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Souvenir Guidebook

Whitehead Railway Museum £5.00

Whitehead Railway Museum is the home of the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (RPSI).  The Society has around 1,000 members and it depends on its volunteers to keep the wheels turning.

Whitehead Excursion station was opened in 1907 as a an overflow station to cope with the influx of day trippers from Belfast. It was taken over by the RPSI in the 1960s and many buildings have been added since.  These now house the Society’s extensive collection if historic railway vehicles and memorabilia.   Some of the locomotives and coaches are used by the RPSI on excursion trains all over the Irish railway system.

This guidebook is intended to complement a visit to the museum.  It contains details of opening times and of how to obtain up to date information on Society activities.

Paperback, 90 colour and 38 b&w pictures, one map, 68 pages.

“It must surely be the best guide to any preserved railway centre of any sort, anywhere. It's just wonderful. You have included such a fabulous selection of pictures past and present, encompassing so many people as well as every aspect of the trains, etc. Hope it sells a million, it certainly deserves to.” - Michael H.C. Baker, Railway Author

Add to basket (£5.00)


Sheet of RPSI postage stamps. £5.00

These sheets were produced during the 1970s for use by passengers on our trains. The idea was that passengers could buy an RPSI postcard plus stamp on the train, write the card and then post it in a post box in coach 861. After the trip, the cards were removed, had a proper Royal Mail stamp added and were posted in a regular post box.

Each sheet has 9 stamps, 3 each of the following taken from 35mm slides by Charles Friel:

  • No.171 "Sieve Gullion" at Portrush, about to set off for Belfast and Whitehead with the "Portrush Flyer", 5/8/1975.
  • No.186 passing Woodlawn, en route from Galway to Mullingar with the "Claddagh Railtour", 6/6/1978.
  • No.4 crossing Bleach Green viaduct, en route from Belfast to Portrush with the "Portrush Flyer", 5/8/1977.

These were produced for use on RPSI trains only and are not valid for Royal Mail or An Post.

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Irish Railways 100 Years

Michael H.C. Baker £16.99

The 100 years since the Irish Free State was set up in 1923 has seen enormous change, both in society and on the railways. The creation of a border did the railways no good, prompting an upsurge in smuggling, and, with the exception of the few busy trunk lines from Dublin, the rise in motor vehicles threatened the future of the railways.

Post-1945, General Motors diesel-electric locomotives put paid to steam in the Republic, whilst Northern Ireland’s railway network has diminished and freight traffic is now all but extinct. Still, the belated realisation of the danger posed to the environment has produced forward-looking endeavours, with government encouragement. The electric Dublin Area Rapid Transport (DART) of the modern era has thus helped give back city streets to pedestrians, and continues to expand.

Michael, the master of the telephoto lens, is renowned for photographing scenes which many people hardly notice, until it is too late.

One striking picture shows the overgrown and abandoned approach to the closed Broadstone Station in Dublin in 1996. The next one shows the same scene in 2017, transformed by the arrival of the LUAS tram system.

RPSI members will be happy to see photographs of our trains in action, north and south, including No.4 in at Bray on the front cover.

Hardback, 24 x 17 cm,  106 colour photos, 77 B&W photos, 96 pages.

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Irish Railway Rover Part 2

Michael McMahon £17.50

Michael presents ninety more pictures from his extensive personal archive of images taken in a twenty year period ending in 1995. The introduction of push-pull trains and railcars (as multiple unit sets are known in Ireland) led to the withdrawal of locomotive hauled trains, also the rationalisation of facilities associated with their everyday operations. The change to passenger train working came at the same time as a gradual withdrawal from freight services, which was mostly beyond the control of the railway companies. The result was a cull of locomotive classes and rolling stock, the images in this book represent the closing years of the traditional railway in Ireland. Michael was well placed to observe these changes, the rare privilege of all Ireland footplate passes led to an estimated 80,000 miles of footplate travel between 1982 and 1995 when he was able to closely observe railways at work in all parts of Ireland.  Michael’s night time photography is remarkable and his photograph of the once complex junction trackwork at Mullingar, lit by the lights of the station platforms and of the then active signal cabin, is outstanding

Hardback, 19 x 25 cm,  90 colour photos, 80 pages.

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Irish Railway Rover Part 1

Michael McMahon £17.50

This is a book of superb colour photographs. A small selection from the camera of one man who had what was possibly unique access to the Irish railway network starting in 1975. This period is now looked upon as the ‘museum years’ of post-steam Irish Railways. A time of momentous change that saw the traditional infrastructure of mechanical signalling, travelling post offices, steam heating, goods train services, and 19th century station buildings, etc., progressively give way to the utilitarian, electronic era. Train formations and their operation also changed beyond recognition as the traditional locomotive and carriage formation gave way to anonymous multiple unit operation. The rare privilege of all-Ireland footplate passes led to an estimated 80,000 miles of footplate travel between 1982 and 1995. In this book the author shares ninety pictures from his immense collection to provide a fitting tribute to both the railwaymen and the railway of a bygone age. The good news is that Irish Railway Rover Part 2 is already in preparation!

