Kerry County Council bid for funding

posted Jun 20, 2018, 3:49 AM by Steve Edge

Under the large capital grants scheme, the Council submitted a unsuccessful proposal to Fáilte Ireland in 2016 to restore the Tralee & Blennerville Railway and also the Windmill at Blennerville.

According to Radio Kerry, "The council has been invited to make a revised application when the second phase of funding opens in the Autumn."

Watch this space...

Enthusiasm for re-opening from the Tralee Chamber Alliance

posted Apr 1, 2015, 1:53 AM by Steve Edge

Eddie Barrett of the Tralee & Blennerville Steam Railway Group, attended the AGM of the Tralee Chamber Alliance held on 31 March 2015.  

Eddie reports "At the Meeting, I was asked to report on the progress of our ambitions to relaunch the the Tralee & Blennerville Steam Railway Project."  

"To say that there was great enthusiasm for our plans , would be an understatement. There was obvious joy in the room of about 50/60 people, that there was a ray of light at last, in the plan to restart the line." 

"After the Meeting , I was interviewed by a Reporter from local Kerry Newspaper - Kerry's Eye  - who are anxious to do a major story on it this Thursday."

(details from a Facebook message)

Group featured in Irish Vintage Scene magazine

posted Mar 19, 2015, 2:14 PM by Steve Edge

A nice piece by Darragh Connolly in the "Irish Vintage Scene" magazine April 2015.

Membership landmark achieved

posted Mar 17, 2015, 12:12 PM by Steve Edge   [ updated Mar 19, 2015, 2:06 PM ]

John Huxley writes: 

At the start of March, the embryonic Tralee and Blennerville Steam Railway Group achieved a notable landmark, when they recruited their 555th member to their 'Facebook' page.

The attaining of 555 members for the group had a particular resonance as the sole surviving Tralee and Dingle locomotive No.5T currently awaiting restoration in Tralee was works number 555 when it was constructed by Hunslet of Leeds in 1892. Number 5T has another place in railway history as it was the first inside-framed 2-6-2 tank engine to operate in these Islands!

The route that 5T worked from Tralee to the Atlantic port of Dingle, included the steepest grades on any Irish railway being  1 in 29 over the Slieve Mish mountain range. The little engines hauled anything from cattle and fish to emigrants searching for new lives. The line itself became synonymous with railway enthusiasts, particularly during the cattle fair trains during the early 1950's. Household enthusiast names such as Ivo Peters, Patrick Whitehouse and W.A Camwell all travelling to this western outpost at some stage to record its marvellous character.

5T left the Tralee and Dingle section, of the then nationalised railway company, known as CIE or Coras Iompar Eireann, in 1949. The loco was in bad need of major refurbishment. 5T was subsequently stored at Inchicore Works in Dublin. CIE chose to transfer 5T to another Irish narrow gauge system rather than send it back 'home', the Cavan and Leitrim section. She moved there about 1951 and was mainly used on Arigna Coal trains. The line closed in 1959 with 5T hauling the last Arigna Branch train.

The locomotive was then exported to America thanks to the intervention of Edgar Mead an American railway enthusiast. It is ironic that 5T essentially emigrated like so many an Irishman. It was based at Steamtown Museum in Vermont before being re-patriated to Ireland in 1988. It was restored to a steamable condition and worked on the newly created Tralee and Blennerville line, until 2006 when it was withdrawn with boiler problems. It is currently in a dismantled state at Blennerville in store.

The Blennerville operation ran into difficulties and closed in 2008, largely as a result of a lack of development and no diesel at all. Now the newly formed Tralee and Blennerville Steam Railway Group has set itself the target of re-opening the one and half mile line and securing as much of the original Tralee and Dingle Railway’s history as possible. We already have amounted a collection of suitable artefacts for display, and would welcome others to come forward.

Recently a brand new tourist amenity known as the "Wetlands" park has been developed within the vicinity of the running line, with platform built especially for use. Making this railway an ideal tourism amenity for the locality of Tralee and the region.

Group spokesperson Darragh Connolly said: "Reaching such a remarkable landmark with our membership is really encouraging, especially in such a short pace of time.

"Surely a historic and unique locomotive such as 5T deserves a better fate than its current state of existence and we want to ensure this important locomotive in Irish railway history is put on proud display as a monument to both Irish industrial history and our local Kerry heritage.

"I would ask those that have an interest in seeing this project succeed to please support our online group campaign by becoming a member of our Facebook page . The more members we recruit, the better.

"Or alternatively please subscribe to our campaign by becoming a paid up member of the society. Membership forms are available by contacting our group secretary (to be decided locally) via email or by post (to be confirmed).

