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The 1950s and ‘60s saw the demise of steam in Ireland and, along with it, the loss of an irreplaceable railway culture. This colour archive programme recalls the railways of Ireland as they were from the early 1950s until the final gasps of steam in 1971 - a period which saw vast changes to the system, the rise of the diesel at the expense of steam and the elimination of most of Ireland’s fascinating narrow-gauge lines.

We look back at many of those railways, visiting the Cavan & Leitrim line with its weird and wonderful collection of locomotives and its headquarters at Ballinamore and then on to further narrow-gauge locations, including Strabane, Dromod, Donegal (Town), Lough Eske, Letterkenny and Arigna, witnessing steam in action and also the quaint railbuses of the time and the well-known road-side lines.  We also look at the Southern Irish standard gauge lines with their early diesels and late steam locomotives at places such as the Guinness Brewery in Dublin, Bray, Clonmel, Cork, Albert Quay, Bandon and Timoleague, whilst the famous horse-worked tramway at Fintona is not to be missed !


Moving into Northern Ireland we see trains around Belfast, Larne Harbour, Cavan, Clones, Carrickfergus and Ballyhaise and elsewhere, with J15s, S class 4-4-0s and many early diesel railcar designs and our story ends with the final fling of the big LMS "Geep" 2-6-4 tanks on the Larne to Belfast stone trains, marking the conclusion of two decades tha