|About the Book|
Railways are complex organic creatures, amounting to much more than the sum of their individual components, and they depended on the diverse skills of all the people who worked on them. ... When a line was closed this close-knit team was alsoMoreRailways are complex organic creatures, amounting to much more than the sum of their individual components, and they depended on the diverse skills of all the people who worked on them. ... When a line was closed this close-knit team was also disbanded and their skills were lost forever. Every line had its own personality and its own stories. ... This virtual railtour will take us from the shores of Red Bay in County Antrim to the end of the pier at Baltimore in County Cork and to many places in between. The starting signal has dropped, the engine has whistled, were away. From the IntroductionThe first Irish railway was established as early as 1834 and by 1914 the network covered virtually the entire island. However, the development of the internal combustion engine, combined with the inherent unprofitability of many of the smaller and more remote lines, resulted in a drastic cull of the system in the course of the twentieth century.It is these lost railways of Ireland that are the subject of Tom Ferriss new book. Some broad gauge lines were simply uneconomic- and of the various narrow gauge lines, many of which had been sponsored by the British government in the late nineteenth century to stimulate economic development in remote places, the great majority was unprofitable. Large parts of the network which had scarcely been viable before the advent of the internal combustion engine would fall victim to those wielding axes on both sides of the border in the twentieth century. The most scandalous result of purging of the system would leave the entire north-west quarter of the island without a single kilometre of useable track in the early twenty-first century, and many other parts with only a sparse service.The Trains Long Departed tells the story of these lost railways, the repository of optimism, disappointment and nostalgia.