Irish Railway Bibliography Note


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Irish Railway Bibliography

Note: The list is intended as a reference source and books listed are not necessarily available in shops, although there may be copies in some libraries. Please do not contact the RPSI for details of the availability of any of these books.

The majority of books are purely Irish in content, but those which are not will have some Irish references or be relevant to Irish railway practice.

The reviews and comments were written mainly at the time the books were published so should be read in that context. Where references are included in the Review boxes, these will generally be RPSI, where the review was taken from the relevant issue of “Five Foot Three”, or IRRS, where the review was taken from the specified issue of the Journal of the Irish Railway Record Society. We are indebted to the latter for giving us permission to quote from their Journal.

Readers aware of books not listed are invited to submit the relevant details, in a similar format, to for inclusion here. It is intended that the list will be expanded to include all books published on the subject of railways in Ireland.

1-9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Author / Publisher / Date / Pages / ISBN


Reviews / Comments

1 - 9

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101 Class Locomotives Of The GS&WR

  • P.J. Flanagan (Ed)

  • I.R.R.S.

  • 1996

  • 44 Pages

  • A Centenary Tribute

  • Alexander McDonnell - A Profile

  • The 101 Class - Their Evolution and History

  • An Engineman’s Tribute

  • The Standard Goods Engines of the GSWR and MGWR - A Comparative Evaluation

  • A Valuable Asset - A Professional Appraisal of the 101 Class

  • The Descendants - 700 and 710

  • The Statistical Details

A small booklet, with contributions from a number of noted Irish authorities. Illustrated with black and white photographs, with plan, side and front view locomotive diagrams.

1871 Ballymacarrett Rail Accident

  • Keith Haines

  • Ballymaconaghy Publishing

  • 2002

  • 189 Pages

  • Introduction

  • The Accident

  • The Victims

  • Fraud On The Railways

  • A Threadbare Economy

  • Death On The Line

  • Drinking And Driving

  • The Chairman

  • The Trial

  • Terminus

Although it did involve two deaths, who would have thought that a complete book could have been written about such a relatively minor accident?

The flow of the narrative is a bit disjointed. However, the author’s in-depth research has uncovered a wealth of detail about those involved in the accident and the subsequent trials. What he has brought to light is a picture of incompetence, corruption and downright illegalities. A worthwhile read for more than its railway content.

35 Years 0f NIR, 1967 To 2002

  • Jonathan M. Allen

  • Colourpoint

  • 2003

  • 160 Pages

  • 1-904242-00-6

  • The Political Background

  • Introduction

  • The Story Of NIR In Pictures

  • Rolling Stock

  • Bibliography


Back To Index

A History Of Railways In Ireland

  • J.C. Conroy

  • Longmans

  • 1928

  • 386 Pages

  • Railway Development In Ireland

  • Famine And State Aid

  • Irish Railway Clearing House

  • Railway & Canal Acts

  • Light Railways

  • Railways After Partition

This was the author’s presentation for an MA degree in University College Dublin.

A Life With Locomotives

  • D.W. Harvey

  • Marwood Publishing

  • 1992

  • 123 Pages

  • 1-873676-01-8

Chapter 2, “War and Peace”, contains several pages describing the author’s footplate travels on CIÉ in 1946.

This all too brief section of an excellent book is a fascinating insight into the later years of CIÉ steam. The late Bill Harvey was one of the foremost railway engineers of his generation, and will be best known to many preservation societies through his “Manual of Steam Locomotive Maintenance and Preservation”.

During his Irish visit he had several footplate runs, and Chapter 2 of his book records both the best and worst of the Irish post-war scene. I had some private correspondence with Mr Harvey before his death, in which he revealed that during one of the trips mentioned in the book he had himself been invited to take the regulator of 802 for part of a run between Cork and Mallow - which possibly made him one of the last surviving men to have handled an 800 on an express passenger working!


A Nostalgic Look At Belfast Trams Since 1945

  • Mike Maybin

  • Silver Link Publishing

  • 1994

  • 100 Pages

  • 1-85794-030-X

  • Introduction

  • A Brief History of Belfast Tramways

  • Fleet Summary

  • The City centre

  • East Belfast

  • Belfast Trams In Colour

  • South Belfast

  • West Belfast

  • North Belfast

  • In And Around The Depots

  • Preserved Cars And Tickets

A Nostalgic Look At Belfast Trolleybuses 1938 - 1968

  • Mike Maybin

  • Silver Link Publishing

  • 1996

  • 132 Pages

  • 1-85794-068-7

  • Introduction

  • A Brief History of Belfast Trolleybuses

  • Fleet Summary

  • The City centre

  • East Belfast

  • South Belfast

  • West Belfast

  • North Belfast

  • In And Around The Depots

  • This And That: Unusual Views, Tower Wagons, Tickets, Preservation

The captions in this mostly pictorial book are very extensive. Not only is the particular bus in the picture described in loving detail, but the buildings in the streetscape, and even the very makes of private cars, are stated. Although there are only two pages of colour photographs, the uniformity of the red trolleybuses renders any further colour pictures superfluous. The monochrome pictures are almost without exception of very high quality. The book can be recommended as one of the best Irish transport books ever published.