Hardback, 19 x 25 cm, 90 colour photos, 80 pages.

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Steam's Last Challenge

Joe Cassells £15.00

This lavishly illustrated new book, by lifelong RPSI member Joe Cassells, details the life and times of the Spoil Trains, and the men who worked them. Between 1966 and 1970 more than 4 million tons of quarry waste were moved from Magheramorne to the shores of Belfast Lough to form the foundations of the M2 motorway. And it was done by the last steam locomotives in these islands. Joe relates how the contract was originally drawn up, including the building of 70 dedicated wagons by Cravens of Sheffield. These incorporated a large opening side door for quick unloading at the Belfast end of each trip. At Magheramorne quarry, two extensive loading banks were built. Joe describes the heroic efforts of the maintenance staff, working in primitive conditions by present day standards, to keep the locomotives moving. The book is based on previously unpublished information, and sheds completely new light on many facets of the Spoil Train contract. After the contract ended, the RPSI preserved locomotive No.4 in running order. Since 1970, No.4 has hauled special trains all over the Irish railway system

Softback, 21 x 30 cm, 80 colour and 70 b&w photos, 5 maps, 98 pages.

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Omagh Railway Station

Tony McGartland £18.95

Omagh General Station was on the arterial railway route to the North West of Ireland connecting its capital Dublin with the port of Derry. For many decades the town also served as a busy junction to another important line from Enniskillen and in its heyday the station might be busy for more than 22 hours out of 24.

Tony McGartland has unearthed a wide range of mainly previously unpublished photographs to illustrate activity at the station over the years when people and freight came to the town mostly by train. Pictures of soldiers heading off in high spirits to the Great War, followed by returning casualties, are particularly striking. The nearby Fintona Horse Tram is covered, as is the Omagh Markets Branch.

When the Derry Road closed in 1965, not only did Omagh lose its railway but the town lost a sense of community - of railway families who for generations lived in houses that surrounded the railway and provided steady employment. This book brings together the history of the railway in Omagh - researched over many years and told by railway staff who worked the station. RPSI members will be pleased to see our own No.171 "Slieve Gullion" on the front cover.

Paperback, 27 x 21 cm, 117 b&w  and 9 colour photos, 1 map, 5 track plans, 112 pages.

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The Ballycastle Railway Revisited

Jim McBride £12.00

The 16 mile long, 3 foot wide narrow-gauge Ballycastle Railway operated from the mainline station at Ballymoney to Ballycastle between 1880 and 1950. It had the distinction of closing between April and August 1924, during which time it ceased to be a private company and it was taken over by the LMS NCC. The takeover ensured a variety of motive power and coaching stock. The author has collected a number of previously unpublished pictures and these capture the atmosphere of a rural, narrow gauge line which ran for 70 years.

 Paperback, 18 x 24 cm, 3 colour and 67 b&w photos, 1 map, 64 pages.

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Memories of Co. Limerick’s Railways

A.H. Vaughan £11.95

The author’s first love was trains. With British Rail, he started as a porter, later becoming a signalman, but after being made redundant for the third time in three years, he headed off to Ireland for fresh adventures with his new wife and his Rolleiflex Mod T camera. This book is the result and includes images taken by the author between 1974 and 1982 and four ‘must-haves’ from 1956 by Peter Barlow. RPSI members will be pleased to see a photo of locomotives No.171 and No.184 double-heading (remember that?) a railtour from Limerick, with wooden body coach 861 first in the train. Locations featured include Kilonan Junction, Limerick engine shed, Newcastle West, Rathkeale, Ballingreane Junction, Patrickswell, Foynes Junction, Colbert station yard, Limerick Check cabin, Lisnagry and Dromkeen signal box.

Paperback, 18 x 24 cm, 53 b&w  photos, 1 map, 1 track plan, 50 pages.

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Rail Ramble Round Ireland

Hugh Dougherty £12.95

This book is a quirky illustrated travelogue memoir by the inimitable retired Irish-born Glasgow journalist Hugh Dougherty of his week touring and exploring Ireland by public transport when he was an 18-year-old. It’s fully illustrated with his photographs and a picture of his long-kept battered and sellotaped 1969 summer trains timetable! With just the cash in your pocket and no ATMs or mobile phones, travel was a bit different from today if things went awry. You can feel Hugh’s excitement and fear, too, in his recollections! Locations include the Sligo Quay branch, Loughrea, Cork (with a train going down the middle of the street behind a flagman), Dublin Connolly with single cab B122 being turned on the former D&SER turntable, Portarlington, Cork Kent, Cobh, Tralee, Attymon Junction, Pearse, a mad crazy busy Wexford Quay, and Howth (with a GNR BUT railcar set). There are pictures of both Belfast Great Victoria Street and Londonderry Waterside before they went through a period of closure followed by re-opening.

Paperback, 18 x 24 cm, 4 b&w  and 39 colour photos, 1 map, 50 pages.

