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IRELANDS OPERATING BUS MUSEUM - 2006

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CZECH RAILWAYS - SLOVAK RAILWAYS - ROMANIAN RAILWAYS

IRISH RAILWAYS - TRALEE AND BLENNERVILLE STEAM RAILWAY
FFESTINIOG RAILWAY - GREAT ORME TRAMWAY

CHALKS OCEAN AIRWAYS - ISLAND HELICOPTERS - CZECH AIRLINES
SWANSEA CORK FERRIES - DEELIS TURF POWER STATION

LATEST RAIL NEWS AND PHOTOS

TRALEE AND DINGLE LIGHT RAILWAY RUNS AGAIN.

July 17, 2006. The Tralee and Dingle Light Railway has recommenced operations for the 2006 season between Tralee and Blennerville.

The idea of building a railway between Tralee and Dingle was first approved by the Privy Council in 1884 but no further progress was made until, four years later, and with the support of a Kerry Knight, Sir Maurice Fitzgerald, approval was again given. The "Tralee and Dingle Light Railway" was incorporated on 17 September 1888. The experienced railway contractor Robert Worthington had wanted to lay the rails to the standard Irish gauge of 5 foot 3 inches. However, one look at the required severe gradients and curvature, led to the three foot gauge being adopted.

The line took three years to build, the contractor starting at Blennerville, with each mile costing Ł2700. Nearly all of the thirty one miles of railway ran next to the roadway - with no fencing for much of the way. The rails also crossed from one side of the road to the other from time to time. There were mostly no gates and trains assumed the right of way. Speeds rarely exceeded 12 miles per hour.

The "branch" from Lower Camp to Castlegregory was six miles long, few severe gradients and had a different character from the "main line".

By 1925, the line was in a poor state and was taken over by the Great Southern Railway. Passenger and goods traffic continued until the outbreak of Second World War when the Castlegrogory Branch closed completely and passenger services withdrawn on the remaining sections. The fuel shortages brought on by the War caused the line to run "as required" from 1944 to 1947, and thereafter trains, for cattle, ran only on the last Saturday of each month for the Dingle Fair until 1953 when the line finally closed for normal traffic.

Shortly after the last cattle train on 26 June 1953, a special train carried 45 local people from Tralee to Dingle organised for the benefit of the Light Railway Transport League and the Irish Railway Record Society. A small group of Dingle schoolchildren enjoyed a short trip by train up the Mail Road from Dingle Station by way of celebration amidst much local regret at the final closing of their "Dingle Railway".

One tends to forget that Irish Railways and NIR are not the only scheduled passenger railways in Ireland. The Tralee and Dingle Light Railway, operating as the Tralee and Blennerville Steam Railway is a 3 foot narrow gauge Railway is the only scheduled passenger narrow gauge railway in Ireland.

It operates from May to September hourly on the hour from 1100 to 1700 from Tralee Ballyard station alongside the Aquadome to Blennerville Windmill centre returning on the half hour and takes some twenty minutes.

Blennerville has the only working windmill in the country and a visit to the entire operation is highly recommended for the entire family. It has a fabulous visitor centre and the windmill is a tour in itself. There is an excellent restaurant where refreshments can be obtained.

It is one line loco, but what a loco! The loco is one of the original line locos No. 5T built by Hunslet in 1892. John Deane and Ger Cremins are the regular drivers and firemen, with the original cross qualification boith being both drivers and firemen. Joe Curran is the regular Guard. Eoin Murphy currently does gates and pointsman at Tralee Aquadome station.

The spiked track is in good condition and many of the fishplates are originals GSWR of 1925. There are two ex Bilbao coaches in operating condition and two awaiting restoration. The lack of a backup diesel is a problem and if anyone knows of a spare diesel which could be donated let me know.

