A visit to Cultra Transport & Folk Museum
+ a bit of 'modern' 5ft 3in
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These pictures were taken on 24th August 2004. The lighting in the hall is not great so I apologise for the quality of some of them though the interest factor hopefully makes up for it! Otherwise this is an excellent day out with lots to see, from all forms of transport to a way of life of old Ireland - a family ticket for just £18 is very cheap and astonishing value. For their own website click here.
Left; the doorway of County Donegal railcar trailer No.3. Originally a railcar on the Dublin & Blessington Steam Tramway (5ft 3in gauge) and regauged in 1934. By 1944 it was converted to a railcar trailer. It was strange in having a 2-2-2-2 wheel arrangement - the two centre wheels being larger than the outer two. Left centre; County Donegal 1st class Directors Saloon with lavatory! - 6 wheel carriage No 1 built in 1882 by the Railway Carriage & Wagon Co., originally of the West Donegal Railway . Right centre; CDR Class 5A 2-6-4T Blanche built in1912; originally numbered 2A, then 2 in 1928 and built by Nasmyth, Wilson - sadly, picture not brilliant quality. Right and below; CDR railcar No 10 from the front, side and top. Originally No 1 on the Clogher Valley railway, it moved to the CDR in 1941, where it was renumbered 10. Built in 1932 by Walker Bro's of Wigan, it cost just under £2000 as Henry Forbes, on the board of the CVR, as well as manager of the CDR, made the CVR fit an old carriage bogie at the rear and fit the vacuum brake themselves. It was the first articulated power-bogie railcar to run in Ireland.
Above; CDR's Phoenix - originally an Atkinson Walker Steam tractor of 1928 which was highly inefficient. It ran on the Clogher Valley railway until 'Forbes' the GM of the CDR bought it (he happened to be on the board of the Clogher as well!). He 'found' a Gardner diesel engine and fitted it, selling the steam one to a local laundry and made a profit into the bargain, gaining a very useful shunter!
Above left; Cavan & Leitrim Railway 4-4-0, No. 2L Kathleen of 1887 built by Robert Stevenson & Sons of Newcastle. Left centre; cab detail of Kathleen. Right and centre right; C&L carriage showing the contrast between 1st and 3rd accommodation! No 5 was built in 1887? by Metropolitan C&W, converted to a brake composite in 1945/6, but now appears in original condition.
Above; CDR wagon number 136. Built by Oldbury in 1900, listed as a flat wagon - erm ... Looking at other photographs the term 'flat' seemed to imply 'open' - to carry 6 tons! The right hand picture shows the brake gear of said wagon. Looking down from the balcony of the Cavan coach behind the size of the wagon becomes really evident. It can't be much different to a standard gauge wagon, at least 6ft across. I suppose coming from a starting point of the Festiniog it's going to seem big but...
The Cultra website can be visited by clicking on this link. Take the tours on the lower right hand side.
Above left; Larne harbour station. Originally the narrow gauge came in on the right with mixed gauge tracks crossing into the yard to the left, now taken up by the Ferry terminal buildings and general mess. Left centre; We wait for the next through train (6:00pm ish) to Belfast Great Victoria station - my son pointing out that the twit taking the picture is his father - I was told, as I chatted to the very friendly guard, 'you must like trains' - implying this was an anomaly in Northern Ireland. I have to admit I know nothing of these DM units history - except that they seemed ubiquitous. To the right; Number 111 'Great Northern' built by General Motors. See http://www.ie071.co.uk/Info111.HTM for more details of these locos. If anyone can contribute to this to fill in some gaps I would be grateful! These were taken whilst waiting on the (late) 9:49am service to Cultra (and beyond). Look carefully at the grill on the carriage to the left of the loco. The area which shows up with better colour is being washed by a waterfall of torrential rain!
NI Railways need massive investment but have some superb lines. In fact the wonderful coast line to Londonderry is under threat of closure - only someone very stupid would think this a good idea. One of the guards thought this was just a ploy to get the bodies at Storemont to get together and agree on something - let's hope there is truth in this. Several new train sets have been invested in but the state of the track is such that they could only run over a fraction of the system for the time being - from Belfast southwards. It would be ridiculous in this day and age - one of growing concern for the environment - for this railway system to close down. Family ticket prices to travel the whole system all day are only £15 - the trains weren't that full, but then it did rain almost constantly the time we were there!
For Northern Ireland Railways click here.
Some pictures here - Colourpoint books