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Rails Through Wexford

Jonathan Beaumont & Barry Carse £20.00

A photographic journey across the two scenic railway routes in the south of the county, which once upon a time connected Waterford city with Wexford town and points further afield, by two different routes. The photographs are mainly from the collection of acclaimed railway photographer Barry Carse, who has been taking photographs of railway operations in the area for some fifty years. Many of the scenes depict operations which not only have long since ceased, but of which little or no trace now remains.

We commence our journey around the county by tracing the erstwhile North Wexford line, from Waterford city up through New Ross and onwards through Palace East to join the Dublin - Rosslare line at Macmine Junction. From Macmine Junction, we head south to Wexford and onwards to Rosslare Harbour, before returning to Waterford via the South Wexford line through Wellington Bridge.

Despite both being opened as through routes in 1906 and serving a similar hinterland, the two lines would have a very different history. As a through route the North Wexford line was closed in 1963, although the section from Waterford to New Ross would remain in use for freight trains until 1995. However, largely due to the sugar beet loading facility at Wellington Bridge, and Rosslare - Cork passenger trains in times past, the South Wexford line would survive until the untimely demise of the domestic beet industry in 2006 and the end of passenger services in 2010. The beet traffic, for so long a staple on this line, has been covered in detail in the book.

Today, only the section from Dublin to Wexford and on to Rosslare remains in use for passenger trains only. 

Paperback, 26 x 21 cm, 9 b&w and 178 colour photos, 1 map, 4 gradient profiles and 2 track plans, 155 pages.

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Adventures of a Fighting Railway - The Belfast Central Railway Company 1864-1885

Robert Phipp £25.00

The Belfast Central Railway Company can probably claim to be Belfast's most important 'forgotten railway'. Forgotten, but certainly not lost, as most of the nearly four miles of railway it built in its short but turbulent life are still in use today, and indeed provide the link between the lines coming into Lanyon Place Station from the north and east and the line to Portadown and beyond. The Enterprise, which recently celebrated its 75th birthday, still leaves Belfast on the line the BCR built almost 150 years ago.

This book describes how the company came into being against the backdrop of Belfast in the early 1860s, when the town was just beginning to enter its golden phase of ship building, linen manufacture, engineering and ropeworks. It follows the fortunes of the company over the next twenty years as it eventually built and opened its line, and then battled for survival before succumbing to mounting debts, and being sold to the Great Northern Railway (Ireland) in 1885.

It's a story full of personalities, heroes and possible villains, a little bit of skullduggery, and above all, endless battles with other railway companies, the town council and the harbour commissioners, fought out in the press, Parliament, the courts and elsewhere. The epithet of a 'fighting railway' was never so well deserved

 Paperback, 26 x 18 cm, 65 b&w photos, numerous maps and diagrams, 292 pages.

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Lost Tramways of Ireland: Dublin

Peter Waller £8.99

In this book, the history of the trams that served Dublin and its environs are recalled. Although dominated by the system of Dublin itself, there were no fewer than three other tramways that served the area – the Dublin & Blessington, the Dublin & Lucan and the GNR(I)-owned Hill of Howth – that all had a fascinating history, with the Hill of Howth ultimately becoming the last first generation tramway to operate on the island of Ireland with closure on 31st May 1959.

Locations featured include: Lucan, Ballsbridge, Nelson Pillar, O’Connell Bridge, Parnell Monument, Bachelors Walk,Trinity College, Sandymount, Dun Laoghaire, Dalkey, Phoenix Park, Dartry, Rathmines, Terenure, Sutton Cross, Howth.

Trams began running again in Dublin on 30th June 2004 with the opening of the LUAS Green Line – but that’s for another book!

Hardback, 15 x 20 cm, 41 b&w photos, 4 maps, 64 pages.

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Lost Tramways Of Ireland: Belfast

Peter Waller £8.99

The first volume in the "Lost Tramways of Ireland" series features the history of the Belfast system, including its origins as a horse tramway in the 1870s, its conversion to electric traction in the early 20th century, its role in two World Wars, the conversion of the network to bus and trolleybus operation from the late 1940s and the system’s eventual demise in 1954.

Amongst the locations featured are Glengormley, Greencastle and Bloomfield as well as Great Victoria Street, York Road (prior to the attention of the Luftwaffe in 1941) and Queen’s Quay railway stations. Like so many assets that would be priceless today, the tramway system was discarded long before climate change became an issue.

Hardback, 15 x 20 cm, 40 b&w photos, 1 map, 64 pages.

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Lost Tramways Of Ireland: Belfast & Dublin

Peter Waller £16.50

Volume 1 - Belfast

Volume 2 - Dublin

Order both books together - see individual book entries for full information.

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Irish Railways The Last 60 Years

Michael H.C. Baker £15.99

Railway enthusiasts who are familiar with Michael Baker’s previous bookswill not be disappointed with this latest publication. Michael is a master of the use of the telephoto lens and of unusual but striking photo compositions. Steam, diesel and electric traction are featured as are semaphore signals, station architecture, loose coupled goods trains, trams old and new, and locations on now closed lines such as Listowel. Both standard and narrow gauge preservation are well covered. RPSI members will be pleased to see the rear cover photo of a busy night time scene at Whitehead Excursion Station, and to see photos of our trains at various places on the Irish railway system. One gem which Michael has photographed is the former Kilmessan Junction signal box, now converted into the bridal suite of a local hotel.