To the delight of many, a steam train still operates over a short stretch of the old Dingle line. What is more incredible is the steam loco is a genuine survivor of the Tralee and Dingle Railway. The Hunslet-built 2-6-2T no 5 is back on the line it was built for, despite being moved away to the Cavan and Leitrim Railway upon closure of the home line. When the Cavan line closed, no 5 was acquired for the Steamtown museum in the United States and was shipped across the Atlantic. On display for many years, the fairy tale continued when the loco made the return journey to Kerry, was restored to full working order and in 1993 re-commenced duties on the relayed Tralee to Blennerville section. In the summer months, no 5 can be found on most days, pulling two coaches across the saltmarshes. Starting from a platform on the site of the old, long-vanished, Blennerville Station, overlooked by the famous white Windmill, the train follows the old trackbed alongside the lane to Hillyard, then veers away to cross a tidal tributary. Just before the old route once crossed the River Lee, the new line turns to the east, over a level crossing and a new platform close by Tralee's new Aquadome. The loco and rolling stock is maintained at a small works at Blennerville, reached by a level crossing over the Hillyard road. The crossing is on an acute angle, similar to the many crossings on the old line and generates scenes of the past at the start and end of the working day when the loco traverses the roadway. A trip on the train is always a wonderful experience. The service is run by the local Blennerville Windmill Company - ring 00-353-(66)-712-1064 or email blenmill@eircom.net.

There is approximately one day per month when no trains run as the Railway has just the one loco. Therefore it is always best to check operating dates and train times - try ringing 00-353-(66)-712-1064.

The service is run by the Tralee Town Council who while they are to be congratulated on their initiative in operating it have a lot to learn in terms of making money. Realistically if the line is ever to make money it will have to go into the Tralee Irish Rail station where it originally went and be extended in the other direction for a reasonable direction. I hope the Council have the vision to do this as they have already seen how successful it can be.

At the other end it also needs extension and in my view Camp should be the first aim and at that stage a decision on whether it should go to Dingle or on the original branch to Castlegregory. There is no doubt in my mind that if went back to Dingle it could be the finest tourist attraction in the country and rival European lines such as the Harz but the present operation is not going to make money.

THE FOLLOWING PHOTOGRAPHS GIVE A FLAVOUR OF THE LINE

The windmill is striking as you approach the station.

Crest on the side of the coach.

Loco No. 5 just as it was turned out in 1892.

Manufacturers Plate.

On arrival at Blennerville before running around.

Taking water after running around!

Cab general view.

Cab controls top.

Regulator and bottom.

A good fire for plenty of steam.

Crew left to right, Driver John Deane, Fireman/Driver Ger Cremins, Gate Keeper and Pointsman, Eoin Murphy, and Guard Joe Curran.

Original narrow Gauge Coupling.

No cows on track! All gone!.

Approaching the old turnoff for Tralee (IR) Station.

Ducks enjoy themselves in the sun.

Looking where the line went originally to the IR station.

You can just see the old bridge girders in the centre.

On arrival at Tralee (Ballyard) Station..

Having run around, ready for the return trip.

Eoin Murphy unlocking the points, an unusual system.

After moving turn the points.

HW& C 1921.

GSWR emblem is clearly visible .

Leaving Aquadome Station.

Crossing the bridge out of Aquadome Station.

Irelands summer heatwave has been having some fun with the track.

Through the cutting.

Out onto the flat.

Approaching Blennerville.

Had to get the webmaster in doing what he likes best when not driving a bus!

An unforgettable sight as you leave.

IRISH RAIL STRIKE OVER.

May 17, 2006. The strike was "solved" and is over and the Mk 4's are in service. An article will follow. Phil Flynn "negotiated" at 1100 euro per day a settlement. John Keenan had gone on radio saying he would never negotiate with the unions while the Mk 4's were not in service yet the following day he had to eat humble pie and do just that.

