The Irish railway system has been an endless source of folklore, romance and social history. Dating first from the 1830s, it was one of the earliest established systems in the world. The main line system, radiating from Dublin and built to standard Irish gauge of 5ft 3” was firmly established by the 1850s. The various narrow gauge lines followed in successive decades, largely built with British Government grants as part of the policy of killing Home Rule with kindness. The system reached its apogee just before the Great War of 1914. After that, two things combined to diminish it. First the invention of the internal combustion engine made road travel much more feasible. Second, the inherent unprofitability of many lines, especially on the narrow gauge system, forced their closure.
This superb illustrated social history, generously illustrated with images never seen in print before, will excite all Irish railway enthusiasts. The story of the Irish railways has been told on previous occasions, not least by Tom Ferris himself. But it has never been told principally through images; not just photographs of stations and trains, but also advertising posters, old paintings, postcards and other private and public memorabilia. The result is a visual feast for the railway enthusiast supported by Tom Ferris’s always reliable and authoritative commentary.
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