Railways October 15, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Nice piece here in the IT by Hugh Oram on the railways in Donegal. Sadly these were another victim of post WWII “rationalisations” saw rail networks closed down both in the UK and the Republic. I’m not sure I’d agree with Oram’s analysis in the following:
But as happened everywhere else with the railways, motor cars and lorries provided unbeatable competition. The station at Carndonagh shut in 1935 after a mere 34 years in service. The line to Burtonport clung on, as far as Gweedore, until 1947, while the lines to Buncrana and Letterkenny closed down in 1953. By 1960, the last of the Donegal system had been obliterated. The Swilly company, which became bus-only for passengers, managed to last until two years ago.
It seems to me that too much store was placed in road transport at the time and after (and of course there were political aspects as well, cross border links, such as railways were problematic to some – it’s telling to me that it was in the aftermath of WWII that so many links North/South were curtailed or removed). The history of GNR, as noted previously is fascinating with it being nationalised by both governments on the island in 1953 and run jointly by them until 1958 when CIE and the UTA took over the respective components. Wiki notes:
The Northern Ireland Government, which had a very anti-rail policy, rapidly closed most of the GNRI lines in Northern Ireland. Exceptions were the Belfast–Dundalk and Portadown–Derry main lines and the Newry–Warrenpoint and Lisburn–Antrim branches. It made the Lisburn–Antrim branch freight-only from 1960 and closed the Portadown–Derry and Newry–Warrenpoint lines to all traffic in 1965. The Republic of Ireland government tried briefly to maintain services on lines closed at the border by the Northern Ireland government, but this was impractical, and the Republic had to follow suit in closing most GNRI lines south of the border. Since 1960 the Drogheda–Navan branch has survived for freight traffic only.
To me this concretisation of partition was a disaster cutting hinterlands off from their centres, reducing and eliminating links that had existed for decades and more.
That said it’s amazing how much is left – or at least the echo of it. You can walk down the path of the old railway at Dungloe for miles. One thinks of the journeys that must have started and ended there.