Softback, 24 x 17 cm, 165 colour and 60 b&w photos, 96 pages.

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Memories Of Kerry’s Railways

A.H. Vaughan £11.95

Adrian Vaughan has published more than 30 railway books, including ‘Signalman’s Morning’ – his personal experiences of operating a mechanical signal box on the Great Western mainline. In 1975, he moved to County Kerry in Ireland and discovered a railway where the dreaded rationalisation had not yet begun and where every station still had full facilities for dealing with goods trains. This book is the result and includes images of Lixnaw, Killarney, Farranfore, Glenbeigh Station Signal Box, Kells Signal Box (with scenic backdrop!), Castleisland, Tralee, Fenit, Ardfert, Abbeydorney and Abbeyfeale. The sight of three coupled wagons being loose shunted would cause panic today, but it was all in a day’s work in the 1970s.

Softback, 18 x 24 cm, 52 b&w photos, 50 pages.

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Irish Railways Line By Line - Volume 2

Jim Edgar £11.50

Railway photographer Jim Edgar has put together in this book a collection of his photos of Irish railways between 1974 and 2008. Volume Two covers the South West of Ireland, mainly counties Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary. A wide range of passenger and goods trains feature, ranging from wooden bodied stock to modern air-braked and air-conditioned trains, and from loose coupled goods wagons to bogie liner freight trains. It is sobering to realise that, by 2022, none of the lines in this book south and west of Ballybrophy have any freight traffic.

Locos include the classes A (001), B (121 141,and 181), G and the second 201 class.

Lines covered include the Limerick to Foynes route, the “North Kerry” and “South Kerry” lines on either side of Tralee, Limerick to Waterford, the Cork Main line from Ballybrophy to Cork, Cork to Cobh and Cobh Junction to Youghal.

Softback, 26 x 18 cm, 104 colour photos, 1 track plan, 1 map, 52 pages.

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Irish Railways Line By Line - Volume 3

Jim Edgar £11.50

Railway photographer Jim Edgar has put together in this book a collection of his photos of Irish railways between 1973 and 2012. Volume Three covers Dublin and the South East of Ireland. Starting in the Dublin area at Heuston Station and Inchicore Works, this volume covers the Cork Main Line as far as Ballybrophy before venturing to Waterford via Kilkenny. Next the “South Wexford” line between Waterford and Rosslare is visited, followed by a return to Dublin, this time arriving at Connolly station. The former sugar beet traffic along the South Wexford line is featured. To show the development of the railway system over the years covered, there is also a short feature showing scenes from the start and end of the period.

For all the changes we can see during the years covered by this book, some parts of the railway maintained the feel of a bygone era throughout the period. A wide range of passenger and goods trains feature, ranging from wooden bodied stock to modern air-braked and air-conditioned trains, and from loose coupled sugar beet wagons to container “liner” bogie freight trains.

Locos include the classes A (001), B (Sulzer, 121 141,181 and the first 201 class), 071 and the second 201 class.

Softback, 26 x 18 cm, 98 colour and 5 b&w photos, I map, 96 pages.

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Irish Railways Line By Line - Volumes 2 & 3

Jim Edgar £20.00

Volume 2 - The South West of Ireland

Volume 3 - Dublin and the South-East of Ireland 

Order both books together - see individual book entries for full information.

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Memories of the Bord na Móna

Darragh Connolly £14.95

This, the second volume in the Mainline and Maritime "Irish Narrow Gauge Railways" series, takes a nostalgic look at the idiosyncratic railways of Bord na Móna. Peat, better known as ‘turf’ in Ireland, was extracted from 30 bogs, each served by an extensive railway system, and was delivered to nine power stations. Peat was also made into briquettes for home heating, and into milled form for horticulture. Recently, concern about climate change has brought about a rapid decline in Bord na Móna operations. This is the story of the closing years of this fascinating narrow gauge system.

Softback, 30 x 21 cm, 148 colour photos, 1 map, 64 pages.

£5 per book sold will be donated to the Cavan & Leitrim Railway.

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The County Donegal Remembered

Jim McBride £15.00

This book is published by the Donegal Railway Heritage Centre, Donegal Town.

The railway extended from Londonderry through Strabane, Stanorlar and Donegal Town to Killybegs, with branches to Letterkenny, Glenties and Ballyshannon. The vast majority of photographs in the book have not been published before and they show the wonderful and sometimes wild scenery through which the railway ran. The County Donegal Railways were pioneers in the introduction of diesel railcars, and steam traction was retained for freight and excursion trains until the system closed on 31st December 1959. The book includes a reprint of an article on the County Donegal Railways written by Sam Carse in 1951. The author has been involved with railway heritage and preservation for decades, and is the Irish Editor of the “Disused Stations” website.

