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Donegal Railcars - What Future?

posted 4 Jul 2017, 05:04 by IOM SRSA   [ updated 5 Jul 2017, 08:44 ]

In our recent meeting with Mr Ian Longworth, Director of Public Transport, the subject of restoring the Donegal Railcars was discussed at some length, as we know their revival would be popular with many of our members and the wider Irish Narrow Gauge enthusiast community.

Isle of Man Railways too would welcome their restoration, but it was made clear that the Government will not be in a position to provide financial help, project management support or engineering skills to assist such a project in the foreseeable future.

Mr Longworth feels that even if the railcars were to be restored entirely by private / charitable funds, the railway would be unlikely to use them for timetabled services during the main season or in the shoulder period, as they are too small in terms of carrying capacity now that traffic levels have grown and they present unacceptable operational challenges without major design change on drivetrains and controls. Their use would in all probability be limited to special charters only.

In our view, a ‘Donegal Railcars Project’ will only have a chance of success if the asset were to be put by Government at ‘arms length’ (e.g. into a dedicated charitable trust) and their planned future operation made certain for wider public benefit. That would allow potential access to much wider charitable funding sources both here on the Isle of Man and further afield. We will be continuing to look for realistic ways to revive and progress the restoration of the Donegal Railcars in conjunction with other heritage organisations.

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