The truth is that what was agreed had been offered to John Keenan during the weekend before the strike but he turned it down as his ego demanded a strike. For someone like him with this attitude to industrial relations to be senior management in the railway beggars belief and he should be fired. He and he alone caused the strike and there was neither excuse nor need for it.Any you know the staff did have a point in that the drivers in Cork had never had a chance to drive the new trains or have any training and in my view it was unreasonable to expect them to go into passenger service unless they at least had a run down the line with them to be happy with the handling. Driving a push pull is not the same as driving normal loco pulled trains. But John wanted his strike, John got his strike and the UK managers did nothing because they want to give him enough rope to hang himself so they can get rid of him and again they succeeded also in their objectives. But it is no way to run a railway so why not fire John now and stop this nonsense happening again?

IRISH RAIL STRIKE.

May 15, 2006. For sheer ineptitude, John Keenan and his Dublin Managers take a beating. He lives in a long forgotten world of Victorian Industrial Relations. Even worse John Keenan on RTE this morning lied through his teeth.

The facts are as follows:
1. John Keenan knew last week that the MK 4 sets would not be driven today.
2. Management last night decided to change the MK4 to operate the 0530 today.
3. They knew this would provoke a strike and had contingency plans in place. John Keenan and his cohorts deliberately set out to cause the strike.
4. The drivers offered to operate the rest of the trains normally but management said that since the 530 did not go then they were cancelling all trains today. Management cancelled them.
5. John Keenan now has made the deliberate decision that no trains were to be operated until the drivers knuckle under.
5. The staff are willing and able to operate all the other trains but have been refused permission by management.

Look, it is managements job to run the trains. There should be no excuses and there is certainly none when management themselves deliberately cancel trains. They should get up off the rear ends and get things sorted out fast or else do the honouruable thing and resign if they are not able. They current plan for a strike for a month is not on.

This says it all. It applies to Managements minds as well.

No trains either.

Poor Andrew Roche trying to explain his bosses ineptitude to irate passengers.

Closeup.

The new Dublin Train alias a bus.

May 7, 2006. THE CHILDRENS RAILWAY OF BUDAPEST.

HISTORY.

7 MAY 2006. I have just visited what is arguably one of the most efficient railways in the world and run by children from 10 to 14 years old. This is the Childrens Railway of Budapest.

The Children's Railway is located in the west of the city of Budapest, the capital city of Hungary. Its eleven-kilometre-long, narrow gauge line runs through the woods of the hills of the city on the Buda side.

The origin of the railway was a desire by the Hungarian Communist Government to train young people so that when they joined the main railway they wetre already well experienced. It was a great idea and the immaculately uniformed children take a pride in the railway and run it like a clock far better than any other railway I have been one.

The construction of the Pioneer Railway was started at Szechenyi-hegy on llth April 1948. It is almost unbelievable that the first 3.1 km length stage to Viragvolgy (used to be 'E1ore') was finished within 66 working days. The first train started from Szechenyi-hegy with an opening celebration on 31st July 1948. The construction went on quickly so in 1949 the second stage was opened.

The whole track was finished on 19th August 1950. The Hars-hill caused a lot of trouble: the construction workers had to build two viaducts and a 198 m length horseshoe-shaped tunnel.

The Railway Workshop at Huvosvolgy has been working since 1951. One of it's attractions is a turntable. The length of the whole track is 11,2 km and with a 20 km/h speed the trip takes 45 minutes. During this short time passengers can take pleasure in the beautiful woodland scene and observe the children on duty who are only 10-14 years old but take responsibility for working as cashier, pointsman, ticket inspector or traffic manager. This narrow gauge railway is controlled by children since the beginning, but - of course - under supervision of adults.

The name was changed from Pioneer's Railway to Children's Railway in 1990 but the tasks are the same: to transport passengers and to familiarise interested children with the railway system.

It is often called "the greatest child toy of the world," but it is not entirely true. Children aged 10 to 14 control the traffic and commercial services provided but strictly according to regulations of any other railway line of the State Railways of Hungary (MÁV Rt) and is run as a division of MAV.

The engines are driven by adult engineers, and children on duty, are continuously supervised by adult railway employees. Apart from that, children do their jobs, operate the switches and signals, print tickets and keep passengers informed, on their own.

The railway operates throughout the year, except for Mondays from September to April. Trains run from 9 o'clock in the morning until 5 o'clock in the winter and until 7 o'clock in the summer.

