Model railway delights Dingle

MORE than a thousand people visited the Dingle train exhibition on display at the Dingle marina centre over the weekend. And demand for entry was so great that for a time on Sunday afternoon people were obliged to queue outside.For many visitors it was a trip down memory lane, or memory tracks, and rekindled incidents from an era which ended over 50 years ago.Thomas Hanafi

By Ted Creedon

MORE than a thousand people visited the Dingle train exhibition on display at the Dingle marina centre over the weekend.

And demand for entry was so great that for a time on Sunday afternoon people were obliged to queue outside.

For many visitors it was a trip down memory lane, or memory tracks, and rekindled incidents from an era which ended over 50 years ago.

Thomas Hanafin, from Lispole, recalled working on the railway line as a young man. He was one of a group of people, associated with the train, who were invited to lunch at the marina centre on Sunday as guests of the Dingle Historical Society who organised the weekend.

“I’m the last of the navvies! I worked on the line in the late forties and early fifties before it closed. It was summer work, mainly in July and August, and we’d clean the grass from the rails and put in sleepers,” he told The Kerryman. “The pay was fairly good – we had around £4 15s a week at the time,” he recalled.

The display of trains, Dingle station, Lispole viaduct and other features were painstakingly reconstructed by the members of the Chester Model Railway Club over a period of ten years, according to Simon Starr of the club.

“We’re absolutely delighted with the numbers of people who turned up here and the additional information we’ve gathered from so many of them,” he told The Kerryman.

The model of the old railway was handcrafted. “None of the models are built from kits – I thought I’d never finish putting the thousands of individual slates on the station house roof!” he said.

Una Finn from Tralee remembered travelling on the train as a child.

“My father was in the Civil Service in Dublin and the family used to come to Dingle with him in the summer when he was brushing up on his Irish. I can remember people on the train with boxes of live chickens for the market,” she recalled.

Along with personal recollections, the weekend’s events included a series of lectures and a photographic exhibition.



“People didn’t really know what to expect before they came to the exhibition, but they got a lot more than they expected,” Dingle Historical Society’s PRO, Tom Fox, told The Kerryman.





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