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Proposed Donegal congestion railways from the 1880's

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Colin R

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Hi guys, I know it is a wonderful thing to be able to just sit back and look through the pile of model railway magazines and books if you are looking for that one piece of information, but I am now thinking that it could be on line somewhere.

The information I am seeking is the proposed extensions to both the Donegal and Swilly lines to help relive the congestion of the North West part of Ireland, after the potato faming in the 1880’s.

I am sure I have seen a map and a drawing of all the proposals for the area somewhere but can I recall it? No.

Thanks once again for any help given.


Colin Rainsbury   


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The three principal ones were built - Buncrana - Carndonagh, Letterkenny - Burtonport and Donegal - Killybegs.

A little further south, several were proposed but not built: Ballyshannon - Sligo (several proposals), Ballina - Crossmolina - Belmullet, Owenduff between Mallaranny & Achill - Ballycroy - Belmullet, and probably more.

Right across Ireland there were many, many railways which were proposed but never built, both in the 1830s-1860s initial phase, and the post-Famine late 1880s-90s following the establishment of the Congested Districts Board.

I believe that there were several alternatives to the Letterkenny-Strabane and Letterkenny-Derry routes considered too, before the eventual routes were actually built.


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45 minutes ago, airfixfan said:

There is a map from this period showing thrvpropsed lines in the North West on display in the Donegal Railway Heritage Centre.

Thanks, sadly I can't get over to see it right now and at this rate I don't have a clue as to when that will be, but thanks for the heads up guys.

I can see another book for you JHB, the proposed railways of Ireland, I would buy a copy if you included typical designs of building by the proposed railway company it would appeal to modellers I am sure.

From the research I have done on the Donegal, I have come to the conclusion that there were four different design periods of the railway line from Donegal to Killysbeg and the Ballyshannon lines have different architecture, the main line as I call it from Strabane to Stranorlar had a more robust design and both the Letterkenny and the Glenties branches also had different but typical Irish narrow gauge designs based on typical department of works designs.

I am thinking it would be possible to come up with a generic station building which could be used for Irish Modellers, A brick version for anyone who wants a GNR(I) style building, a stone version for mostly anywhere else and possibly a rendered version for some of the more important stations around Ireland, this could be done on the same basis as the many way Peco station kit, the big difference for Irish station buildings is the use of arched windows, I know this is a very simplistic view of station buildings but if you have the basics you can modify them to your hearts content.    


Colin R

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