The last running of original stock
took place on Saturday
1st June 2013 when we took it over there. See link above
right for more pictures.
Above, the real thing in 2003;
and Tralee Aquadome (right).
About the model
The 3ft gauge Tralee and Dingle Railway was opened in
1891 and, in total, was 371 miles long. The
railways’ closure in 1953, was inevitable given the onslaught of road
traffic, though to its dying day was considered to be the ‘last
great adventure in railroading’ by Pat Whitehouse amongst others!
Having read accounts of hair-raising journeys along the line in the late
40’s and 50’s, it seemed you were lucky to manage the journey in one
piece, the Irish Railway authorities demanding you sign a disclaimer of
responsibility for injury, before travel!
Above left; My
model of No.2 next to the crossing keepers cottage which is almost right but
not quite! Right;
Dingle Train, Rowlands and McGrath and published by
Plateway Press; the same position but in the 1950's
with dumped lorry cabs!
We as a group decided to model part of the railway back in 1994,
partly as a challenge to improve our own modelling skills and also to
exploit the growing availability of high quality etched brass,
whitemetal and plastic kits from such manufacturers as
‘Parkside Dundas’ and ‘Worsley
Works’. The stock is therefore constructed mostly from kits, often
with some modification, though there are an increasing number of scratch built items. All
of the buildings and structures however have had to be carefully
researched and then scratch built. The track is also hand made and is
code 60 rail either glued, or soldered to rivets located in plywood
sleepers, to the correct gauge of 12mm.
To get a longer run and a better feel for the prototype
we decided to extend the layout into an L shape. This extension features
a level crossing based on the one at Skylough, and a model of Lispole
viaduct. The fiddle yard board has a display of several historic
photos showing relevant features of the line - hopefully recognisable in
Above far left;
A somewhat reluctant donkey is dragged towards the farm crossing as the
Iron Horse takes a light train back to Tralee. Above
left; Train and
carriage, though hardly at any pace, along the roadside section.
Above right; Sitting
peacefully overlooking Dingle bay on a warm summer evening as a train
quietly drifts into Dingle Station...such are dreams!
Above far right; The shadows
lengthen and an evening train returns to Tralee.
This project has been an experimental one as far as
we are concerned and we have all learned a great deal, whether it has
been in making stock, buildings, baseboard
construction, trackwork, a working turntable or working level crossing
gates interlocked with a further set of signals.
We don’t claim to be particularly good at modelling or we would know
the answers straight away, but we do believe we have progressed a long
way and most importantly, we enjoy what we are doing. Of course
what we do next could be interesting!
Below left and middle;
Double header on Lispole viaduct - real one in 1934. Middle
right; Lispole viaduct close up
of girder work. Right two;
the real Lispole viaduct undressed (D. Rowlands) and mine (May 2005)!
a blurred view, but nevertheless closer to the
model view! Centre;
a traveller's eye view!
Right; from the Western end of the
station, by the crossing gates.
& Middle; The 'barn' and
layout at Dingle - the real thing in the 1950's (courtesy D. Rowlands)
A corrected far end of the layout - Dingle town end.
left; 5T about to leave
the station, a view with the 'new' barn behind. Above
middle; The barn at
Dingle in both model and real form (taken August 2003). Right;
A slightly gloomy roadside tramway view on the road out of Dingle.
Please contact me
you do not wish any of the 'real' photos on this page to appear for
copyright reasons and I will remove them. Hopefully you will agree
though, that they are only here to enhance the model rather than for any
The layout appeared in Railway Modeller
in December 2002, January and February 2003. There was also an article
on the building of No. 5T in November's Issue (2003)
For information about modelling the railway please feel free
to download the two articles written for the Railway Modeller.
From our own recent show at Saltney (2013 -
Dingle's last appearance in this country)
I helped Paul Titmuss with
his layout - a model of Annascaul Station - at the 009 AGM in Rainford - 9th
The real thing taken by Ivo Peters in 1951 from the north bank of the station.
The model from a similar view. Why we didn't refer to the picture better I
don't know - I have a model of the Pickering wagon at the head of the train!
Centre and centre right;
A recreation of the last train in July 1953. It was hauled by loco No 8T
with converted bogie brake coaches (ex brake thirds) 2T and 5T (at the rear).
The only thing missing is the large number of people on the platform!
One of the few 'scenic' views of the line - the final train heading towards
Dingle coming down the hill towards Emalough - provenance unknown.
watering over the crossing.
From Leigh Show
Dingle Station with late 1940's break van and cattle train
in the loop Centre;
loading the coal cart - well some are!
Right; odd to see it the right way round -
Far left; 5T waits to take
its Cavan & Leitrim train to the platform. Second
from left; 2T - the oldest of our locos - waits to depart with a
cattle train. Third and fourth left;
Keith's Donegal Class 5 - modified from a Backwoods kit - which ran beautifully.
Centre right; scratch and Worsley Works
built Cavan & Leitrim stock. Third from right;
stock ready to be loaded. Right two;
it's a hard life for some - John and Andy prepare for action - Simon wondering
why his camera is pointing at him!
On the 28th May 2007 we were visited by Kevin and Mary Ann
Cunningham from Boston. Mary's mother came from Baunogue near Garrynadur
on the Dingle peninsula.
Left and centre; No2T
approaches Lispole station with a short relief train. Pictures taken on
Paul Titmuss's diorama, which he kindly brought over on the Monday night. Right;
Paul is on the left, with John, Robert, Kevin and Mary Ann.
