Removal Of Old Freight Wagons At Tralee Station Paves Way For Steam Train Tourism

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Irish Rail is to remove the old freight wagons (left of picture) from Casement Station. Photo: Fiachra Dunne Drone Services

LOCAL Green Party representative Anluan Dunne has welcomed Irish Rail’s confirmation that old steel freight wagons in Casement Station Tralee are due to be removed in the coming days.

This development means that the line connecting to the locomotive turntable will be cleared.

“This is great news for Tralee, Killarney and for Kerry as the availability of the locomotive turntable will make it easier for the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (RPSI) to run more heritage steam train services to Casement Station, Tralee.” said Mr Dunne.

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“Previously, the locomotive and tender would have to reverse all the way from Limerick Junction which was difficult for the train engineers to operate.”

Joe McKeown, Operations Manager for the RPSI in Dublin said: “The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland run many Steam and Diesel trains all over the Irish Rail network. We require a turntable to turn the steam locomotive when we arrive at our destinations. Presently, we run trains to Rosslare, Kilkenny, Limerick and the West of Ireland , where there are facilities for turning the locomotive.

“We have tried for many years to use Tralee turntable, but as there were wagons stabled on the table and Irish Rail were unable to remove them due to them being totally seized with rust etc. Because of this, the RPSI were unable to run steam trains into Tralee.”

The development is especially welcome with the opening of the Tralee to Fenit Greenway along the old line this simmer.

Mr Dunne believes this added attraction and focus on railway heritage will add another offering for the town.

Mr McKeown continued:  “We generally carry 300 to 400 passengers on all our trains. We also stay overnight in hotels in the town attached to the Station where we terminate. We have a meeting [in 2022] with an English railway touring company to discuss the running of steam tour of Ireland in 2023.  On average we carry over 13,000 per year on our steam and diesel tours. ”

Anluan Dunne concluded: “I understand that discussions to run a steam rail tour of Ireland are well progressed at this stage. If all goes to plan, perhaps by May of this year we can welcome these amazing trains back to our towns as part of the tour. A great development for Tralee, Killarney, the people of Kerry and the hotels and businesses along the line. My own family have a long heritage of working on the railways in Ireland so this is especially welcome for me personally.”

One Comment

  1. The council should get off their backside and get the Tralee to Blennerville steam train running as soon as possible. You would have a great double attraction, with broad and narrow gauge steam. .