RPSI No.44

ABC Of Irish Locomotives

  • R.N. Clements, J.M. Robbins

  • Ian Allan

  • 1949, 2000

  • 56 Pages

  • 0-7110-2767-6

  • Preface

  • Córas Iompair Éireann

  • Great Northern Railway

  • Northern Counties Committee

  • County Donegal Railways Joint Committee

  • Sligo, Leitrim & Northern Counties Railway

  • Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway

  • Dundalk, Newry & Greenore Railway

  • Belfast & County Down Railway

  • Industrial Locomotives

This pocket sized book lists all the locomotives of the various Irish railway companies extant at the time of publication. Each railway is treated separately. CIÉ, GNR and NCC very thoroughly considering the size of the book, BCDR, SLNCR, LLSR and CDR rather less so. All railcars and railbuses are also noted. Locomotives are listed by number and class. Wheel arrangements, cylinder size, driving wheel diameter, boiler pressure, weight and tractive effort are shown for all entries. Additionally in the case of CIÉ and GNR designers’ names and, for CIÉ only, type of boiler. There are brief summaries of the locomotive histories of CIÉ and GNR, also lists of Locomotive Superintendents / Mechanical Engineers for these two companies. Finally, the industrial locomotives of “Uncle Arthur”, LP&HC, Comhlucht Siucre Éireann and the British Aluminium Co. (Larne narrow gauge), get brief mentions.

ABC Of Narrow Gauge Railways

  • Ian Allan

  • 1961

  • 80 Pages

Covers Great Britain and Ireland. There are 20 pages of brief details of Irish lines and locomotives. Very small format.

Across Deep Waters, Bridges Of Ireland

  • Michael Barry

  • Frankfort Press

  • 1985

  • 160 Pages

  • 0-9510696-0-8
  • Introduction

  • Map

  • Railways

  • In Suspension

  • Canals

  • Details

  • Road, River and Sea

The author is (at time of publication) employed by CIÉ and a chartered Civil Engineer.

Each A4 sized page is dedicated to one or two bridges with a B&W photograph, of each bridge, covering just over half the page and a short 6 to 10 line description with dimensions, dates of completion, opening, closure, etc. and the O/B or U/B number!

Obviously, the chapter that interests us is Chapter 1, Railways, and just about every bridge of any interest is covered.

AEC Railcars Of The GNR(I)

  • GNR(I)

  • 1949

  • 32 Pages

Along UTA Lines

  • Ian McLarnon Sinclair

  • Colourpoint

  • 2002

  • 192 Pages

  • 1-898392-77-3

  • Introduction

  • Map: UTA Railways In The Early 1960s

  • The Great Northern Main Line

  • Newry And Warrenpoint

  • The ‘Derry Road’

  • The Antrim Branch

  • The NCC Main Line: Belfast To Portrush

  • The Larne Line

  • The Bangor Line

  • Bibliography

  • Index To Stations And Junctions

Mr Sinclair has produced something different in the way of Irish Railway books, i.e. a description, with track layout, of every UTA station still in use in the early 1960s. The period in focus is that after the wholesale destruction of the lines to the south-west of the province and the central Derry area, but before the further clearance of the most of the remainder of the Great Northern in 1965.

It is a very interesting period, and one that sees virtually all of the stations unchanged for generations, a condition that they were not to remain in for very much longer, with the terrorist activity and company ‘modernisation’ of the 1970s.

The author recently chanced upon a photographic archive of industrial architecture in Northern Ireland, produced by Dr Alan McCutcheon on behalf of the Stormont Government of the early 1960s, and good use has been made in the book of these mostly unpublished views.

Each station is treated in sequence, and the track diagrams are produced with a clarity familiar to those who have read this publisher’s book on the Fermanagh railways.

