Our wide selection of books on the subject of Irish railways.

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Riley In Ireland - A Photograpic Odyssey

Compiled by Michael McMahon £12.50

Richard Riley’s visit to Ireland in May 1950 was fortunately timed. He witnessed railway systems in Northern Ireland and in the Irish Republic that were in many respects ‘working museums’ but by then were on the cusp of profound change. Locomotives and rolling stock that had changed little in many years would soon suffer the ravages of modernisation and route rationalisation. Richard photographed steam in action on CIÉ, GNR(I), UTA, SL&NCR, CDRJC and L&LSR. The front cover picture of a T2 class 4-4-2T crossing the square crossing in Dundalk should be enough to persuade you to buy this book. Please note that print run was limited to 500 copies.

Hardback, 19 x 25 cm, 82 b&w photos, 80 pages.

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County Donegal by Rail in Colour

John Langford and Neil Tee £18.00

A hardback book of colour photos taken of the railway by John Langford, who visited the line during the summer of 1959, having heard it was to close and wishing to record its activities. A number of these pictures have been published before in various places, but this special collection has never before been published together. There are 75 colour photos each of which has been carefully and informatively captioned using John’s notes taken at the time. This all-colour photographic collection gives a unique flavour of the line in its last year of operation showing both steam and diesel trains, passenger and goods, and stations and countryside.

Hardback, 22 x 28 cm, 75 colour photos, 1 map, 80 pages

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Irish Traction Iarnród Éireann

Colm O’Callaghan £14.99


Over the years, the Republic of Ireland’s railways have fascinated rail enthusiasts. This was mainly due to underinvestment in the system from Iarnród Éireann and the Irish government, which left many lines and locations still very much in the past as far as infrastructure was concerned, giving them a certain appeal to British rail fans. This eventually changed from around 2005, when long overdue investment began to materialise. This book documents the last years leading up to this change.
It shows the rolling stock and infrastructure that was on offer throughout the Iarnród Éireann system, featuring Class 071, 121, 141, 181 and 201 American-built locomotives, various BREL-built coaches and Spanish and Japanese-built diesel rail cars. Also featured are the many freight services that operated in the country, including beet, Guinness, cement, timber, lead and zinc ore and liner trains

Some of the locations illustrated can no longer be covered, including Adelaide freight depot, the Kingscourt branch, Mosney station, Sligo Quay, Tuam, the Foynes branch, and the South Wexford line

Paperback, 23 x 17 cm, 183 colour photos, 96 pages

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Be Careful, Don’t Rush

Celebrating 150 Years of Train Travel between Holywood and Bangor, Robin Masefield £8.00

This book’s title, Be Careful, Don’t Rush, is a play on the letters BCDR as in Belfast & County Down Railway. The book celebrates 150 years of train travel between Holywood and Bangor. The stories of the line’s construction, its impact on the two towns, its locomotives and operation, and the lives of its builders, passengers, and staff are fascinating. In later years, this was the first route in these islands to be operated entirely by diesel railcars.  Despite attempts to close it, the Bangor line remains open, beautiful and successful.  The book vividly records the reminiscences of many local residents. It will appeal locally and widely, to those with an interest in social history, railway connoisseurs and those who live along the line.

Paperback, 21 x 30 cm, 35 colour, 125 b&w photos, 160 pages.

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Locomotives of the LMS NCC

William Scott £12.00

The London, Midland and Scottish Railway, Northern Counties Committee came into existence in 1923 and its system extended form Belfast to Larne, Ballycastle, Portrush and Londonderry.  It included two narrow (3 foot) gauge systems in its empire.  This is the story of the company's locomotives and of those of the earlier companies which became the LMSNCC.  The author is a well known photographer and train timer and the performance of many locomotives is covered in the book.

Hardback with dustcovers, 29cm high by 21cm wide, 2 colour and 272 b&w photos, 47 drawings, gradient profiles, 192 pages.

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Steam in Ulster in the 1960s

Richard Whitford and Ian Sinclair £5.00

Steam in Ulster ended in1970 with the cessation of the Magheramorne quarry to Belfast 'Spoil contract' - a four year project to form the foundation of the M2 motorway. In this book, eleven classes of steam locomotive are illustrated and locations include the long closed 'Derry Road', Portadown to Londonderry, Foyle Road, and the Goraghwood to Warrenpoint branch.  Unusual locations include the Omagh markets branch, Belfast docks and the 'Shaky Bridge' over the river Lagan.

Paperback, 20cm high by 24 cm wide, 1 colour and 64 b&w photos, 1 map, 64 pages.