Softback, 24 x 15 cm, 50 colour and 200 b&w photos, 1 map, 144 pages.

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Ireland’s General Motors Diesel-Electrics

Philip Horton £11.00

Philip Horton was fortunate to visit Ireland in 1989 and 1997 when the trains were almost all loco-hauled by General Motors-built diesel-electrics. On most lines semaphore signals were still in use, along with Electric Train Staff working on the many single lines. During the next decade this infrastructure was steadily swept away, modern signalling installed and the diesel locomotives replaced by railcars.

In the early 1950s, when BR was still planning its range of 'Standard' steam engines, two diesel-electric locos and many DMUs were built for Coras lompair Éireann (CIÉ). It then ordered no fewer than ninety-four more diesel locos from Metropolitan-Vickers in the UK. Their original Crossley engines were, however, unreliable and were later replaced by GM ones. From 1961 all of CIÉ's main-line diesels were built by GM.

The five classes supplied up to 1995 are all featured in this book, four of them carrying the striking variant of CIE's orange and black livery, introduced when Irish Rail was launched in 1987. Here the black band along the loco's side is bordered by white lining. This book illustrates Irish railways during their diesel locomotive heyday. 

Softback, 17 x 24 cm, 119 colour & 5 b&w photos, 4 track plans, 64 pages.

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Ireland’s Largest Industrial Railway: The Guinness System

Hugh Oram £10.00

The Guinness brewery in Dublin expanded rapidly in the 1870s as the world couldn’t get enough of its ruby red gold (it might look black but that’s an illusion). 

Horses and carts hauled hops, malt and casks around the site until 1873 when construction of a narrow gauge railway (tramway) began. This delightful little factory system operated for 100 years, ceasing work in 1975. Hugh Oram’s book is full of photos of (mainly) this and the day to day workings of the brewery. As well as the internal tramway, there was also a broad gauge link to Kingsbridge Station which closed in 1965 and is also featured.

Paperback, 18 x 24cm, 52 black and white photos, 50 pages

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Irish Steam In The 1960s - End Of An Era

Conrad Natzio £12.00

This is RPSI member Conrad Natzio’s record of a distinctive time on the Irish railway system, between 1960 and 1963, when dieselisation was well under way but there were many steam locomotives still hard at work, north and south. This delightful collection of Conrad’s largely unpublished images, complemented by extended captions filled with detail, anecdotes and personal reflections, captures the changing scene and celebrates what had survived.

Conrad is donating royalties from the book to the Society, so please support its purchase.

Paperback, 26 x 21cm, 220 colour photos, 160 pages

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The Giant's Causeway Tramway

John McGuigan £15.95

Written by RPSI founding member, John McGuigan, and first published in 1964, this new edition comprises the original text but the book has been redesigned. New photographs have been added to bring the number of illustrations to 67 in total. In his preface the author recalls his childhood experiences of riding the toastracks on this narrow gauge railway from Bushmills to Portrush. A talk he was to give in 1948 caused him to talk to the tram crews and managers on the world’s first hydro-electric tramway. The book comprises eleven chapters covering the early days, operation, the First World War, the Second World War and after. Lack of maintenance meant that by 1949 the track was in very poor condition. This, combined with a growing overdraft, meant closure was inevitable and the assets were sold off piecemeal until 1952 when the company could be wound up. Eight appendices detailing locomotive, rolling stock, tickets and fares etc. tell more of the story.

Paperback, 21 x 15 cm, 67 b&w pictures, 6 maps, 1 diagram, 120 pages.

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How Railway Workers And Dockers Defied An Empire - The Irish Munitions Embargo Of 1920

Peter Rigney £5.00

The Irish munitions strike is one of the most important, yet neglected, episodes of the War of Independence and Peter Rigney's book has redressed the balance. He shows how ordinary railway workers and the wider trade union movement used civil resistance to bring the British war effort to a virtual standstill for much of 1920. It is essential reading for every future historian of the period and will inform the general reader's understanding of the times.

Paperback 15 x 21cm, 10 illustrations, 1 table, 1 map, bibliography and index, 58 pages.

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The Railways of Bord na Móna

Ted McAvoy £10.95

The 3ft gauge railways of Bord na Móna were by far the largest network of narrow gauge ever seen in the British Isles. Moving as much as 4 million tonnes of peat each year, they featured more than 200 British-built locomotives, before building their own from the 1990s. Each year around 200 miles of temporary tracks were laid.

This book covers all aspects of the railways since 2000.

Softback, 17 x 24 cm, 84 colour and 10 b&w photos, 2 maps, 68 pages.

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Rails Through Tipperary

Jonathan Beaumont and Barry Carse £18.00

This book is a scenic photographic odyssey through the ‘Golden Vale’ of County Tipperary covering the route from Limerick to Waterford along with the branches and section of the Dublin–Cork main line that intersects them. There are photos of the Limerick to Ballybrophy line via Nenagh, of the Killaloe and Cashel Branches, and of the Thurles to Clonmel line. Limerick Junction with its unique layout is given detailed treatment as is Thurles sugar beet factory. The pictures are complemented by a selection of timetable extracts and gradient profiles. Drawing primarily from the photos of Barry Carse, the book illustrates these lines from 1960 onwards, in an era of locomotive hauled trains and of freight services on all lines. 

