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Maps of the Tralee and Dingle from 1905   now with gradient profiles for the line

Blennerville visit 2017

Dingle to Blennerville 2013

Dingle to Donegal 2009

Dingle to Cultra 2006

Dingle to Dingle 2005

'Dingle's' (final) resting place - Blennerville Windmill, Tralee

The last running of original stock took place on Saturday 1st June 2013 when we took it over there. See  link above right for more pictures.

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Above, the real thing in 2003;  Blennerville (left) and Tralee Aquadome (right).  

About the model

The 3ft gauge Tralee and Dingle Railway was opened in 1891 and, in total, was 371 miles long. The railways’ closure in 1953, was inevitable given the onslaught of road traffic, though to its dying day was considered to be the ‘last great adventure in railroading’ by Pat Whitehouse amongst others! Having read accounts of hair-raising journeys along the line in the late 40’s and 50’s, it seemed you were lucky to manage the journey in one piece, the Irish Railway authorities demanding you sign a disclaimer of responsibility for injury, before travel!

Above left; My model of No.2 next to the crossing keepers cottage which is almost right but not quite! Right;  From The Dingle Train, Rowlands and McGrath and published by Plateway Press; the same position but in the 1950's with dumped lorry cabs!

We as a group decided to model part of the railway back in 1994, partly as a challenge to improve our own modelling skills and also to exploit the growing availability of high quality etched brass, whitemetal and plastic kits from such manufacturers as ‘Backwoods Miniatures’, ‘Branchlines’, ‘Parkside Dundas’ and ‘Worsley Works’. The stock is therefore constructed mostly from kits, often with some modification, though there are an increasing number of scratch built items. All of the buildings and structures however have had to be carefully researched and then scratch built. The track is also hand made and is code 60 rail either glued, or soldered to rivets located in plywood sleepers, to the correct gauge of 12mm.

To get a longer run and a better feel for the prototype we decided to extend the layout into an L shape. This extension features a level crossing based on the one at Skylough, and a model of Lispole viaduct.  The fiddle yard board has a display of several historic photos showing relevant features of the line - hopefully recognisable in the model!

Above far left;  A somewhat reluctant donkey is dragged towards the farm crossing as the Iron Horse takes a light train back to Tralee.  Above left;  Train and carriage, though hardly at any pace, along the roadside section.  Above right;  Sitting peacefully overlooking Dingle bay on a warm summer evening as a train quietly drifts into Dingle Station...such are dreams!  Above far right; The shadows lengthen and an evening train returns to Tralee.

This project has been an experimental one as far as we are concerned and we have all learned a great deal, whether it has been in making stock, buildings, baseboard construction, trackwork, a working turntable or working level crossing gates interlocked with a further set of signals. We don’t claim to be particularly good at modelling or we would know the answers straight away, but we do believe we have progressed a long way and most importantly, we enjoy what we are doing.  Of course what we do next could be interesting!

Below left and middle;  Double header on Lispole viaduct - real one in 1934.  Middle right;  Lispole viaduct close up of girder work.  Right two;  the real Lispole viaduct undressed (D. Rowlands) and mine (May 2005)!

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Above left;  a blurred view, but nevertheless closer to the model view!   Centre;  a traveller's eye view!  Right;  from the Western end of the station, by the crossing gates.

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Left & Middle; The 'barn' and layout at Dingle - the real thing in the 1950's (courtesy D. Rowlands)  Right;  A corrected far end of the layout - Dingle town end.

Above left;  5T about to leave the station, a view with the 'new' barn behind.  Above middle; The barn at Dingle in both model and real form (taken August 2003).  Right; A slightly gloomy roadside tramway view on the road out of Dingle.

Please contact me if you do not wish any of the 'real' photos on this page to appear for copyright reasons and I will remove them. Hopefully you will agree though, that they are only here to enhance the model rather than for any unscrupulous reason!

The layout appeared in Railway Modeller in December 2002, January and February 2003.  There was also an article on the building of No. 5T in November's Issue (2003)      

For information about modelling the railway please feel free to download the two articles written for the Railway Modeller.

Article 1 - Modelling Dingle

Article 2 - Modifying Branchlines 2-6-0 to a 2-6-2 (The making of T&D 5T)


Pictures from an Exhibition (not by Mussorgsky!)

The greatest gathering of Dingle locos ever??  From Stafford show 2015...

You'll have to excuse the quality they were taken on my phone.  I'm sure we can create an picture when a better camera is available.  However these were taken in semi darkness at Stafford Show this year (1015) with shaky hands.  Now with a tripod and ......

