The West Clare Extension Railway

The West Clare Railway was opened in 1887; it ran from Ennis, an interchange with the broad gauge rail network, to Miltown Malbay. It was extended in 1890 by the South Clare Railway, which ran to dual termini in Kilrush and Kilkee, the two branches diverging at Moyasta Junction; the West and South Clare were always operated as one railway. It was a modestly profitable operation for much of its life, and carried a significant amount of traffic to the very end. Its health was such that it was completely modernized (read dieselized) in the 1950s. Nevertheless, it was closed in January 1961, nominally motivated by an operating deficit of some twenty thousand Irish pounds per annum. I can't help but wonder how much was spent in road improvements to handle the increased lorry (truck) traffic after closure. I can say that the roads still aren't wide enough to allow for a lorry to pass a man on a bicycle without great anxiety on the part of the cyclist! One steam locomotive, 0-6-2T #5, Slieve Callan, escaped the scrapper's torch.  The West Clare Railway group based in Moyasta are trying to raise the funds to restore her to operation.  She presently sits in the repair yards of Alan Keef, Ltd, awaiting repairs. 

The West Clare Extension is a two hundred fifty foot loop of 45 mm gauge track around the perimeter of my back yard. It's built to a scale of 15 mm = 1 foot, (1:20.3). Apart from making a fun place to run trains, my goal is to recreate some of the atmosphere and detail of the West Clare Railway and to represent various scenes along the West Clare between Lahinch and Kilrush. Motive power is almost exclusively small scale live steam locomotives. There is nothing quite like the thrill of live steam. Once I was exposed to it, I forever turned my back on "electric mice." The Extension has a small fleet of battery powered diesels and trams, though management often has to resort to coercion to rustle up a crew willing to work the "infernal combustion" locos. The pride of the line is Slieve Callan, a scale model of South Clare #5, built to order by Mike Chaney.  The rest of my Irish roster consists of an Archangel model of the Cavan & Leitrim 4-4-0T "Lady Edith," and a model of Londonderry & Lough Swilly 4-6-2T "Aberfoyle" built by John Campbell.  Additionally, several generic engines typical of small industrial locos can be seen working the railway.  Rolling stock is a mix of kit built, RTR pieces from a variety of sources, and a growing number of scratch built wagons.  Click on the thumbnail for a map of the railway...


NEWS FROM THE EXTENSION: May 2006

The railway is open for regular service once again, my Irish engines have had their various complaints mended, and I'm slowly mending the damage done by winter to the stations on the line.  A selection of photos from the winter and spring are in Gallery #6 below.

Enjoy your visit here, and drop me a line with your comments.


THE WEST CLARE GARDEN RLY GALLERIES



Early Days of The Extension Photo Gallery #2 Photo Gallery #3 Photo Gallery #4
 Photo Gallery #5
Photo Gallery #6
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