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The Listowel and Ballybunion Railway

Discussion in 'Railway History & Nostalgia' started by rogerfarnworth, 31 Dec 2018.

  1. rogerfarnworth

    rogerfarnworth Member

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  3. Calthrop

    Calthrop Established Member

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    Oh, Lord, Roger, now you've done it: I have a fondness for the L & B Monorail which gets well into "obsession" territory -- could easily become a career bore about this line, which I would so love to have seen at first-hand...

    Mercifully for all concerned :s; your very interesting linked material tells the greatly-most part, with admirable thoroughness. A few extra things: the line's October 1924, sadly early, closure date -- with line's "inbuilt" characteristics tending toward hampering its viability, plus its having been quite badly damaged in Ireland's 1922 - 23 civil war: at the Irish Free State's equivalent of our "Grouping" -- all railway undertakings purely within the Free State, merged as the Great Southern Railways w.e.f the beginning of 1925 -- it is understood that the Great Southern totally refused to take on the L & B, seen as utterly weird and commercially a total loser; and in no position to carry on as an independent concern. While feeling the GSR to have behaved here, in a rather Scrooge-like way; one kind of sees their point.

    There's a film -- taken of the railway near the end of its operational life -- which I've seen two or three times: something between five and ten minutes long IIRC -- have heard it claimed as the only surviving film of the railway, though am not sure of the truth of that claim: various film material is mentioned as viewable at the museum set-up at Listowel... one of the film clips linked to in the OP, comprises a few very brief excerpts of this much-longer film. The still picture linked to, showing "travelling staircase" marshalled into train for passengers to cross the tracks -- with them doing so at a station -- comes, I'm sure, from this film.

    "Personal" thing here, re film referred to above: said film was part of the repertoire of the late John Huntley, showman of film items on railway and other subjects. I've posted about Huntley elsewhere on these Forums -- my feelings about him are mixed. He showed a lot of terrific stuff; somewhat marred for me by -- particularly in the later years of his career -- my finding his commentaries on same, intensely annoying. He displayed the trait attributed to politicians, of "speaking a great deal and saying very little": in my perception, when he wasn't giving inaccurate information, he was wordily stating the screamingly obvious. The very end of the film (abbreviatedly captured in the clip linked-to here as described) shows one of the line's "drawbridge" road crossings in "down" position, being crossed by two guys in a horse-drawn gig, followed by a dog (you can see the dog for just an instant in the clip). Huntley always said at this point -- with his exaggeratedly "upper-crust" diction and accent -- "and going across, here are two Irishmen -- and Rover". This platitude -- especially the final word as rendered by him, "Reauw--VAH !" -- always made me want to throw something at the twit. One shouldn't speak ill of the dead, etc.; but, oh my word...

    France's steam Lartigue monorail on the same principle, from Feurs to Panissieres (told of in linked item, including photograph of the outfit), was a sad "might-have-been-but-never-truly-was". According to W.J.K. Davies's Minor Railways of France, this line had a sort of ghostly existence for half a dozen years around turn of 19th / 20th centuries -- was built in its entirety, but was not found to function all that well: matters not helped by a test train on which a party of local notables were travelling as per invitation, getting derailed. Things got further fouled-up owing to various bureaucratic "bother" -- the line's promoters finally gave up, and the whole thing was scrapped without ever having run in public service.
     
  4. rogerfarnworth

    rogerfarnworth Member

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    Thank you Calthrop. I am glad to have provoked a response!

    Happy New Year!
     
  5. Calthrop

    Calthrop Established Member

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    My thanks !

    Athbhliain faoi shean is faoi mhaise duit...
     
  6. Merthyr Imp

    Merthyr Imp Member

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    There's footage (can't remember how long it lasts) on the 'Trains From the Arc' DVD from Video125:

    https://www.video125.com/products/trains-from-the-arc
     
  7. theageofthetra

    theageofthetra Established Member

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    Thanks for sharing that link. I never knew that a demonstration line was built in Westminster- was that the only monorail to operate in London or were there lines at say the Empire exhibition or the Festival of Britain sites?

    The other interesting feature was the booster tender. These were quite common in the US but very rare here.
     
  8. Calthrop

    Calthrop Established Member

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    My bolding -- I understand that an idea was entertained shortly after the L & B's closure, of taking a short section of it plus a loco and a couple of vehicles, to be a working exhibit in the Irish Free State's display at the British Empire Exhibition which ran at Wembley from April 1924 to October 1925. Nothing in fact came of this notion. I'm inclined to suspect that the Free State's then higher-ups may have discouraged it, as likely not to give a positive image of their new country: many Britons already regarded the Irish as a bunch of goons -- "nobody else could have had a thing like that, as a regular means of transport for decades"...
     
