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The West Clare Railway - An Irish Railway Pictorial
Midland Publishing

The West Clare Railway - An Irish Railway Pictorial

Regular price £15.00 £0.00 Unit price per

The West Clare Railway, is probably the best known of Ireland's many fascinating narrow gauge railways. That it can lay claim to this accolade is due to the fact that it was the last 3ft gauge line in the country to remain open and to the notoriety which it achieved as the butt of a famous comic song!

The first part of the system, the West Clare itself. from Ennis to Miltown Milbay, opened in 1887. The connection from there to Kilrush, on the Shannon Estuary. and Kilkee, on the Atlantic coast, was built by the South Clare Railway and saw its first trains in 1892.

In 1896 the railway had the misfortune to delay the popular entertainer Percy French who was on his way to an engagement in Kilkee. He arrived late for his performance and sued the company for loss of earnings. The West Clare directors unwisely went to court where this famous wit of the time. not only won the case and an appeal, but later penned the comic song, 'Are Ye Right There Michael Are Ye Right', a dialogue between a passenger and a guard on the railway. which made the line a source of ridicule.

The West Clare became pan of the Great Southern Railways in 1925 and in 1945. passed to CIE. In the 1950s. it was completely modernised by CIE with diesel railcars taking over the passenger service and a trio of diesel locomotives hauling the line's goods trains. From a music hall joke the railway was transformed into one of the most modern in the whole of Ireland.

The coming of the diesels did not save the railway. they merely provided a stay of execution and the last trains ran in January 1961. This was the final remnant of Ireland's once extensive network of 3ft gauge lines to close.

But that was not the end of the story. In the 1990s a group was formed to rebuild pan of the WCR as an attraction for visitors. Based at Moyasta Junction. where the lines to Kilrush and Kilkee once diverged. the new West Clare Railway Company is running trains on the 3ft gauge once again and plan to return the last surviving WCR locomotive to steam. From steam to diesel, from closure to resurgence. this book traces the West Clare's story over the last 60 years.

Softback, 64 pages, black & white photographs

Condition: Very Good

ISBN: 9781857801224

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Updated: 29 December 2021