 Softback, 26 x 21 cm, 180 colour and 6 b&w photos, 1 map, 5 track plans, 160 pages.

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The Lough Swilly Remembered

Jim McBride £11.00

This book looks at the last twenty years of the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway from the early 1930s up to the closure of the railway itself in 1953. We travel on the Swilly from Derry to Burtonport, and also visit Letterkenny and Buncrana.

The story is told through many historic photos from the past. Over 50 unpublished photos have been selected of this forgotten Irish railway, which had some unique and distinctive features. The company’s terminus at Graving Dock in Derry looked more like a goods shed! There are superb pictures of the magnificent 4-8-0 locomotive No.12 in action. No.12 was one of only two tender locomotives to run on Irish narrow gauge railways - if only one had been preserved. It is clear from the photos that all the Lough Swilly locomotives were kept in excellent external condition right up until closure.

Softback, 18 x 24 cm, 60 b&w photos, 1 map, 64 pages.

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Rails Through Connemara

Jonathan Beaumont £15.95

The book begins with an account of Connemara, in the west of Ireland, and the various schemes put forward to link its two main settlements, Galway and Clifden. The line was finally built by the Midland Great Western Railway in 1895 and the MGWR operated it until 1925 when the government merged all railways operating only in Irish Free State into Great Southern Railways. The line closed in 1935. The book has eleven chapters including Train Services, Locomotives and Rolling Stock and Road Services . Appendices include the Shantalla Siding, Tourism and the Recess Hotel, The Ulster & Connaught Light Railway and The Marconi Railway, ClifdenAnyone who has read Jonathan’s previous book on the Achill line will know to expect an outstandingly well researched and readable publication.

Softback, 21 x 15 cm, 2 colour and  101 b&w photos, 19 maps, 22 drawings, 192 pages

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Rails to Achill – a West of Ireland Branch Line

Jonathan Beaumont £10.95

If you travel from Westport in the west of Ireland from Westport through Newport and Mallaranny to Achill Sound today, here and there you will see overgrown sections of railway embankment, bridges and a couple of tunnels, as well as the magnificent stone viaduct across the river in Newport. These are the surviving remnants of the old Achill line (now a popular greenway) - a branch line built at the close of the 19th century to help develop the area and link it with the outside world.

It proved to be a great social and economic asset to this area of County Mayo, but traffic never consistently reached the levels originally anticipated, and the last train ran in the autumn of 1937 - a mere 42 years after the line had opened. Since then, trains have operated from Dublin just as far as Westport, which is now the railhead for the area. This is the story of the ‘Achill Railway’ - described by travellers at the turn of the 20th century as ‘one of the most scenic railway journeys in these Islands’.  The book also includes the history of the Westport Quay line and of two short lived mineral lines on Achill Island.

Paperback, 21 x 15 cm, 130 b&w photos, 25 drawings, 160 pages.

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Rails Through Connemara / Raills To Achill

Jonathan Beaumont £24.90


Order both books together for a discount - see individual book entries for full information.

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Great Northern Railway Of Ireland Road Motor Services 1925-1958

Sam Simpson £21.00

Any reader who thinks that this book may not contain much of interest to the railway enthusiast should think again, as the fortunes of the GNR(I) road motor services were inextricably linked to the those of the parent railway company. Sam Simpson describes in detail the effects on the GNR(I) and on its employees of partition in Ireland, the 1933 strike, competition with private companies, World War 2 (known as the ‘Emergency’ in the Free State), and the growth of private car ownership in the 1950s. There is a chapter on the company’s innovative railbuses, built at the GNR(I) works in Dundalk, where road buses and lorries were also built. The comprehensive appendices give details of the company’s fleets of buses, lorries and other vehicles, bus companies bought by the GNR(I), and the routes of all road services. The author’s extensive research has resulted in a book packed with information and it is a  real eye opener to those who thought that the GNR(I) just ran trains.

 Hardback, 30 x 21 cm, 47 colour & 134 b&w photos, 224 pages.

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Smoke Amidst the Drumlins - The Cavan and Leitrim Railway in the 1950s

Anthony Burges £6.00

The front cover picture of this book captures the atmosphere of the narrow (three foot) gauge Cavan and Leitrim Railway – a train pulls away from Mohill station and over a level crossing. Behind a closed gate wait a postman with bicycle and a farmer with his donkey and cart. The railway was steam hauled for its lifetime and, in later years, it acquired locomotives from the Cork, Blackrock and Passage and the Tralee and Dingle Railways.  Coal traffic from Arigna mine (one of the few in Ireland) sustained the railway until closure in 1959.

 Paperback, 20 x 24 cm, 61 b&w pictures, 1 map, 64 pages.

