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Missing the trains — 5 Comments

  1. Railways in Ireland were never really the economic proposition they were in England or Scotland below the Highlands. I believe with the exception of the Dublin Cork, Dublin Waterford and Dublin Belfast, all the rest came about with some measure of subvention, usually with a military application, to get them built. And most of them were never really economic. But I really must see if MGW and the GS&W were in receipt of a Government Vote prior to the treaties in the early 20s that ceased during the Free State period.
    Amusing all the same that you could’ve gone to Derry from Clonmel or Kilkenny without touching Dublin Belfast or Athlone.

  2. I suppose the story of the railways was similar to that of the canals in England. As the advent of the railways wiped out any prospect of profitability for most of the canals, so the arrival of motor transport in the early 20th Century snuffed out the brief prospects of the railways, (not that many of them ever had the traffic needed to secure viability).

  3. I wonder. The canals didn’t really end until the lorry’s became ubiquitous in the 20s and 30s. And I suppose a simple costing on stocking a small town with coal -even on the canal- would require two or even three time the manpower using the canal rather than truck. Away from, even slightly, would include even more to cart it.
    Here, economically speaking, the traffic was to the coast. And no place is more than 50 or so miles from a port, most far less. So droving cattle to Waterford, or even Fiddown would simply be easier.
    Some of the argument for CIE freight was the sugar companies. At one stage they were moving sugar beet trains about like chess pieces. But when Tuam closed the insane economics left, but soon they developed new ones by closing Thurles, then Mallow.
    But there wasn’t really anything else ‘natively’ to keep a cargo argument going. Though I do have a vague feeling that they were shipping raw something or other to Killala via Dublin port.

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