Left hand picture shows (from right to left) 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8T  Middle picture shows 1, 2, 2T at front.  Right hand picture shows (rear) 8, 6, 4, 2 (front) 5, 3, 2, 1T


From our own recent show at Saltney (2013 - Dingle's last appearance in this country)

I helped Paul Titmuss with his layout - a model of Annascaul Station - at the 009 AGM in Rainford - 9th April 2011

Left; The real thing taken by Ivo Peters in 1951 from the north bank of the station.  Left; The model from a similar view.  Why we didn't refer to the picture better I don't know - I have a model of the Pickering wagon at the head of the train! Centre and centre right;  A recreation of the last train in July 1953.  It was hauled by loco No 8T with converted bogie brake coaches (ex brake thirds) 2T and 5T (at the rear).  The only thing missing is the large number of people on the platform!  Right;  One of the few 'scenic' views of the line - the final train heading towards Dingle coming down the hill towards Emalough - provenance unknown.

Above; watering over the crossing.

From Leigh Show

Left; Dingle Station with late 1940's break van and cattle train in the loop  Centre; loading the coal cart - well some are!  Right; odd to see it the right way round - Skylough Crossing!!

York Show 2010

Below; Skylough crossing and Dingle Station

Dingle and other layouts at Donegal - pictures by Mick Thornton May 2009

Pictures of Dingle at Narrow Gauge North

Far left; 5T waits to take its Cavan & Leitrim train to the platform.  Second from left; 2T - the oldest of our locos - waits to depart with a cattle train.  Third and fourth left; Keith's Donegal Class 5 - modified from a Backwoods kit - which ran beautifully.  Centre right; scratch and Worsley Works built Cavan & Leitrim stock.  Third from right; stock ready to be loaded.  Right two; it's a hard life for some - John and Andy prepare for action - Simon wondering why his camera is pointing at him!

On the 28th May 2007 we were visited by Kevin and Mary Ann Cunningham from Boston.  Mary's mother came from Baunogue near Garrynadur on the Dingle peninsula.

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Left and centre; No2T approaches Lispole station with a short relief train.  Pictures taken on Paul Titmuss's diorama, which he kindly brought over on the Monday night.  Right;  Paul is on the left, with John, Robert, Kevin and Mary Ann.

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A more Cultra'd view (sorry couldn't resist).  Taken at the show at Cultra on 18th November 2006. A view of Dingle station had the line lasted a bit longer and perhaps been dieselized?  Wishful thinking maybe.  There was some discussion over whether the railcars would have made it up Glenagalt!  Picture courtesy of Laurence Wheeler. 

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A picture from Merseyside Show left; Double headed train at Skylough Crossing.    In Dingle - Marina building!  Above right two; One, two, three, five, six!  Five Hunslet's at Dingle station, whilst at Dingle.  Actually, from left to right,  3T, 5T and 2T to the rear, with 1T and 6T in front.   Right, The gang at Dingle, left to right; Tom (trip co-ordinator for Dingle Historical Society), Jim, Andy, Robert, Simon, John, Steven

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Left;  the corner board with level crossing closed to CDR No14 railcar.  Left centre;  the Lispole express!  Centre;  overall view of Dingle station.  Right;  this train will never get over Glenagalt - looks impressive though!  

Below - from the pages of Railway Modeller (Peco publications) and famed camera of Len Weal;  

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Information about the original and Tralee and Blennerville line

January 2014 - Link to Radio Kerry's broadcast about the line in 4 episodes.  It was entitled 'End of the line'. (Sadly no longer available)

December 2013 - Sadly there is to be a political reorganisation in the area and the promised funding is unlikely to be still available.

May 2013 - The Kerry Model Railway Association opens its new visitor attraction at the Blennerville Windmill. The association have their own model railways and  Chester MRC's own 'Dingle' layout.  As well as the layouts, the large room contains old photographs and memorabilia from the line.  Profits from the entrance fee are being put towards the reconstruction of the line.

October 2011 - According to Kerry's Eye paper the railway is due to reopen next August run by 5T which will have been fully refurbished by then.  Tenders for the repair of the loco are currently under consideration.

April 2010 - Apparently the West Clare diesel has now returned to the Moyasta (it was only for hire short term).  There is no news yet as to what may be happening to services this year on the Tralee and Blennerville line.  There is supposedly a diesel for hire from the CDDRS at Donegal town, but whether something will come of this who knows?