A more Cultra'd view (sorry couldn't resist). Taken at
the show at Cultra on 18th November 2006. A view of Dingle
station had the line lasted a bit longer and perhaps been dieselized?
Wishful thinking maybe. There was some discussion over whether the
railcars would have made it up Glenagalt! Picture courtesy of Laurence
A picture from Merseyside Show left;
headed train at Skylough Crossing. In Dingle - Marina building!
Above right two; One,
two, three, five, six! Five Hunslet's at Dingle station, whilst at Dingle.
Actually, from left to right, 3T, 5T and 2T to the rear, with 1T and 6T in
front. Right, The gang at
Dingle, left to right; Tom (trip co-ordinator
for Dingle Historical Society),
Jim, Andy, Robert, Simon, John, Steven
corner board with level crossing closed to CDR No14 railcar.
Left centre; the Lispole express!
Centre; overall view of Dingle station.
Right; this train will never
get over Glenagalt - looks impressive though!
Below - from the
pages of Railway Modeller (Peco publications) and famed camera of Len
Information about the original and Tralee
and Blennerville line
December 2013 - Sadly there
is to be a political reorganisation in the area and the promised funding is
unlikely to be still available.
May 2013 - The Kerry Model
Railway Association opens its new visitor attraction at the Blennerville
Windmill. The association have their own model railways and Chester MRC's
own 'Dingle' layout. As well as the layouts, the large room contains old
photographs and memorabilia from the line. Profits from the entrance fee
are being put towards the reconstruction of the line.
October 2011 - According to
Kerry's Eye paper the railway is due to reopen next August run by 5T which
will have been fully refurbished by then. Tenders for the repair of the
loco are currently under consideration.
"Tralee Town Council hopes to have the
steam train between Tralee and
Blennerville back on track next year,
following the receipt of tenders to
restore the locomotive which last
operated on the railway line in 2006.
The council is currently assessing bids
to revamp the No 5T locomotive from its
current stripped down condition at
Blennerville and its conversion from
coal to oil and biofuel burning.
When the steam train operated along the
line from the Aqua Dome to the windmill
at Blennerville, it was one of Kerry’s
biggest tourist attractions. The
Town Council hopes its revival will
enhance the development of the Lee
Valley Eco-Park which is almost
complete. It is expected that the
locomotive will be fully operational by
the autumn of 2012.
April 2010 - Apparently
the West Clare diesel has now returned to the Moyasta (it was only for hire
short term). There is no news yet as to what may be happening to services
this year on the Tralee and Blennerville line. There is supposedly a
diesel for hire from the CDDRS at Donegal town, but whether something will come
of this who knows?
August 2009 - Fantastic
news. As of last Saturday (1st August) trains are being hauled again over
the Blennerville line, albeit by a couple of 3ft gauge diesels! At least
the news is positive. The fittings of T&D No.5T havenow been
placedunder coveralthough no progress has been made in restoring
the loco to its former glory. Hopefully the news from up the road in
Moyasta (West Clare line) where
Slieve Callan has been returned to steam after a massive investmentwill be an incentive. As a result of that loco's return the diesel
that ran the trains on that line has been released to work on the Blennerville
August 2008 - Sadly the
diesel which was to help out was needed elsewhere. 5T has trouble with her boiler,
which needs extensive overhaul and there is a crack in the original 1891 built
forged-steel collar that joins the firebox and boiler. This will also need
repair. Sadly this means that there
any wont be any service this year. Let us all hope for better news for
next year! More details and rather sad pictures of a boiler rusting in
the open, can be seen on the
December - 2007 - The operators of the Jeanie Johnston have now also taken over
Blennerville Windmill and the T&D Steam Train. The comments from Brendan
Dinneen are as follows "we know that people were disappointed that the
the Steam Train did not run in 2007, however a major overhaul was
required. A back up diesel is being acquired in order to assure
continuity of service from April 2008.The steam engine is being
stripped down for survey and will be back in operation by May
2008.Winter maintenance of track and fencing is also under way."
Thanks to Dewi Lewis for this information.
motive power at Blennerville station - click on picture to read the latest on the Tralee
blog. The loco is on loan from the West Clare preservation group at
Moyasta, who have kindly sent is as they now have newly restored Slieve Callan
to run their services!
It is worth
contacting Blennerville Windmill for details - Windmill is:open daily: April-October
10.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m. Telephone: 066 7121064
Plaque on the harbour branch of the railway between Dingle
station and the town. Picture courtesy of Tom Fox.
Video from Youtube of the line Past/Present with
sections of film I believe to be from Patrick Whitehouse's 'Fair Days Only',
taken in the 1950's. Centre; a short section of video coming down by bus
from Gleanangalt. As the road runs parallel to the railway for this
stretch, you could easily imagine it as looking out of the carriage on a clear
the short section from Michael Palin's Great Railway Journeys which shows the
Tralee Blennerville Line as restored. It also shows 5T in steam and
pulling a couple of coaches. Let's hope that the money can be found for
this to happen again sooner rather than later.
See us at the virtual narrow-gauge exhibition, hit the
Left picture courtesy of
D. G. Rowlands - the goods shed. Very few pictures exist of the goods
shed, even though this one shows it when the line was closed.
is a picture from
Railways in Camera 1860-1913 by
Robin Linsley, Budding Books 2000.
This is the only picture I have seen showing the river clearly and this
was a damaged print which I have repaired to the best of my ability.
Lispole Viaduct today (May 2005)
feel free to contact us for more details -