Welcome

Welcome to the Tralee and Blennerville Steam Railway group website, which hopes to revive interest and reopen the 3km section of railway from Ballyard, Tralee, Co. Kerry to Blennerville, Tralee, Co. Kerry. (photo on left (C) Ted Polet: other images available at http://www.narrowgauge.nl/site/english/start-e.htm)  

 The steam railway operated along a short stretch of the former Tralee and Dingle Light Railway (1891-1953) which formerly operated the 31 miles between Tralee and Dingle along with a 6 mile branch to Castlegregory, County Kerry.

 The Tralee and Dingle Railway was probably one of the most famous in these islands, as many photographers came to see the little locomotives struggle up the scenic but steep inclines westwards to Dingle.                                                  

 

The steam railway has the last remaining Tralee & Dingle Railway locomotive number 5T in store. This locomotive once worked heavy cattle trains up the steep inclines and gradients along 'the dingle' railway. (If you wish to find out more about the history of the Tralee and Dingle Light Railway 1891-1953 please visit the fan site : http://www.tdlr.info/home)

 

Two European metre gauge coaches were regauged and are currently in poor condition. There are fantastic views of the Slieve Mish mountain range (as seen above), along with superb views of the Lee Valley nature zone.

 

The steam railway is ideally located, being a ten minute walk from Tralee town centre, a half an hours drive from Killarney, and 40 minutes drive from Dingle.

 

The railway has had no services since 2006, as the only locomotive on site requires a new boiler, It is hoped that the Tralee and Blennerville Steam Railway Group can assist in reopening the railway in partnership with the local council in the not too far distant future.

 

Currently we are busy setting up our own internal systems and are preparing to make public an executive summary of our lengthy planning and consultations with the relevant stakeholders. In the meantime click on the link below to view our Facebook group page, and add feedback!

The line itself:

Aquadome:

The Aquadome is located on the outskirts of Tralee and is the station nearest Tralee.

 

The Aquadome itself is one of Irelands largest indoor Waterworld attraction and is very popular among school groups and families.

The station is still extant, however a road crossing is required to enter the station

This would require consultation with several bodies due to "enhanced" health and safety laws.

Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre

The Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre is located alongside the steam railway, beyond the River Lee viaduct. It is one of Tralee's most recent tourism attractions, having been completed in 2012. The centre covers 8000 acres,stretching from Tralee town, towards Fenit and cloghane, thus encompassing the steam railway. The centre includes a visitor centre with a café featuring interactive displays, a safari style boatride, guided tours, a 20 metre viewing tower, and an activity area is free access, containing walkways, cycleways and a how to fish pond. A platform has been constructed, and is ready for use. It can be seen in the centre of the photo above where the wooden fencing is.

The cost of building a station has therefore already been incurred. There are superb views from the bird-viewing tower, it is not too hard to imagine a train steaming along bringing families out to the windmill, its not impossible! An ornate period style shelter could be based here, overlooking the man made lake.

Blennerville Windmill:

The Blennerville Windmill, is located in the small village of Blennerville, the current terminus of the steam railway. The Blennerville windmill was restored and refurbished in the 1980s to cater as a tourist attraction in the area. At the Blennerville Visitor Centre you will find the working windmill as well as an exhibition gallery, craft shop and restaurant. The exhibition includes an audio visual presentation, and an emigration display. Visitors can get up close and appreciate the scale and complexity of the Windmill machinery and can climb to the top of the windmill.

Blennerville station is still extant, however previous visitors have always commented on the lack of facilities here. To resolve this a Spanish coach could be grounded here and could be used as a small café, perhaps "bufferstops café"!

It also may be possible to move the former  GSR signal cabin (now listed)  from Tralee to here, however this would require consultation with the various stakeholders.

Video of the former Blennerville railway

The video is taken from the BBC series "From Derry to Kerry", by Michael Palin in the 1990s.

A selection of photographs

Train heading east towards the aquadome (C) Ted Polet
5T running around its train at Blennerville circa 1990's (C) Richard Norton

(C) Fred Dean Junior for photo showing 5T crossing the viaduct at Cearney's Road

5T seen departing the shed at Blennerville (C) Ted Polet
(C) Tralee & Blennerville Steam Railway Group contributor Adrienne McGloughlin
5T seen running around its train at the aquadome

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