Armoured Train - Its Development And Usage

  • G. Balfour

  • Batsford

  • 1981

  • 168 Pages

  • 0-7134-2547-4

  • Nineteenth-Century Proposals

  • The Brighton Armoured Train

  • The Boer War

  • The Great War

  • Between the Wars

  • Armoured Trains A-M: origin

  • Armoured Trains A-M: allocations and duties-first phase

  • Armoured Trains A-M: England, 1940

  • The Miniature Armoured Train

  • Other Proposals, 1940

  • Armour for Grimsby and Ulster

  • Armoured Trains A-M: 1941

  • Miscellaneous Proposals, 1941

  • Armoured Trains A-M: 1942-3

  • Anti-Aircraft Protection of Trains

  • The Last Phase

  • Appendix

This book covers the history of the armoured train and it’s use up to the 1940s, with particular reference to the British Isles.

Attention is given to the use of the armoured train in Ireland between 1916 and 1923, and during World War 2, includes eight photographs.

Athlone Railway 1851-2001

  • Athlone Railway Anniversary Committee

  • 2001

  • 64 Pages

A celebration of the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Shannon bridge at Athlone.

The booklet contains an account of the extension of the MGWR to Athlone and the construction of the Shannon Bridge, noting that brewers and distillers were well represented in the original sponsors of the line. Among reminiscences by various railway people is an article by ex-CIÉ Inspector Eamonn Lacken, a good friend of the RPSI.

RPSI No.48

Atlas & Gazetteer Of The Railways Of Ireland

  • S. Johnston

  • Midland Publishing

  • 1997

  • 159 Pages

  • 1-85780-044-3

  • Atlas

  • Gazetteer

  • Route Tables

Full colour maps of the main line system and the various contractors and industrial lines of the past.

A monumental survey of just about every location in Ireland that ever had tracks, of whatever gauge - down to the ESB Pole Yard at Limerick Junction! An indispensable part of any Irish railway library.


Atlas Showing Navigable Rivers, Mineral Tramroads, Railways And Street Tramways - Volume 9 Ireland

  • G.L. Crowther

  • Author

Atmospheric Railways: A Victorian Venture In Silent Speed

  • Charles Hadfield

  • David & Charles

The history of the atmospheric railway, including coverage of the Dalkey line.


Back To Index

Ballycastle Railway

  • E.M. Patterson

  • Colourpoint

  • 2006

  • 160 Pages

  • The Setting of the Railway

  • The Making of the Railway

  • The Railway at Work

  • Economics

  • Life Under the LMS and the UTA

  • Working the System

  • Motive Power and Rolling Stock

  • Conclusion

  • Appendices

  • Acknowledgements

  • Bibliography

  • Index

This railway always struggled for survival and probably would have closed earlier than 1950 but for it’s take-over by the LMS (Northern Counties Committee) in 1924. The book is a history covering the construction, operation, economics and demise of this narrow gauge line, and includes a chapter on the motive power and rolling stock used. There are also sketches of station track layouts, gradient profile and several photographs.


An update to the original 1965 David & Charles volume gives a description of what remains of the railway in 2006; you’ll be surprised what can still be seen, fifty-six years after closure.

Ballymena Lines

  • E.M. Patterson

  • David & Charles

  • 1968

  • 200 Pages

  • 7153-4183-9

  • List of Illustrations

  • Ballymena and the Blue Hills

  • The Glenariff Railway

  • The Ballymena, Cushendall & Red Bay Railway

  • The Ballymena & Larne Railway Grows

  • The B & L Faces the Facts

  • Life Under the Northern Counties

  • The Midland Years

  • The Locomotives

  • Carriages & Wagons

  • Train Services and Operating Methods

  • Conclusion

  • Appendices

  • Acknowledgements

  • Bibliography

  • Index

This book covers the narrow gauge lines connecting Ballymena with Parkmore and Retreat, and with Larne Harbour, and also includes a chapter on the Glenariff railway and an appendix on the Trostan mineral railway. The construction of the different lines is covered first, with chapters on operating, financial affairs, decline and closure, locomotives and rolling stock. There are sketches of station layouts, gradient profiles and several photographs.

Baronial Lines Of The Midland Great Western Railway

  • P. O’Cuimin

  • Transport Research Associates

  • 1972

  • 88 Pages

  • 901552-00-3

  • Preface

  • Matters in Common

  • Promotion

  • The Loughrea & Attymon Light Railway (1890-1924)
  • The Ballinrobe & Claremorris Light Railway (1892-1924)

  • The Amalgamated Lines (1925-1971)

  • The Lines Described

  • Services And Stock

  • Personalities and Personnel

  • Appendices

The title of this book may read strange to some, but the author takes care at the outset to explain the terms “Barony” and “Grand Jury” which have much to do with his interesting story.

