History...

The idea of building a railway between Tralee and Dingle was first approved by the Privy Council in 1884 but no further progress was made until, four years later, and with the support of a Kerry Knight, Sir Maurice Fitzgerald, approval was again given. The "Tralee and Dingle Light Railway" was incorporated on 17 September 1888. The experienced railway contractor Robert Worthington had wanted to lay the rails to the standard Irish gauge of 5 foot 3 inches. However, one look at the required severe gradients and curvature, led to the three foot gauge being adopted.

The line took three years to build, the contractor starting at Blennerville, with each mile costing £2700. 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 "branch" from Lower Camp to Castlegregory was six miles long, few severe gradients and had a different character from the "main line".

By 1925, the line was in a poor state and was taken over by the Great Southern 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continued until the outbreak of Second World War when the Castlegregory Branch closed completely and passenger services withdrawn on the remaining sections.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 for normal traffic.

Shortly after the last cattle train on 26 June 1953, a special train carried 45 local people from Tralee to Dingle organised for the benefit of the Light Railway Transport League and the Irish Railway Record Society. A small group of Dingle schoolchildren enjoyed a short trip by train up the Mail Road from Dingle Station by way of celebration amidst much local regret at the final closing of their "Dingle Railway".

Note: much of the above taken from the fuller account formerly on www.dodingle.com.
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