It is often called "the greatest child toy of the world," but it is not entirely true. Children aged 10 to 14 control the traffic and commercial services provided but strictly according to regulations of any other railway line of the State Railways of Hungary (MÁV Rt). I can assure readers that I have never come across a raiulway where the employees take such a pride in it and many other railways could learn form it. It is a real slick opertaion .

The Railway's diesel locos are the new (1972) Roumanian loco's built by the 23rd August Works. These are clasified Mk45 by the Hungarian Railways (The same type is classified Lxd2 by Polish railways). There is one steam engine No. 490-056 which is a relatively modern machine built by MAVAG in Budapest in 1950.

Recommended Journey
For those, who are interested in an excursion by the Children's Railway and do not intend to visit any of the nearby tourist destinations, a one-way or return journey can be recommended starting at Széchenyi-hegy Station.

Széchenyi-hegy Station can be reached by Tram Line 56 from Moszkva tér, the centre of the Buda side of Budapest, changing over to the Rack Railway at Városmajor ('Fogaskerekű Vasút' stop). The single journey, descent route, ends in Hűvösvölgy, nearby the terminal of the city's public transport company and from where Tram Line 56 runs back to Moszkva tér.

Welcome to the Childrens Railway.

The Station at Huvosvology is just above the bus and tram depot.

The railway can be busy as the timetabloe shows. There are two steamn round trips on weekends. All other services are diesel.

Dispatch Room.

Map of the System.

Checker, immaculately dressed makes his way to the train.

Today it is diesel No. 2001.

It is MAV Class 45

These are Romanian Diesels built in 1972.

The Cab

Seats are rarely used.

Electrics are vintage Communist, solid, simple and work!

Following Train, the 1015 is steam powered..

A relatively modern engine built in Budapest in 1950.

Some coaches have soft seating.

And some have hard seats.

No mistaking where this train goes - clear and unambiuous.

2 trains now ready for departure, 1000 diesel and 1015 steam behind it.

Signal is off.

Platform Inspector gives the away and

Then smartly salutes as train pulls out.

Tail end of the diesel which smokes typcially of the era.

Steam follows shortly after.

Through sylvan glades.

The first meet.

2004 is immaculate.

As are her coaches.

A diesel meet.

2001 meets 2002.

At Szechenyi-hegy terminus the steam engine runs around.

Couplings follow standard practice.

Driver with loco.

Fireman.

Cab Inside.

Another View.

Yet Another View.

Driver in Cab.

Keeping a watchful eye out.

Awaiting the diesel at the meet.

A view over the city.

Home and Distant, Eastern European Style.

On the viaduct.

Another Meet.

Closeup of the flowers.

Back at Husovolgy taking the set to the yard.

Train Crew.

Webmaster with 2004.

Webmaster with crew.

Checking tickets.

Closeup.

Another Checker.

Peter, Super Salesman!

LIMA TO HUANCAYO GETS PASSENGER SERVICE AGAIN.

27 FEBRUARY 2006. I am happy to report that passenger service recommences on the highest railway in the world from Lima to Huancayo on April 13, 2006.

THE HIGHEST TRAIN IN THE WORLD IS RUNNING AGAIN!
Departure: April 13th 2006

I am glad to announce that after 15 years of campaign, the beginning of a new era for the trains in Peru commences on April 13. The Central Andes Train will be running weekly from April 13th 2006!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Highest train in the world is The pan-Andean line which climbs 5,072m (16,640ft) above sea level and runs across Peru's snow-covered plateau - dubbed the roof of the world. It is without doubt one of the most fantastic train journeys anywhere and now available for only 55 dolalrs or about 45 euro return.

Train Schedule is:
The train will leave from Lima each Friday from April 20, 2006 except July 30. 2006 at 7:00 a.m. from the Desamparados Train Station (behind the Government Palace, Central Lima). The train will arrive in Huancayo at around 7:00 p.m.

The train will return from Huancayo every Sunday at 07:00 hrs. and will arrive in Lima at around 1800 hrs.