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Horseshoes and Trolley Poles - Fintona and Howth trams in the 1950s

Anthony Burges £6.00

If they had survived, they would make wonderful tourist attractions today. The Great Northern Railway (Ireland) operated both the horse drawn Fintona Tram (closed 1957) and the electric Hill of Howth Tram (closed 1959). This book is Anthony Burges’s pictorial record of both systems in everyday use when public transport was still popular due to low car ownership. Anthony’s pictures capture the atmosphere of the 1950s.  Do you remember the days when suitcases had no wheels?

Paperback, 20 x 24 cm, 56 b&w pictures, 2 maps, 63 pages.

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Horseshoes and Trolley Poles / Smoke Amidst the Drumlins

Anthony Burges £10.00

Horseshoes and Trolley Poles - Fintona and Howth trams in the 1950s

Smoke Amidst the Drumlins - The Cavan and Leitrim Railway in the 1950s

Order both books together - see individual book entries for full information.

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The Bessbrook And Newry Tramway

A.T. Newham £10.95

First published in 1979 and unavailable for decades this little book has been reformatted as a landscape book. This new format does justice to the excellent photographs. The Bessbrook & Newry Tramway was a narrow gauge line operated on the hydro-electric principle and built to transport coal and flax from the Newry quays to the Bessbrook Spinning Mills, finished goods in the reverse direction and mill workers. It opened in October 1885 and closed in January 1948. This little book is packed with information including the background to construction and opening, equipment, description of the line, operation (and mishaps), rolling stock, tickets and closure. Four maps and gradient profiles are also included. The back cover features a photograph of tramcar No.6, which is currently under restoration at Whitehead.

Paperback, 17 x 24 cm, 35 b&w photos, 52 pages

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Irish Railways, Locomotives, Multiple Units And Trams

Robert Pritchard £18.95

The complete guide to all locomotives, multiple units, coaching stock and trams of Irish Rail, Northern Ireland Railways and Dublin Trams (Luas). Contains complete fleet lists of all stock in traffic plus technical data for every class. The Belmond Grand Hibernian Luxury Train, preserved locomotives and railcars and on-track machines are all included along with details of museums and museum lines open to the public. Detailed maps of the railways of Ireland are also included. As well as fleet information, Irish Railways contains a general overview of how the Irish railway networks operate, with details of passenger services, railfreight, urban rail networks and proposed future developments. Useful information about rover tickets and links to useful websites are also included. This new edition of Irish Railways incorporates all the changes that have taken place since the previous edition was published in 2013. If you want to find out where, in Ireland, you can find a former BR Southern Region Cig EMU, just buy the book! 

Paperback, 21 x 15 cm, 71 colour photos, 4 maps, 96 pages

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County Donegal by Rail in Colour

John Langford and Neil Tee £18.00

A hardback book of colour photos taken of the railway by John Langford, who visited the line during the summer of 1959, having heard it was to close and wishing to record its activities. A number of these pictures have been published before in various places, but this special collection has never before been published together. There are 75 colour photos each of which has been carefully and informatively captioned using John’s notes taken at the time. This all-colour photographic collection gives a unique flavour of the line in its last year of operation showing both steam and diesel trains, passenger and goods, and stations and countryside.

Hardback, 22 x 28 cm, 75 colour photos, 1 map, 80 pages

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The Tracks of my Railway Years, Volume 2

Roy Carlisle £15.00

Roy Carlisle’s ‘The Tracks of My Railway Years, Volume 2’ takes over where Volume 1 finished in terms of Roy’s personal railway experiences, illustrated by (mainly) his own photographs. One of the later chapters brings us to railways in exotic locations such as Kuala Lumpur, the Cape of Good Hope and San Francisco. However, the bulk of the book is firmly located in Ireland since the 1970s, with exotic locations such as Barn Halt on the Larne line, Ballykelly Airfield and Fenit, County Kerry!

As with Volume One, Roy intersperses pictures of everyday railway scenes with historic photos and those of preservation activities. RPSI members will be pleased to see the first ever Portrush Flyer in Portrush in 1973. The Downpatrick and County Down Railway, the Fintown Railway and the Donegal Heritage Centre at Donegal Town are given extensive coverage.

Roy used a magazine article, which featured his grandfather who drove trains around Clones, as the basis of a chapter on the ‘Bundoran Express’ called ‘The Partition Express, 1948’. Some of the customs arrangements, such as locking in passengers who have been customs examined, border on the horrific.

If you get nostalgic for views of MED railcars on the Bangor line, Belfast Transport Museum in Witham Street, CIÉ A class diesels, Castlerock station with semaphore signals or RPSI steam trains with wooden body coaches, this is the book for you.

Paperback, 26 x 21 cm, 434 colour and 155 b&w photos, 3 maps, 256 pages

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Five Foot Three No.69

The Society's annual magazine - March 2024. £5.00

The latest issue of the Society's magazine, detailing the events of 2023. Includes reports on all Society activities.

Paperback, A5, 80 pages with colour photographs.

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Five Foot Three No.68

The Society's annual magazine - March 2023. £5.00

The latest issue of the Society's magazine, detailing the events of 2022. Includes reports on all Society activities.

Paperback, A5, 64 pages with colour photographs.

