Stradbally Shed Official Opening (15/10/2016)

An account of the Official opening of the Railway Shed at stradbally on the 15th October 2016, thanks to all that worked on the shed, during the trackwork project, and those that attended on the day.


And so began our preparations for the official opening of the Railway Shed at Stradbally. A lot of preparation had already been put in by Sean and the volunteers at the railway.

Tommy, Alphie, Glen, Sean and Kieran had started preparation of number 2, and the shunting of the diesels. When Mervyn and Darragh arrived the train was coupled up and brought just before the platform for oiling, and then backed down ready for service.

The shed was formally opened by Ann Goodwin CEO of Laois Partnerships, and Cllr Tom Mulhall Chairman of Laois County Council along with Ken Grahm President of the Irish Steam Preservation Society.

Thanks to all volunteers that attended; Sean, Tommy, Alan, Alphie, Dick, Míchael, Eoin, Niall, Darragh, Mervyn, Glen, Kieran and all that attended, may there be many more years to come!!!

To start proceedings number 2 was shunted with the Brake Van just beyond the platform for a brake test and oiling of axle boxes, see all our five out of six 3ft engines all in the same angle!
Sean uses Rusty to Shunt “Ellie” and “LM317” into Road number one for display
All coupled up!! Note that Number two’s main coupling is of the Bord na Mona type. 7L also has the same coupling on the loco side, although it retains its chopper on the brake van side. Note the coupling seen above is sprung on the carriage side. Also note that safety chains are fixed together to increase the connection between train and stock. The Chain is twisted once by the hook end as seen in the foreground of this shot.
Nippy looks on as the shed is prepared, note the info boards scattered around, will be discussed further down the page.
Niall finshes work on the “blue netting” this prevents members of the public from running all over the running line. Niall looks satisfied after his work!
Tommy adds more coal to number 2’s fire box for the day ahead.
Boys and their toys…..a G scale trainset provided by Tommy was set up outside.
Glen puts the broom to work in sweeping out the carriages.
Earth calling Mervyn!!! An original telephone provided by Sean goes on display at the platform.
Kieran sits in the cab of LM317 acting as guard for the shunt into the shed.
Mervyn seen hard at work! Oiling the axleboxes on carriage 7L
Mervyn really is hard at work!!! Setting up the platform for the day.


1tommy fettle’s with the coal bunker
And adds more coal to the fire
Its surprising how much “domestic” cleaning is on a railway, see Tommy hard at work preparing the footplate of number 2
And five out of five diesels are seen on Road number 1 in the shed ready for display for the day.
The hall is filling up!
Rusty as pictured was polished by Kieran and Darragh as the stalwart of the loco fleet for some years at Stradbally, Rusty looks on having a well earned rest in the limelight!
Info boards for all engines were provided by Sean and really do an excellent job at providing detailed history for each loco.
Ellie stands on next in line
info board as described earlier
Simplex LM317 stands looking on, note it is a lot wider than the Rustons and Nippy!


LM167, although not too sure what the Q stands for, if anyone can provide answers? LM167 certainly looks the part, it had been running for some time that morning. Hard to believe the strength of Rustons and how incredible machines they are!


Nippy is a bit like Marmite, you live it or hate it! Nippy is the oldest internal combustion engine running in Ireland!