IRRS No.59

Belfast & County Down Railway

  • E.M. Patterson

  • Oakwood Press

  • 1958

  • 51 Pages

  • Preliminaries

  • Construction Of Lines

  • Gradient Chart

  • Road Competition

  • Locomotives

  • Services

  • Appendices

  • Accidents

One of the Oakwood “handbooks”. Good, albeit rather short, and not treated in the depth of later histories. However, still plenty of detail, a few photographs and statistics.

Belfast & County Down Railway

  • Edward M. Patterson

  • David & Charles

  • 1982

  • 48 Pages

  • 0-7153-8306-X

  • History

  • Motive Power And Operation

  • Road Services

  • Carriages And Wagons

  • Two Major Accidents

  • Under The Ulster Transport Authority
  • Ulster Transport Authority To Northern Ireland Railways

This latest book lives up to the standard of the author’s previous offerings. It deals briefly with the history of the “County Down”, before it turns to the construction of the line, the locomotives and rolling stock, and the very interesting ancillary road and steamer services, all of which subjects are competently handled.

IRRS No.89

Belfast & County Down Railway - An Irish Railway Pictorial

  • Desmond Coakham

  • Midland Publishing

  • 1998

  • 96 Pages

  • 1-85780-076-1

  • Introduction and Historical Sketch

  • Queen’s Quay and the Harbour Lines

  • The Line To Donaghadee

  • Through the Heart of County Down

  • The Bangor Branch

  • Locomotives and Rolling Stock

An album of black and white photographs and captions in the standard Midland pictorial style.

Des Coakham’s book manages to capture the atmosphere of the County Down in this A4 sized volume in which illustrations of this much loved line, from a wide variety of sources, most of them from its independent existence, are brought together. Virtually every halt is illustrated as we journey along the line, accompanied by informative captions, and this is followed by sections on the locomotives and rolling stock on which the author has been for so long the acknowledged expert. The book is a labour of love with few notable errors.

IRRS No.139

Belfast Corporation Tramways: 1905-1954

  • J.M. Maybin

  • Light Rail Transit Association

  • 84 Pages

  • Map

  • Inauguration Of Electric Services

  • Expansion & Consolidation

  • The Last Extensions & The Bus War

  • Decline & Fall

  • Diagram Of Track Layout 1908 -1937

  • Rolling Stock Fares & Services

A history of the Belfast tram system, including the routes and details. There is a good variety of photos throughout the book.

Bellevue - Belfast’s Mountain Playground

  • Stewart McFetridge

  • Author

  • 1995

  • 156 Pages

  • 0-9526928-0-6

  • The Old And The New

  • Bona Fide Travellers

  • Mr Nance’s Dream

  • Hazelwood

  • Belfast, A Zoo Of Its Own

  • Rumblings In The Council Chamber

  • Enter Harry Kamiya And Harvey Wilton

  • A Dream Is Fulfilled

  • The Belfast Express

  • When Daisy The Elephant Packed Her Trunk

  • Recollections From A Bygone Era

  • The Cosy Cafe

  • Donkey Power

  • Reopening OF Hazelwood Cafe 4/5/36

  • Invitation To The Dance

  • The Floral Hall

  • The Blitz And Its Aftermath

  • A Tangled Skein

  • Jean Runs Out Of Steam

  • The Plateau Embarks On A New Lease Of Life

  • New Features Are Planned

  • Debts Mount

  • A Very Popular Venue

  • Belfast Toastracks

  • Sights And Sounds Conjured From The Past

  • Random Snippets

  • Extract From Private Papers

  • Resumé

  • Belfast Trams

  • Pictorial Memories

Sub-titled “Things You Didn’t Know Or Had Forgotten”, this paperback tells in detail the history of Bellevue on the slopes of the Cave Hill alongside the Antrim Road in North Belfast. The area had three aspects - as a public park (with an extensive range of fairground amusements), as a zoo, and as the site of Belfast’s only miniature steam railway.

From the railway historical point of view, Bellevue had two aspects. The area was originally the property of the Cavehill and Whitewell Tramway which connected at Chichester Park with the Belfast City Tramways and ran to Glengormley.

The 15” gauge Bellevue Miniature Railway ran on level track along the plateau at the top of the steep approach from the Antrim Road and at the foot of the basalt escarpment. Its length was about a quarter of a mile and it had a station at each end - Bell Hazel and Bellevue Park. The railway was a popular attraction up to 1950 when the rolling stock was acquired by the Belfast scrap merchants, Eastwoods, and for many years the 0-4-0 locomotive “Jean” lay at the bottom of a mountain of scrap metal at their Andersonstown yard. In 1971 it was salvaged and returned to the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway where it had originally been employed from 1927 until it came to Belfast in 1934.

RPSI No.43

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