John Speller's Web Pages Listowel and Ballybunion Railway

John Speller's Web Pages - Great Southern Railways
Listowel and Ballybunion Railway Untitled
The Listowel & Ballybunion Railway ran from Listowel, about 15 miles north-east of Tralee on the Great Southern & Western Railway's main line, 9 miles north-west to Ballybunion on the West Coast of Ireland. It was built on the monorail system developed by Charles Lartigue (1834-1907) and was the first monorail in the British Isles. This form of construction was considerably cheaper than a conventional railway. Trains ran on a single rail three feet above the ground on a triangular trestle which included side rails on which small wheels ran each side to keep the train vertical. All the coaches and wagons were divided into two sections either side of the rail, and the weight had to be balanced. Thus, if there was a cow on one side there had to be another cow on the other side. Three "Siamese Twin" 0-3-0 locomotives were built by the Hunslet Engine Works in 1887, incorporating a firebox and boiler each side of the central rail. The driver stood on one side and the fireman on the other, and each had to fire the boiler on their side of the engine. The engines were capable of 27 mph but the trains normally ran at 18 mph. The line opened 29 February 1888. It closed in 1924 following damage in the Irish Civil War of 1922-23. A short section of the line has been reconstructed as a heritage railway.
Listowel and Ballybunion Railway train at Ballybunion station in around 1905. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
A photograph of the Listowel and Ballybunion Railway showing how junctions and some level crossings were effected by means of a section of track rotating on a turntable. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
Patrick McCarthy, General Manager of the Listowel and Ballybunion Railway
Some level crossings were effected by means of a double drawbridge called a "Flying Gate"
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