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End of the line 1940s Ulster railways

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With the need for urgent climate action would Ulster give its right arm to have these railways back? With petrol and diesel engined cars being banned from 2030  rail may take on a new significance in public transport both for passengers, commuters and goods. One wonders what will replace the flirty Nox spewing diesel engines that run our current railways, presume electric is a strong possibility with either 3rd rail or pantograph.

I never realised the rail network in NI had been so extensive at one stage in its past. Just watch a video 'End of the line' with some suited transport minister filmed late 1940s extolling cars and roads as the modern replacement for what were then inefficient railways. Suppose its easy with hindsight to have a different view. The need for urgent climate action may just save some lines in ROI that are currently at risk (eg Limerick-Waterford, Limerick-Nenagh-Ballybrophy, etc), and trigger reinvestment and reopening of lines such as foynes, Waterford-Rosslare, western rail corridor back up as far as Claremorris and Sligo. Enough greenways and I say that as a leisure cyclist, a great shame Youghal to middleton is not also reopening for Cork commuters, instead of yet another cycleway.  Don't know what date the graphic below represents, but the enniskillen link was absent from it. Obviously post 1922.

UlsterRailways.thumb.png.9ee54fbe2c516d9b57abfef24c74177f.png

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Edited by Noel
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  • Noel changed the title to End of the line 1940s Ulster railways

The graphic is odd as it shows lines which closed in 1933 but not those still open in 57! Is it a screen grab of a graphic that was still ‘growing’ ?

Re closures - there was certainly debate at Stormont re opening up at least part of the old BCDR main line in the early 50s. In one of his final speeches the late J M Andrews ( Prime Minister 1940-3 and former BCDR director whose mill had a private siding ) took the Govt to task over it. 

Edited by Galteemore
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4 hours ago, Noel said:

With the need for urgent climate action would Ulster give its right arm to have these railways back? With petrol and diesel engined cars being banned from 2030  rail may take on a new significance in public transport both for passengers, commuters and goods. One wonders what will replace the flirty Nox spewing diesel engines that run our current railways, presume electric is a strong possibility with either 3rd rail or pantograph.

Hydrogen

Third rail is deprecated these days

Edited by NIR
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8 hours ago, Noel said:

With the need for urgent climate action would Ulster give its right arm to have these railways back? With petrol and diesel engined cars being banned from 2030  rail may take on a new significance in public transport both for passengers, commuters and goods. One wonders what will replace the flirty Nox spewing diesel engines that run our current railways, presume electric is a strong possibility with either 3rd rail or pantograph.

I never realised the rail network in NI had been so extensive at one stage in its past. Just watch a video 'End of the line' with some suited transport minister filmed late 1940s extolling cars and roads as the modern replacement for what were then inefficient railways. Suppose its easy with hindsight to have a different view. The need for urgent climate action may just save some lines in ROI that are currently at risk (eg Limerick-Waterford, Limerick-Nenagh-Ballybrophy, etc), and trigger reinvestment and reopening of lines such as foynes, Waterford-Rosslare, western rail corridor back up as far as Claremorris and Sligo. Enough greenways and I say that as a leisure cyclist, a great shame Youghal to middleton is not also reopening for Cork commuters, instead of yet another cycleway.  Don't know what date the graphic below represents, but the enniskillen link was absent from it. Obviously post 1922.

UlsterRailways.thumb.png.9ee54fbe2c516d9b57abfef24c74177f.png

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This map is plain and simply preposterous. 

South of Omagh, it does not show the line down to Enniskillen, or from there either to Sligo or Clones. It does not show the Ulster Railway west of Armagh. It does not show Bundoran Junction nor the line branching off towards Bundoran; NO railways in Fermanagh are shown at all!These lines all closed in 1957. I haven't even included mentioning the short bit of the LLSR from Pennyburn. The fact that it was finally closed in 1953 doesn't seem relevant, if the Cushendall narrow gauge is still shown!

What it DOES show, is sections of the NCC narrow gauge which closed in the 1930s, plus a NON-EXISTENT line from somewhere about Richill, by the look of it, to somewhere about Goraghwood; if this is intended to show the erstwhile Goraghwood to Armagh line, (a) it's WAY off the mark, and (b) it, too, closed in part in the 1930s, and the remaining bit had no passenger service from the 1930s.

Now, if we look at the source of this map, and the times within which it was produced, old Stormont government propaganda is all over it. See the missing bits? They omit five lines which crossed the border, and both the Derry - Strabane routes are shown as being within the north; only one was - the main GNR line having another two border crossings between Strabane and Derry.

In short, it is so ridden with inaccuracies as to be completely misleading in one sense, and useless in another.

Thus, while it may surprise some to know how comprehensive the rail network once was within the area shown, there was in fact MORE mileage than the map shows above.

To  be fair, there's no way under the sun that the majority of it would have survived, even in an environment where, say, you had a rigidly pro-rail pattern of government from 1940 to 2021; nor in a situation with no border - be it a "united Ireland" under Dublin, London or Brussels rule. The fact remains, that lines line the CVR, the C&VBT, the Derry Central, and many others would not have survived today. But it is probable that SOME would; notably the "Derry Road", some more of the BCDR, Portadown to Armagh, and possibly Dundalk - Enniskillen.

We will recall the late Glover's excellent layout based on the western part of the GNR had it survived the massive closures in 1957. Take that to today; an ICR meeting a CAF4K in Enniskillen, anyone? (though the goods yard would be the graffiti-covered back wall of a Tesco car park...........!)

I saw that programme on TV some time back - some great views of trains!

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There were three circular routes serving Belfast, the still existing one through Lisburn and Antrim, and the now closed ones through Cookstown and Derry/Londonderry. The latter still partly exists through Coleraine.

Stephen

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6 hours ago, Dhu Varren said:

The routes to Derry/Londonderry could hardly be called a circular route as there was no connection between the GNR Foyle Road and the NCC Waterside stations. 

I was talking theoretically. I believe consideration was given during WW2 to laying a third rail on the CDJRC Derry to Strabane line so that all military traffic didn’t have to go via the NCC line. The GNRI Derry to Strabane ran through neutral Ireland.

Stephen

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Correct serous talks held in 1941 in this issue. Two things stopoedcit such as the topography of the line as the GNR route was flat and level unlike the NG line

 Secondly by the time it was on the table it was 1942 and the tide in WW2 had started to slowly turn

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1 hour ago, StevieB said:

I was talking theoretically. I believe consideration was given during WW2 to laying a third rail on the CDJRC Derry to Strabane line so that all military traffic didn’t have to go via the NCC line. The GNRI Derry to Strabane ran through neutral Ireland.

Stephen

That's correct. Surveys were done by the NCC.

Re the map above, now we see it - as Galteemore says, it was PART downloaded; they've still left out Castlederg, but we'll let them away with that just this once!

My comment about government policy is therefore not applicable to this map - though it was, sadly, in general!

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