"There's quite clearly interest in the Tralee and Blennerville in the railway fraternity and we want to translate that into direct on the ground action to save the line."

Written by John Huxley.

This media release is issued by the Tralee and Blennerville Steam Railway Group on 16 March 2015.

Interest in re-opening is very evident...

posted Mar 1, 2015, 9:27 AM by Steve Edge

Darragh Connolly writes on the Facebook page:

"So folks it seems we have reached our target of 555 members!

The target 555 was set, as this was the works number of the unique and last surviving Tralee and Dingle locomotive, number 5 built in 1892 by Hunslet of Leeds (works number 555).

It was the first inside framed 2-6-2 tank engine designed for use in these islands, and worked over the steep 1 in 29 grades over the Slieve Mish mountain range to Dingle hauling anything from cattle and fish to emigrants in search of better lives and even scholars heading to the Blasket Islands!

This locomotive had had a colourful history moving to the Cavan and Leitrim in the fifties and then emigrated to America, ironically like so many a Kerryman did on the train from dingle!

Fortunately she returned and is now in pieces in Blennerville after a successful spell in returning to steam.

Surely this unique and important loco to Kerry and Ireland deserves a better fate, let's put 5t back together on proud display as a monument to both Irish industrial heritage and our local Kerry heritage.

Please support our group by liking and becoming a member! The more members we get the better! "

New group make front page of The Kerryman

posted Jan 31, 2015, 2:10 AM by Steve Edge

The new group proposing new ideas for restoring the Tralee & Blennerville section have been talking to The Kerryman newpaper.

The online news item can be read here.

Thanks to local Tralee man Keith for his help with the images and of course huge thanks to The Kerryman for the coverage.

Gathering momentum?

posted Jan 21, 2015, 6:22 AM by Steve Edge

Quite a lot of discussion and movement on facebook about forming a group to push for some kind of progress with re-opening the now-long disused Tralee & Blennerville section.

It is clear the current management have failed in every way and to avoid continuing stagnation, the railway needs a new initiative with fresh minds and fresh ideas and fresh enthusiasm and fresh money. Those things are there but are blocked by the current arrangements.

The owners of the line and assets ought to pay attention to a new group, properly constituted, full of desire, ability and properly funded, and explore constructive, planned ways of making progress at Tralee and Blennerville.

If you are interested, keep an eye on the facebook page, on the Yahoo discussion group or here on this website.

Tralee - August 2014

posted Aug 21, 2014, 11:22 AM by Steve Edge

Tralee platform and loop in August 2014.

The western level crossing gate at Tralee.

Looking west from the level crossing at Tralee.

Looking west from the level crossing at Tralee.

Looking east at the level crossing at Tralee.

The "new" line, now disused, sleeps.

Pics by Steve Edge

New web address

posted Mar 11, 2014, 6:17 AM by Steve Edge   [ updated Mar 11, 2014, 6:19 AM ]

Please note the web address for this website is now The former address ( will be discontinued from early April 2014.



It was sixty years ago...

posted Jun 11, 2013, 4:44 AM by Steve Edge   [ updated Jun 11, 2013, 4:48 AM ]

Darragh Connolly writes:

"On this day 60 years ago on the 11th June 1953, the last 'special' passenger train left Tralee heading westwards for Dingle. It was a special party of 45 people organised jointly by the Irish Railway Record Society (IRRS) and the Light Rail Transport League (LRTL). The two groups were on a tour of all narrow gauge railways in Ireland before they were closed.

Out of the three locomotives, loco number 8T was chosen, it was cleaned especially for the trip, the grit and dirt from the cattle trains was removed and it looked strangely clean. Also the coaching stock were two former brake 3rds number 2T and 5T both built circa 1890, they had been converted to cattle brakes, and there usual passengers post 1940's were cattle! Obviously 'heath and safety' [as we know it now] was non existent back then!

The train was driven by Billy Hanlon an old driver from the pre-1925 TDLR regime. He knew the road well, there were plenty of stops for the photographers which included J H Roberts, W McGrath, D G Coakham. Some cine film and colour photos were taken...the only known colour photos of the line.

The train proceeded to Dingle, where the train was met by the local school children and the local priest Canon Lynne, who were singing songs upon its arrival. Indeed the children got a short ride on the train!

60 years ago today history was made on the T&D.....more to come shortly! "

The picture above was taken at Tralee Sidings on 11 June 1953 during a visit by the Light Railway Transport League. In the picture from left are T. Redican (PW), T. Garvey (Station Master), J. Garrett (Loco Foreman), H. A. Massey (District Superintendent), W. Lynch (Fireman) and W. Hanlon (Driver).
© Joe Maher

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