The platform finsihed and awaiting passengers! Note the LMS “Ireland for Holidays” sign advertisng the Dingle Peninsula, surely showing a bit of “dingle” influence! 🙂
A volunteer board had been prepared by Glen with all volunteers as Kids or as volunteers on the Railway, included are Sean, Tommy, Glen, Nicky, Darragh, Mervyn, Kieran and of course Barry!
A photo collection showing photos of the building of the shed and trackwork was also compiled by Sean, photos included from the early days, Sean, Eoin, Tommy, Kieran and Darragh.
Now these were a delight to see, Stradbally back at the start of preservation, one of the most interesting I thought was of number 2 minus her funnel! Also featured is the “clonsast saloon” which was the original carriage at Stradbally, and also a view of 7L at her arrival.
Noticed a GSR trespass sign bolted to the wall.
Meanwhile the G scale set had moved indoors! Mervyn, Niall and Glen are seen putting the little Kraus through its paces.
As number 2 looks on…………………..
A small display began to emerge around the layout, Mervyn and Darragh bringing some signalling equipment from the old PW shed including a GNR(I) signal arm with spec (Distance), also the replica T&D Numberplate made by Darragh, Also seen are the pictures of volunteers by Glen, and Mervyn. Thanks to the lads including Barry, Glen, Eoin, Alan and Mervyn that cleaned up the signals.
One of my favorite pictures was this juxtaposition between Rusty and Ellie, or a before and after 😉
(C) Mervyn quite the image!!
The ribbon cutting is underway! Aplhie, the ISPS president Ken Graham and Laois partnership are represented.
The hall is now filling up! some familiar faces to be seem
Sean (Railway Manager) gives a speech at the opening ceremony
Dick also gave a valued contribution
Railways united, showing Cavan & Leitrim railway owner Michael Kennedy, Tommy and Mervyn representing Stradbally, and Maria Kyte manager of the Waterford & Suir Valley Railway
And thats it folks! as road number one was blocked by the diesels, number 2 and stock were shunted into road number 2, with Darragh guarding, the day was a very big success and thanks to all that took part!

Stradbally Track Project

A brief account of the track laying project at Stradbally, with the mission of linking the newly built shed with the running line, this has been achieved with the dedicated work of our volunteers, and thanks is owed to those that helped, from providing materials to coming down and getting involved. All photos (C) Darragh Connolly unless otherwise stated.