  9. Altfish

    Altfish Member

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    YouTube has some footage

     
  10. pdeaves

    pdeaves Established Member

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    Watch at 2x speed, then imagine Buster Keaton!
     
  11. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    The link says an advantage of this system is easier installation with less preparation of the formation. But the pictures show the trestles resting on conventional sleepers so I'm not really clear how it is any better!
     
  12. theageofthetra

    theageofthetra Established Member

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    The ground doesn't need to be level as the height of the trestles can be changed to keep the railhead relatively level. Same as with most mono rails.
     
  13. rogerfarnworth

    rogerfarnworth Member

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    As a follow up ……………..

    I have been sent a number of links to videos including one to a model built in O Gauge. The first link should take you to the model, the remaining links are primarily to videos taken at the site in Ireland. I have also been sent a link to another page about the railway, the link to that page can be found beneath the videos.











    An HO model of the line, together with more information and pictures:

    https://irishwaterwayshistory.com/rail/the-lartigue-monorail-in-listowel/
     
    Last edited: 3 Jan 2019
  14. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    Although the picture nearest to that statement shows the tracks in a shallow cutting - also necessary for one of the drawbridge crossings if it's not possible to gain enough height to pass over a road. As with most monorail designs, a high section would cause problems with evacuation if a train was stuck there.
     
  15. neilmc

    neilmc Member

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    I read about this one, apparently it carried livestock so if you wanted to send a cow from one end of the line to the other, you had to put the cow in a pannier on one side of the rail then two calves in a balancing pannier on the other side. Then you sent the two calves back to where they came from, one on each side. No wonder it never made any money.
     
  16. Calthrop

    Calthrop Established Member

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    I gather that on one occasion in Parliament, something over a hundred years ago: an Irish Nationalist M.P. did a "filibustering" number -- spouting lengthily about "anything or nothing", so as to thwart Parliamentary political opposition to one's cause. It seems that in the course of so doing, he gave a lengthy narrative of the "cow and calves caper" on the L. & B. -- am not sure for what length of time he was permitted to get away with it.
     
  17. Highlandspring

    Highlandspring Established Member

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  18. Calthrop

    Calthrop Established Member

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    I read about it somewhere long ago -- remember no details -- maybe it's in the category of things-which-never-happened-but-should-have :s...
     
  19. DerekC

    DerekC Member

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    Of course if you wanted to send two cows it would be just fine. Presumably this was reflected in the rates for livestock carriage!
     
  20. 341o2

    341o2 Member

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    The principle of the Lartugue monorail was used in WW1 in what became known as trench tramways. The Lartigue system was based on an A frame with the main running rail at the apex and two guide rails further down. When WW1 broke, the response was that this was going to be a tactical war, and we didn't need railways. As the trench lines became established, our troops made use of whatever equipment they could lay their hands on, and crude monorails were constructed at several locations. I recommend Davies book on the subject p53, which shows an example of a series of posts driven into the ground, and a single rail spiked on the top. A two wheeled trolley with panniers to either side was used. Lartigue without the guide rails
     
  21. rogerfarnworth

    rogerfarnworth Member

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    Appreciate all the comments.
     
  22. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    One would have thought that straightforward ballast weights would be adequate.
     
  23. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    If you could persuade a calf to climb over those stair things to cross the line, you avoided having to lift the weights?

    Anyway the calves make a better story.
     
  24. Calthrop

    Calthrop Established Member

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    Can't resist -- there was (of course) a local song celebrating the railway -- one verse thereof:

    The old train's held together with rope,
    And the tackling, they say, won't endure, sir --
    Sure, they balance the people with soap,
    And sometimes with bags of manure, sir.

    (Who knows what soap has to do with it ? -- likely, the bod was just stuck for a rhyme...)
     
  25. rogerfarnworth

    rogerfarnworth Member

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    Love it!
     
  26. 341o2

    341o2 Member

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    I believe the cow story to have a degree of poetic licence, but has its origins in that on a Lartigue monorail, everything had to be balanced. Both carriages and wagons were double in pannier fashion as well as the locos. so, if there were 10 adult passengers, roughly the same weight each, five sat on the left and five on the right.

    The cow story apparently grew out of an incident, where to transport the single cow, a counterweight had to be provided. On delivery, the station which sent the cow wanted their counterweight back, so it was returned with another item to counterweight it.....and so on. Image from Google footbridge-coach.jpg
     

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