There are two special trips on Thursday April 13, 2006 and July 29, 2006 which are four day trips to allow one to visit Cerro De Pasco and the fantastic stone forests of Huallay if one wants to. These two trips return on the following Sunday on the above schedule. If going to Pasco it is possible to leave and pickup the train at La Oroya some 3 hours before Huancayo.

The Cost Roundtrip is US$55
Price includes :
Ticket delivery to your hotel in Lima
Train Ticket from Lima - Huancayo
Transfer to your Hotel in Huancayo from the train station.
Maps and useful information about the train trip and the Central Andes.
Bookings should be made through:
Lucha Hurtado
Incas del Peru
Address : Ave. Giraldez # 652, Huancayo - Peru
Telephone : 51-64-223303
Fax/Ans/Tel: 51-64-222395

I would note in passing that it is mainly due to the efforts of Lucha and other devoted souls in Peru that this train is running again and if it is not supported then it will fail so do come and ride on it. I would like to think that the website articles helped as well.

Recommendations Arrive early to the train station.
Bring some food for the trip. (Food on the train will be US$8 for a small breakfast and US$15 for a basic lunch.)
Bring water for the trip.
To prevent altitude sickness, take a Sorojchi tablet (available at pharmacies).
Book your lodging in Huancayo in advance as this is a very busy time of year.

It could be 100 years ago.

At San Bartolome steam gives way to diesel. It will be diesel this year.

Spectacular Views....

To the top of the world.

Climbing...

To Ticlio

15,610 feet at the summit.

Which is pretty well snow territory.

Alco 436 and her train waiting to leave Huancayo.

In order to read the full article and to see all the pohotos please go back to Main Menu and click on "PERU" under Railways and select FCCA or click here on LIMA TO HUANCAYO

.

WAIT 30 YEARS FOR A TRAIN AND THEN 2 COME TOGETHER - FIRST TRAINS ON CLAREMORRIS TO COLLOONEY LINE.

05 FEBRUARY 2006. I saw a miracle yesterday February 4, 2005. There were two works trains - albeit rather small ones - actually trying to traverse the section of the West Rail Corridor from Claremorris up towards Collooney.

This has to be the best news for years and seems to indicate that someone in IR might actually be serious about getting rail service back all the way from Limerick to Sligo. It could also of course mean that an election was coming soon but we live in hope. An order has been issued to clear the line and the following photographs are of the first two civil engineering trains attempting to traverse the line cutting as they went. The line is badly overgrown and the two are clearing the line and also I was informed the accompanying ground crews are re-fencing to make a start in its reinstatement. It is simply fantastic news. While the purist might argue they are not trains, they are rail mounted vehicles of which anything so fitted is a train - albeit a small one.

The larger train cutting all before it.

The trees are pretty well grownup!

The rail in places goes through the forest.

Train No. 2 some ten minutes behind the first section doing the slide cutting.

A closeup showing that some sections are not bad at all.

Work has also started in Tubbercurry Station. This is a view looking towards Claremorris.

View from the drivers cab of the 1540 ghost train ready to depart for Sligo.

Track is not bad and the sleepers could take trains immediately. If We had this track in Ecuador it would be considered state of the art.

Typical joint.

Some stones fell off the platform when the rest was cleared..

The signal box could do with a little work.

Awaiting their reincarnation they stand as silent sentinels waiting for rebirth.

What the ghost signalman sees looking from the station north towards Collooney. It probably is run as one ghost engine in steam!

UNIQUE PHOTOGRAPH.

26 JANUARY 2006. While going through photos today I came across one which I think is unique and was taken on my last trip to Ecuador Railways. There are 500 people on top of the train, believe it or not and nobody downstairs. Health and Safety, how's that me bucko? It says it all as to how we have gone overboard in this country. They don't go overboard or off the rails or off the carriage in Ecuador!


25 JANUARY 2005. This is an article on a typical Eastern European City with a vigorous, well run, tramway system backed by buses. Now Going in.