First things first, we need the jacks to allow new rail to be lifted up, this will allow us to place sleepers underneath. We can then screw one rail down and gauge the other. However Mervyn points out a SPAD ahead of him as he shunts the “Beachbogie” up the inlcine towards the work site
Tommy takes his hand at using a pick axe to remove some stone, as a new sleeper would be placed here. Quite tough work picking away at the stone! No need for a gym when we have railways to maintain!
The jacks have arrived! A sleeper was placed some distance to the west of the shed, rail was fastened to the shed road on this new section of rail. This was then jacked up to allow further sleepers be laid. The sleeper viewed here prevented the rail being bogged down in the mud.
As described above, rails have been bolted at the shed with a sleeper at the west side holding the rails off the ground. Note how the rails seem to taper inwards, this is a weld of 90lb rail to 85lb rail.
Now there is progress! The Rail on the left hand side was temporarily screwed down to allow the other rail be gauged from it. Note screws await being put on the inside of the rail as of this picture.
Looking west you can see where a JCB has marked out the position of the future point in the foreground. The current point (behind the photographer) would be moved into this view, which you can see at the bottom of this page. This certainly was major engineering at Stradbally.
Looking towards the shed, can be seen the amount of rail yet to go, not to mention the positioning of the point!
Our PW supervisor Alphie cuts some 70lb rail for use at Stradbally, we are very much appreciative of the PW tools we have received from a number of sources over the years. It certainly assisted us greatly with this project! I love how atmospheric this picture is with sparks flying.
Again as per earlier pic, cutting rail to the required length. Fishplate holes will be added once in place.
Also a new point, but has been in place for some time.
The same view but at a different height is seen here as Number 2 emerges from the new shed for the first time in March during the 1916 reenactment event.
The point has been partially assembled on top of the existing one. This was a clever idea that essentially meant we would copy the one below, using it as a template. Note that the sleepers here are quite wide in length, and needed to be cut down to appropriate gauge requirements.
Whats the point in this?! This is how we assembled the point, as mentioned it has been assembled on top of the existing one which acted as a basic template. Alphie and Dick chat about the best way to proceed.
Alphie uses a chainsaw to gauge the sleepers to teh correct size. Additional length was left at the section where a Tumbler would be attached.
Meanwhile the gang members hold the track in position.
Sawing complete!
Now the work of fastening temporary bolts and fixing down of the rails to fully assemble the point.
Alan is seen here inserting a bolt through the fishplate hole and screwing into position, thsiw as done by the use of the Dooper.
Massive progress here as Alan and Tommy fettle with the fishplates.
And there you go! an assembled point! now to move it!
Rusty in another similar view as described earlier
Rusty stands (almost perilously!) at the then edge of the mainline, the rest had been lifted for relay during the positioning of the new siding
Mervyn at the controls of Rusty
A former Hudson bogie built for use by Bord na Mona on their bog railway system. We have aquired two for use as tool wagons, with bodywork completed by one of our volunteers Alphie.
The top image (C) Eoin Smyth, shows the loading shovel lifting parts of the point into its rough position marking the entrance to road number 2 of the new shed. It was very heavy and was lifted with care and precision.
Here the point is seen in its vague formation, see how the trackplan is slowly coming into place.
View looking towards the Cork Road, the existing point had already been moved further along the line as mentioned previously. This section required relaying. Note all the muck from the horrendous conditions.
Some months later and number 2 arrives laden with our re-enactors! Note that the railway is back together!
the new point required additional sleepers as it was only put in a rough position. This required the logistical help of Rusty to haul it up the incline.
Rusty is seen hard at work hauling the massive sleeper up the track in its stride.
Rusty looks on as the trackwork continues, note how the sleeper has been left perched on the rail for when it is needed.
Some progress! The sidings leading to Road number 2 is well advanced with sleepers being laid and screwed down
further fettling to allow the massive sleeper to be positioned.
Dick looks on at organizing the logistics.
The sleepers are going at a right rate! Looks very much more like a railway now!
Thomas is seen with the Dooper in his hand, with Mervyn in the foreground.
Alphie, Mervyn and Dick all position the massive sleeper into place, thsi was done cautuously and was slid underneath the rail level which wa spartially jacked up. Note the horrible conditions, in fact it was so bad that we considered it similar to what the Somme must have been like!
Another view of Rusty, note the shovel posed along-side
looking towards the shed, note Rusty is where the mainline temporarily ended.
Now this is progress looking like a substantial bit of work!
Looks like those sleepers went to good use, not that the track has no ballast as of yet, this will be added at a later date.
Almost complete, Mervyn and Tommy observe our work….with growling stomachs.
more somme like conditions…………
Before and after of the same location, note number 2 was positione don Road number 2 as Rusty was being used for driver training that day.
A shot viewed form the platform of the brakevan at Stradbally, with a fine view of our (then) almost completed trackwork project. But look there is ballast!! Nippy in the background.
Finally after all that time the track project had finally completed, note the Tumbler and point gear that was supplied by Michael Kennedy. Thanks is due to Dick Brennan who painted the tumblers around the station……they look very smart, they are original GSWR versions.
The fisrt movement of number 2 into and out of teh shed during the re-enactment event, what a sight to behold!!!!!! Makes all the work seem worthwhile now!
Now a regular sight Number 2 seen in May 2016 building up steam, note Rusty has hauled her out of the shed. Number 2 is now always based in the new shed, a delight for all volunteers here.
A before and after of mammoth scale! from nothing in January to complete by July!

PW work at the Cavan & Leitrim Railway 2nd October 2016

A basic explanation of what PW work is going on at the C&L and the work that volunteers do there in this remote part of rural Ireland.

