes, and trials at Foynes... but they also shunted here and there, as did the G611s. I think one of the 601s also did a stint on the Banagher branch, and Mitchelstown as well. One spent some time shunting Glanmire Road too, though I have no evidence of it ever going across to Albert Quay. They would have been as useless as shunters as they were as branch engines!

Having driven one myself, I can attest to what others know anyway - they can't pull this skin off a rice pudding, and while you can get them going, if they've anything more than two bogies behind them, they sometimes don't like stopping.....

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Internationally small shunting Tractors like the Duetz tended to be used mainly at small-medium sized goods yards/industrial sidings in order to free up main line locomotives from shunting duties and speed up goods train working. Locally Kiwirail hire out tractors not unlike the G Class for shunting at private sidings, the main line locomotive usually picking up or setting out a complete train or a cut of wagons from the reception track at the customers siding.

G601-3 appear to have been introduced for the experimental  re-opening of certain branch lines including Banteer-Newmarket to regular goods traffic as an alternative to complete closure. Several branch lines lost their scheduled goods service during the 1947 coal crisis but remained open for cattle & beet specials but were costing nearly as much to maintain as lines with a scheduled goods service. At the time the Newmarket re-opening was successful in reviving goods traffic but failed to cover operating and (very low) track maintenance costs and no doubt rates on buildings.

Castleisland and Banager were the other two branches to have their scheduled goods service re-instated, Castleisland seems to have been the most successful staying open into the late 1970s.

The Clara would have been an ideal location for a small shunting tractor like a G Class with two goods yards and a number of private sidings in addition to trip workings to Banagher. Steam and later C Class diesels took over Banagher branch workings during the autumn beet campaign.

The second batch G611- seem to have been intended for similar work just as branch line closures eliminated the need for small shunting trip working locos.  A G611 was based at Tralee for shunting and trip working duties to Castleisland and Fenit. Use at Fenit appears to have been mainly as a shunting locomotive in connection with ship arrivals, working wagons between the Pier and Station with main line locomotives working trains from Fenit to Tralee and other destinations.

The G611 rostered as Liffey Junction replaced a Midland tank loco on wagon pilot duties and also worked cattle specials on the Edenderry Branch and over the Meath Line from Liffey Junction to Drumree & occasionally Kilmessan Junction before both branches closed in 1963. 

A G611 worked the last revenue earning train over the Clonsilla Junction-Navan Junction Line a 17 wagon stock special to Drumree & Kilmessan in 1963, a special dispensation was given for a G Class to load to 17 wagons as nothing heavier was allowed over the line on account of the state of the track. Apparently the loco transmission overheated climbing the grade from Liffey Junction to Clonsilla and the crew waited for a time at Clonsilla for things to cool down before tackling the grades on the Meath Line. Shunting was difficult at Drumree and Kilmessan and the loco was unable to lift the cattle wagons off the loading bank at Drumree, a couple of "farm lads" helped push the train out onto the main line, before running round and running down-grade all the way to Liffey Junction.  article by "Spare Link' in GSRPS journal 1980s


Edited by Mayner
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I will correct my post above. I was thinking of the J30 class steam engines....  I will rephrase my FIRST sentence above by saying that I am UNAWARE of a G going to Mitchelstown! As already mentioned, it closed in 1954, a year before the first three G's came, so I'm not sure. If anyone else can confirm, please do. My other comments about their wanderings stand....

I'm getting old and senile.

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