75th anniversary of Tyrone’s lost rails

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The spirit of the trains which once puffed their way along the Clogher Valley has been commemorated by a weekend of events marking the 75th anniverstary of the closure of the local railway line.

Founder-member of the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland Charles Friel recounted in a special talk at the Ardhowen Theater the history of the iconic Clogher Valley railway line and how it changed the lives of the communities it served.

Surviving railway men associated with the defunct line and that of GNR lines to Bundoran from Omagh, Clones and Enniskillen and the Sligo, Leitrim and Northern Counties line between Enniskillen and Sligo, gathered to commemorate the end of the line for local railways.

The thirty seven mile railway journey through the Clogher Valley took three hours, as the train travelled at a maximum of twelve miles per hour. Its timetable was said to be based ‘more on folklore than fact’.

The railway was mainly situated in rural parts of County Tyrone, which hindered the company’s potential profitability.

Mr Friel said: “The few surviving railway men and their families are coming back to Enniskillen, or getting in touch, from places as far away as Canada and Australia. They can close all the railways they like but they can’t take away our memories!” Full details of all the commemorative events are at www.facebook.com/HeadhuntersMuseum