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Irish Railway Memories, A Decade of Change, 1984-1994

An album of photographs by Paul Haywood £10.95

In full colour this is a collection of Paul Haywood’s photographs for the ‘decade of change’ 1984 to 1994. A striking aspect of the photographs is the generally unkempt state of the locomotives spoiling some otherwise attractive and colourful liveries. The locations featured include both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The captions are detailed in railway information and are brought to life by the author’s own enthusiasm and his reminiscences. Places shown include Waterford, Cork, Dublin Connolly, Thomastown, Ballybrophy, Clonmel, Killarney, Kilkenny, Belfast Central, Lisburn, Bangor and more. Remember freight trains trundling through Lisburn or locomotives propelling passenger trains into and out of Limerick Junction?

Paperback, 12 x 24 cm, 52 colour photographs, 50 pages.

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Narrow Gauge Album 1950-1965 In Colour

Michael Whitehouse £25.00

From the wilds of the west of Ireland to the Isle of Man, through the mountains of North Wales to the rolling countryside of the east of England ironstone fields, the narrow gauge railway provided an invaluable service for around a hundred years. However, as roads improved and the motor vehicle gained the upper hand, this way of life began to come under increasing threat and by the 1950s the narrow gauge systems that remained faced a bleak future. A few were fortunate to attract the attention of a new breed, ‘preservationists’, pioneers in a new field who initially just wanted to save something of what was about to be lost forever but who also recognised the potential of the lines that they were bent on saving. One such was Patrick Whitehouse, who not only took an active part in the movement but who also travelled far and wide to photograph many of the narrow gauge lines and systems before they were lost.

Now, PBW’s son Michael has delved in to the family and other archives to compile a similar album for the 21st century, accompanied by essays from a variety of well-known names and sources. In Ireland, the Cavan & Leitrim, West Clare, and County Donegal are all long closed and each has a chapter in the book. This is a chance then to enjoy these lines and the myriad range of sturdy locomotives that worked them as they were, a couple when in the early throes of their preservation, but most when they were in the final years of performing the job for which they were built. And all in glorious, life breathing colour!

Casebound with printed board covers, printed on gloss art paper, 27x21cm, 270 colour photos, 208 pages

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The Tracks of my Railway Years, Volume 2

Roy Carlisle £15.00

Roy Carlisle’s ‘The Tracks of My Railway Years, Volume 2’ takes over where Volume 1 finished in terms of Roy’s personal railway experiences, illustrated by (mainly) his own photographs. One of the later chapters brings us to railways in exotic locations such as Kuala Lumpur, the Cape of Good Hope and San Francisco. However, the bulk of the book is firmly located in Ireland since the 1970s, with exotic locations such as Barn Halt on the Larne line, Ballykelly Airfield and Fenit, County Kerry!

As with Volume One, Roy intersperses pictures of everyday railway scenes with historic photos and those of preservation activities. RPSI members will be pleased to see the first ever Portrush Flyer in Portrush in 1973. The Downpatrick and County Down Railway, the Fintown Railway and the Donegal Heritage Centre at Donegal Town are given extensive coverage.

Roy used a magazine article, which featured his grandfather who drove trains around Clones, as the basis of a chapter on the ‘Bundoran Express’ called ‘The Partition Express, 1948’. Some of the customs arrangements, such as locking in passengers who have been customs examined, border on the horrific.

If you get nostalgic for views of MED railcars on the Bangor line, Belfast Transport Museum in Witham Street, CIÉ A class diesels, Castlerock station with semaphore signals or RPSI steam trains with wooden body coaches, this is the book for you.

Paperback, 26 x 21 cm, 434 colour and 155 b&w photos, 3 maps, 256 pages

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The Tracks of my Railway Years, Volume 1

Roy Carlisle £14.00

This book is subtitled ‘A personal Journey on Irish and UK Railways from the 1970s’.  It could also be subtitled ‘All those things which so many enthusiasts remember but so few photographed’. In the early 1970s, Roy set about recording the contemporary railway scene, mainly in Northern Ireland but with interludes throughout the island.

The early railtours of the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland with wooden body coaches are featured, particularly the Portrush Flyer from 1973 onwards. Forgotten gems include Barn and Eden Halts on the Larne line, Limavady Junction, Ballymacarret Junction, the original Great Victoria Street Station in Belfast, the Ardee branch, the Sligo Quay branch and Rosslare Harbour station. The full range of motive power of the period is covered – remember NIR’s fleet of three Diesel Hydraulic locomotives? CIÉ motive power is well illustrated due to an extensive visit to Inchicore Works, Dublin in 1975. Roy brings his story up to date with some steam activity in England and with a recent visit to the new Bellarena station – evidence of the railway revival which we are enjoying at present.

Paperback, 28 x 21 cm, 275 colour and 123 b&w photos, 1 map, 179 pages

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Henry Eoghan O’Brien, an Engineer of Nobility

Gerald M. Beesley £20.00

Henry Eoghan O’Brien, one of the 20th century’s earliest proponents of mainline railway electrification, was born in county Dublin on 24th August 1876. He was in the 30th generation in line of succession to Brian Boru, High King of Ireland (1002-14); a great-grandson of Sir Edward O’Brien, 4th Bart Dromoland; grand-nephew of Sir Lucius O’Brien, 13th Baron Inchiquin; and first cousin of Sir Murrough Wilson, deputy chairman of the London & North Eastern Railway.

