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Fascinating story of Harcourt Street line retold

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The aftermath of the 1900 Harcourt Street crash in which 30 wagonloads of cattle pushed the locomotive relentlessly downhill from Ranelagh.

The aftermath of the 1900 Harcourt Street crash in which 30 wagonloads of cattle pushed the locomotive relentlessly downhill from Ranelagh.

The aftermath of the 1900 Harcourt Street crash in which 30 wagonloads of cattle pushed the locomotive relentlessly downhill from Ranelagh.

THE fascinating story of the Harcourt street railway line is to be the subject of a new documentary to be screened on TG4 on Thursday night.

After the first railway in the country the Dublin to Kingstown line opened in 1834, businessmen in the city decided it would be a good idea to extend the line as far as Bray.

Two companies vied for the contract- 1 started building from Harcourt Street, the other from Bray. It was decided that the first to reach Dundrum would win the contract to run the Railway line.

William Dargan was the successful contractor, and Dargan was responsible for the building of many of the country's main lines in the 19th Century.

The story of the famous Harcourt Street crash of 1900 where the engine crashed into the Wall, 30 wagonloads of cattle pushing the train relentlessly downhill from Ranelagh is brilliantly told in the program.

Those who remember the Harcourt Street Line will have fond memories of the Dance trains to Bray, where excited young people could buy a ticket that gave them access to the Arcadia Ballroom as well as the return fare on the Harcourt Street line opened up a whole world of romance and mystery in the wooden carriages of the dimly lit trains...a world brought to life beautifully in the documentary.

Or the magic of the Sea Breeze Excursions. When prams, kids, and excited families queued up on summer afternoons at Harcourt Street Station for the escape to the seaside that the train promised.

Introduced by CIE in or around 1950 the sea breeze excursions became an institution fondly remembered by many Dubliners. The Harcourt Street line was responsible for putting Bray on the map and its development into a popular seaside resort. The program features archive footage of the seafront in Bray with sun seekers lazing or walking on the promenade.

The Harcourt Street line was the first to be closed in January 1959 under Todd Andrews new policy of closing lines that were deemed 'unprofitable'. The people most affected by the closure were probably school children whose journey from Bray was now by bus, and a much longer one. Ironically the LUAS line today runs on a large section of the old Harcourt Street Line.

The story is told by the use of rare footage of the railway as well as reconstructions and interviews with those who used and drove the trains. Bóithre Iarainn will air on TG4 on Thursday March 1 at 8 p.m.


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