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Five Foot Three No.67

The Society's annual magazine - March 2022. £4.00

The latest issue of the Society's magazine, detailing the events of 2021. Includes reports on all Society activities.

Paperback, A5, 72 pages with colour photographs.

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Five Foot Three No.66

The Society's annual magazine - March 2021. £4.00

The latest issue of the Society's magazine, detailing the events of 2020. Includes reports on all Society activities.

Paperback, A5, 96 pages with colour photographs.

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Five Foot Three No.65

The Society's annual magazine - March 2020. £4.00

The Society's magazine, detailing the events of 2019. Includes reports on all Society activities.

Paperback, A5, 76 pages with colour photographs.

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Parting Shot – Railway Photographs from 1964 to 1973

Norman Johnston £8.00

Norman Johnston is widely regarded as one of Ireland’s foremost railway historians, who has meticulously photographed and recorded the changing world of Irish railways from the early 1960s.

This book draws from his remarkable collection and showcases some of what Norman regarded as the best, most interesting and significant images that he took during the pivotal period between 1964 and 1973. The pictures are presented in roughly chronological order and include some CIÉ as well as UTA and NIR. All are accompanied by extended captions filled with detail, anecdotes and personal reflection.

Norman began writing the book during the last two months of his life, completing the manuscript just seven days before his death on 31 August 2014. His choice of title reflects the fact that he knew that it would be his last book.

The book is published by Colourpoint Books, the company which Norman founded in conjunction with his wife, Sheila, and which contributed so much to our knowledge of Irish railways in terms of books published.  Norman’s sons, Malcolm and Wesley, now run the business and continue to publish books of railway and transport interest.

Paperback, 26 x 21 cm,  198 colour & 37 b&w photos, 160 pages.

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No.85 "Merlin"

Great Northern Railway (Ireland) compound 4-4-0 No.85 "Merlin" £5.00

No.85 "Merlin", built by Beyer Peacock in Manchester in 1932. An A4 size, super detail colour print from a drawing by RPSI Richard Armstrong, printed on 350gm silk board.

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Great Northern Railway (Ireland) 4-4-0 No.131 £5.00

No.131, built by Neilson Reid in Glasgow in 1901. An A4 size, super detail colour print from a drawing by RPSI Richard Armstrong, printed on 350gm silk board.

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Great Northern Railway (Ireland)

E.M. Patterson £14.95

The Great Northern Railway of Ireland, maintained an independent existence for 77 years, much of that time prosperously established as the second largest and certainly the most enterprising of the Irish railway systems. Springing from the need to link Dublin and Belfast by rail, the Great Northern was the result of amalgamation of numerous smaller companies. The Great Northern was at its most prosperous in the 30 years or so preceding World War I. Falling receipts and soaring operating costs brought the company to its knees shortly after the end of World War II. Five years of shared nationalisation followed, during which much of the system suffered closures. In 1958 what was left was divided and administered thereafter by the Ulster Transport Authority and by Coras Iompair Éireann.

Paperback, 21 x 15 cm, 190 b&w photos, 11 maps, 240 pages

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The County Donegal Railways

E.M. Patterson (Revised edition with additional material by J. Begley & S. Flanders) £18.00

This is a new edition of E.M. Patterson’s first volume on the history of the narrow-gauge railways of North-West Ireland, originally published in 1962. The County Donegal Railways had a route of 124 miles, five termini and three junction stations. For the most part they traversed hilly and thinly-populated country and for two generations they were a busy and efficient operation. This edition adds a valuable chapter of interviews and memories of some of the surviving workers and others who had contact with the railway. It also includes a chapter on the County Donegal Railway today as, over 50 years after closure, much can still be seen of the former network. Some additional Glover drawings of locomotive, carriage and wagon stock are included.

Paperback,  26 x 21 cm,  34 colour & 55 b&w photos, 32 maps and diagrams, 192 pages

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Rails through the West – Limerick to Sligo

Jonathan Beaumont and Barry Carse £16.00

This pictorial album, illustrated mainly in colour from the 1960s to the present, is a portrait of the Limerick to Sligo railway line in its Indian Summer. The Athenry to Galway plus the Claremorris to Ballina lines are also included. The colour photography of Barry Carse allows the line to come to life on these pages reviving memories of locomotive hauled passenger trains, loose coupled freights, sugar beet specials, pilgrim trains to Claremorris for Knock, and traditional semaphore signalling. Now, at the end of the first decade of the 21st Century, a century after the Great Southern and Western Railway took over the line’s operation, the Western Rail Corridor, as it is often identified, is coming back to life. At the south end (Limerick to Athenry), a busy and well used passenger service operates with modern trains over well maintained track; in the middle and at the northern end (Athenry to Sligo), all is quiet, save for the birds in the trees which grow between the rails.

Paperback, 28 x 21 cm, 156 colour and 13 b&w photos, 1 map, 4 track plans, 144 pages

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Society Subscription (Adult) £30.00

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Society Subscription (Junior) £18.00

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Society Subscription (Over 65) £25.00

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