August 2009 - Fantastic news. As of last Saturday (1st August) trains are being hauled again over the Blennerville line, albeit by a couple of 3ft gauge diesels!  At least the news is positive.  The fittings of T&D No.5T have now been placed under cover although no progress has been made in restoring the loco to its former glory.  Hopefully the news from up the road in Moyasta (West Clare line) where  Slieve Callan has been returned to steam after a massive investment will be an incentive.  As a result of that loco's return the diesel that ran the trains on that line has been released to work on the Blennerville line!

August 2008 - Sadly the diesel which was to help out was needed elsewhere. 5T has trouble with her boiler, which needs extensive overhaul and there is a crack in the original 1891 built forged-steel collar that joins the firebox and boiler. This will also need repair. Sadly this means that there any wont be any service this year.  Let us all hope for better news for next year!  More details and rather sad pictures of a boiler rusting in the open, can be seen on the T&D blog

December - 2007 - The operators of the Jeanie Johnston have now also taken over the Blennerville Windmill and the T&D Steam Train.  The comments from Brendan Dinneen are as follows "we know that people were disappointed that the the Steam Train did not run in 2007, however a major overhaul was required. A back up diesel is being acquired in order to assure continuity of service from April 2008.The steam engine is being stripped down for survey and will be back in operation by May 2008.Winter maintenance of track and fencing is also under way."      Thanks to Dewi Lewis for this information.


2009 motive power at Blennerville station - click on picture to read the latest on the Tralee blog.  The loco is on loan from the West Clare preservation group at Moyasta, who have kindly sent is as they now have newly restored Slieve Callan to run their services!

 It is worth contacting Blennerville Windmill for details - Windmill is: open daily: April-October 10.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.    Telephone: 066 7121064

Plaque on the harbour branch of the railway between Dingle station and the town. Picture courtesy of Tom Fox.

Links of articles in the Kerryman

December 13th 2002  Railway buffs put Tralee-Dingle train back in model shape

May 26th 2005  History comes home as model of train goes on display in Dingle

June 2nd 2005  Model railway delights Dingle


Above left; Video from Youtube of the line Past/Present with sections of film I believe to be from Patrick Whitehouse's 'Fair Days Only', taken in the 1950's. Centre; a short section of video coming down by bus from Gleanangalt.  As the road runs parallel to the railway for this stretch, you could easily imagine it as looking out of the carriage on a clear day!  Right; the short section from Michael Palin's Great Railway Journeys which shows the Tralee Blennerville Line as restored.  It also shows 5T in steam and pulling a couple of coaches.  Let's hope that the money can be found for this to happen again sooner rather than later.


The Tralee and Dingle Railway. An excellent site - fairly regularly updated.

An excellent historical site and guide to the rest of the Dingle peninsula

Great pictures of the new line from Ted Polet - very photogenic

Tralee and Dingle Railway discussion group

3ft gauge modellers discussion group

A site by Steve Flanders who has written a couple of books on Irish Narrow Gauge railways, CDR & L&LSR devoted to the Trainz Railway Simulator. His aim is to recreate the Irish narrow gauge lines.

Pictures of the line in the latter half of the 1950's taken by Padraig Kennelly

Kerry in 1911

An interesting site for lots of narrow gauge news - first article about opening of Tralee and Blennerville Railway

Article about soldering by Paul Titmuss - starting with soldering Paul's / Worsley Works T&D open wagon.

'Ordnance Survey Ireland have produced a free resource of 25 inch to the mile maps of Southern Ireland'.  By zooming in and  clicking on historic maps the scene in 1905 (ish) can be seen.  Extreemly useful to gauge the overall layout and size of station premises.

David Rowlands is probably the inspiration for most modellers of the Tralee and Dingle because of the books he wrote so eloquently.  If you are interested in the background to these books please visit;


Kerry Model Railway association website

Kerry MRA on facebook

facebook forum about the Tralee and Dingle railway

alternative and more regularly updated forum on facebook about the railway

Need a reference for Irish Narrow Gauge Railways and somewhere to download a ‘true’ Gaelic font?  

For a detailed plan with dimensions click


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See us at the virtual narrow-gauge exhibition, hit the tram!

Left  picture courtesy of D. G. Rowlands - the goods shed. Very few pictures exist of the goods shed, even though this one shows it when the line was closed.    Below centre is a picture from Railways in Camera 1860-1913 by Robin Linsley, Budding Books 2000.  This is the only picture I have seen showing the river clearly and this was a damaged print which I have repaired to the best of my ability.  Right;  Lispole Viaduct today (May 2005)

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