The C&L’s permanent way train! Recently restored Ruston LM114 “Joe st. Ledger”, built by Ruston circa 1956 for Bord na Mona. this loco was last based at Boora, and was recovered by C&L volunteers who did major work on the loco. The loco underwent a thorough restoration and is fitted with air brakes. Photo (C) Darragh Connolly

Please see below, the PW team at the Cavan & Leitrim Railway (Dromod) had the necessary task of replacing sleepers on one section of track by the culvert bridge. This section had been prone to flooding in the past, and these steps were necessary as a majority of the sleepers were rotten. The rail as explained below is 60lb rail that originated from the West Clare section of CIE. Bord na Mona bought thsi rail upon the systems closue in 1961, and laid the track between bogs as “main lines”. Some are still in use to this day at Boora, Ballivor and latterly Ferbane.

The process is explained below but in essence the method involved;

  1. Removal of dog spikes 
  2. Removal of fishplates
  3. Lifting of rails
  4. Lifting of sleepers
  5. Recovery of old sleepers, and the sawing of new sleepers to the correct length
  6. The positioning of new sleepers to the correct place and then the work of replaying the rails on the sleepers!

It must be pointed out that we had a Scout Party visiting the station at the time, so multitasking was required! the C&L Museum is now closed for the Winter period, so much more time for work to be had. Please see the webpage at: Cavan & Leitrim Railway for further details.

With thanks to Michael Kennedy, Keith Suffin, Rod and Darragh Connolly for the work to the PW. All photo’s (C) Darragh Connolly unless otherwise stated.

The dog spikes were removed…….some with a fight!! Others were more co-operative! This section was re-sleepered as the line has flooded in the past, resulting in water interfering in the PW and rotting the sleepers
The fishplates were then chizzled off as they would no co-operate! Michael Kennedy, Keith Suffin and Rod pictured, note Ruston LM114 with PW train in the bakground
More fishplate action! Michael is seen using a bit of brute force with one fishplate! Note the former Bord na Mona wagon, used as our PW wagon.
The rails were then free! this view shows the holes where bolts for the fishplates are inserted. It appears that Bord na Mona blew the fishplate holes wider for some reason. The rail is of 60lb and originated on the West Clare Section of CIE, it was purchased by Bord na Mona on the closure of that system and was used to link some bogs together by way of a main line.
As seen above some sleepers were severely gone, and required complete renewal, although i’m sure that this will find a use somewhere!
Rails were then removed clean of the sleepers, thsi was to allow access to the sleepers, and to remove rotten ones.
Old sleepers were moved by Keith, Rod and Darragh to the flatbed to be brought back to the yard. These were very heavily water logged and required care in positioning. No need for a gym!!!
The above became a fresh canvas, note the grooves in the track from where the sleepers had been.
The end of the line!!! The section awaited the fitting of new sleepers and the rail relaid over them. This view was taken from the Flatbed. This is the last bad section, from where the track continues in the background there are spot repairs, nothing as substantial though. Sleeper have been sawn to the correct length of 6ft 10inches.

Cavan & Leitrim Railway (Dromod) Bridge Project

A quick view of the finished bridge across a culvert on the C&L at Dromod, built with thanks to the band of volunteers there

A very short post just to show the amazing progress of the Cavan and Leitrim Railway’s amazing progress in the building of an extensive bridge across a culvert with walkway to allow access to staff.

The construction began sometime in Summer 2016, while on PW work at the end of September I took the opportunity to record the progress. Note in the earlier photo Keith is viewed standing on an old sleeper in between the two piers surrounded in shuttering. the shutters secured the concrete in place.

More extensive photo’s and details to follow…..keep an eye on the page!

A now and then shot, showing the construction of the bridge in the Summer of 2015, and the finished product

Stradbally Railway Shed Opening

The long awaited opening of the Stradbally Woodland Railway will happen this weekend the 15th of October at 14:00. Several other representatives of other preserved railways have been invited, in a collaboration showing a united front of all railways in Ireland.

Photo’s to follow. Also over the next few days I aim to upload a series of pictures and videos of the work that has been done. Pic above shows the “main line” being bisected to allow the loading shovel (background) position the newly assembled point into place. More to follow (C) Darragh Connolly.