Bord na Mona

Gauge: 3ft (915mm)

Bord na Móna had one of the largest industrial railways in Europe. Permanent railways ran from the peat bogs to power stations, briquette factories, moss peat factories and roadside tipplers. Lines were located across the whole country, though the majority were in the Midlands.

Railway operations are reducing in scale with the decision to cease the use of peat for electric generation.

Bord na Móna was originally established in 1933 as the Turf Development Board, Limited, which was to develop and improve the Turf Industry, to operate and drain bogs. In 1946 the Turf Development Board changed its name to Bord na Móna under the Turf Development Act of 1946. This move saw a change in status from that of a limited liability company to a statutory company.

Up to the 1950s, Ireland’s bog were harvested for turf, but from the 1950s the bogs were harvested for milled peat. This new method of peat harvesting gave way to harvesting on a scale not yet seen before in Ireland. A number of bogs in the Midlands were the proving ground for this new style of harvesting and are still in production to this day. The primary counties for peat harvesting took place in Kildare, Offaly, Galway, Longford, Roscommon, and Tipperary. These areas still continue to be the main areas of peat production.

In 2020, the Bord na Móna announced that it was phasing out peat harvesting in Ireland.

Number / NameManufacturerTypeNotes
1 / LM43Andrew Barclay Sons & Co Ltd 2263 of 19490-4-0WTSold 1969. Parts used for Talyllyn Railway locomotive No.7 “Tom Rolt”
2 / LM44Andrew Barclay Sons & Co Ltd 2264 of 19490-4-0WTSold 1969. Now in use at the Stradbally Railway, Ireland
3 / LM45Andrew Barclay Sons & Co Ltd 2265 of 19490-4-0WTSold 1969. Now in store at the Giants Causeway and Bushmills Railway, Ireland

Bord na Mona operated an extensive fleet of diesel locomotives from the start in 1933. Apart from the experiment with the three steam locomotives shown above, all trains have remained diesel hauled.

Over the years, locomotives have been built by Ruston & Hornsby, Simplex, Gleismac and Hunslet. The remaining fleet is mainly made up of Bord na Móna’s “Wagonmaster” locomotives which were designed in house but built by the Hunslet Engine Co. between 1962 and 1986 and the LM400 series built by Bord na Mona from 1990.