Tralee and Dingle Railway

Gauge: 3ft (914 mm)

The Tralee and Dingle Railway was a 32mile railway running between Tralee and Dingle in County Kerry on the west coast of Ireland. Opened in 1891, it closed in 1953.

Two miles of the former route between a new station by the Aquadome at Tralee and Blennerville were reopened as a heritage railway in 1993, but ceased operation in 2005, and its future is uncertain.

The Tralee and Dingle Light Railway was incorporated on 17 September 1888. The railway was built as cheaply as possible, largely following adjacent roads, resulting in some very tight curves and severe gradients. Nearly all of the thirty one miles of railway ran next to the roadway – with no fencing for much of the way. The rails also crossed from one side of the road to the other from time to time. There were mostly no gates and trains assumed the right of way. Speeds rarely exceeded 12 miles per hour.

The railway opened on 31 March 1891, but from the start income failed to cover operating expenses. In March 1893, the Board of Trade held an inquiry into poor management and operating practices. The railway continued to require public subsidies from local ratepayers, and a grant from the Treasury was received in 1898.

By 1925, the line was in a poor state and was taken over by the Great Southern Railway. The road between Tralee and Dingle was improved in the 1930s, allowing buses and lorries to effectively compete with the railway.  Passenger and goods traffic continued until the outbreak of Second World War when the Castlegregory Branch closed completely and passenger services withdrawn on the remaining sections. The fuel shortages brought on by the War caused the line to run “as required” from 1944 to 1947, and thereafter trains, for cattle, ran only on the last Saturday of each month for the Dingle Fair until 1953 when the line finally closed.

Number / NameManufacturerTypeNotes
1 / 1THunslet Engine Company No.477 of 18892-6-0TScrapped 1955
2 / 2THunslet Engine Company No.478 of 18892-6-0TScrapped 1955
3 / 3THunslet Engine Company No.479 of 18892-6-0TTo Cavan & Leitrim Railway 1941
4 Hunslet Engine Company No. of 18900-4-2TScrapped 1907
5 / 5THunslet Engine Company No.555 of 18922-6-2TTo Cavan & Leitrim Railway 1949
6 / 6THunslet Engine Company No.667 of 18982-6-0TTo West Clare Railway 1953
7 / 7TKerr, Stuart & Co. No.800 of 19022-6-0TScrapped 1928
8 / 4TKerr, Stuart & Co. No.836 of 19032-6-0TTo Cavan & Leitrim Railway 1941
8 / 8THunslet Engine Company No.1051 of 19102-6-0TTo West Clare Railway 1953