H.E. O’Brien was educated at Eton and the Yorkshire College of the Victoria University (Leeds). Following training with Kitsons of Leeds and the Dublin Wicklow & Wexford Railway, he entered the service of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway in 1898 as a pupil of Sir John Aspinall and became Assistant Chief Mechanical Engineer in 1910. He was subsequently appointed Electrical Engineer on the London & North Western Railway following its merger with the L&YR in January 1922; a position that he retained with wider responsibilities when the grouping of 1923 resulted in the formation of the London Midland & Scottish Railway. Due to differences of opinion that arose in regard to long-term motive power policy he retired from the LMS at the end of January 1925. Service during the First World War with the Royal Engineers and at the Ministry of Munitions saw him rise to the rank of Colonel. He was twice mentioned in dispatches and was awarded the DSO in the 1918 New Year’s Honours.

Paperback, 24 x 16 cm, 3 colour and 100 b&w photos, 7 maps, 241 pages

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Railways In Ireland, Part One (Second Edition)

Martin Bairstow (Great Northern, Sligo-Leitrim, Lough Swilly, County Donegal, Cavan & Leitrim, Clogher Valley, Castlederg & Victoria Bridge) £17.95

This book is a new edition of one which was originally published in 2006. This second edition has been enlarged and many new photographs have been added, mostly previously unpublished. There is a brief history of each of the companies covered with notes on traffic carried and motive power used. The concluding list of opening and closure dates conveys just how much of the once extensive railway system in the northern part of Ireland has been lost. The stunning front cover photograph of GNR(I) V and VS class locomotives double heading a train at Dundalk in evening light will make you want to buy a copy.

Paperback, 24 x 18 cm, 20 colour & 202 b&w photos, 7 maps, 128 pages.

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Parting Shot – railway photographs from 1964 to 1973

Norman Johnston £16.00

Norman Johnston is widely regarded as one of Ireland’s foremost railway historians, who has meticulously photographed and recorded the changing world of Irish railways from the early 1960s.

This book draws from his remarkable collection and showcases some of what Norman regarded as the best, most interesting and significant images that he took during the pivotal period between 1964 and 1973. The pictures are presented in roughly chronological order and include some CIÉ as well as UTA and NIR. All are accompanied by extended captions filled with detail, anecdotes and personal reflection.

Norman began writing the book during the last two months of his life, completing the manuscript just seven days before his death on 31 August 2014. His choice of title reflects the fact that he knew that it would be his last book.

The book is published by Colourpoint Books, the company which Norman founded in conjunction with his wife, Sheila, and which contributed so much to our knowledge of Irish railways in terms of books published.  Norman’s sons, Malcolm and Wesley, now run the business and continue to publish books of railway and transport interest.

Paperback, 26 x 21 cm,  198 colour & 37 b&w photos, 160 pages.

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Across the Tracks

Reminiscences of working on Dundalk’s railways – compiled by Charles Friel. £10.00

When the Great Northern Railway (Ireland) opened its Engineering Works in Dundalk in 1881, Dundalk’s reputation as a railway town was established. The core of the book is 28 interviews, conducted by Charles Friel, with men and women who worked on Dundalk’s railways.  Their reminiscences are fascinating glimpses of an era when working conditions - and pay - were rudimentary by modern day standards.  Despite everything, the loyalty of the employees to the old companies shines through as does the camaraderie despite all that they had to endure.  There is a timeline of important railway events affecting Dundalk from 1839 to the present day. This publication is a joint venture between the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland and the Dundalk Railway Heritage Society, with funding provided by the International Fund for Ireland and managed by the Northern Ireland Rural Development Council under the Integrating Communities Programme.

Paperback, 24 x 17 cm, 38 colour, 54 b&w photos, 3 maps, 224 pages.

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Ireland’s Largest Industrial Railway: The Guinness System

Hugh Oram £10.00

The Guinness brewery in Dublin expanded rapidly in the 1870s as the world couldn’t get enough of its ruby red gold (it might look black but that’s an illusion). 

Horses and carts hauled hops, malt and casks around the site until 1873 when construction of a narrow gauge railway (tramway) began. This delightful little factory system operated for 100 years, ceasing work in 1975. Hugh Oram’s book is full of photos of (mainly) this and the day to day workings of the brewery. As well as the internal tramway, there was also a broad gauge link to Kingsbridge Station which closed in 1965 and is also featured.

Paperback, 18 x 24cm, 52 black and white photos, 50 pages

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Irish Steam In The 1960s - End Of An Era

Conrad Natzio £16.00

This is RPSI member Conrad Natzio’s record of a distinctive time on the Irish railway system, between 1960 and 1963, when dieselisation was well under way but there were many steam locomotives still hard at work, north and south. This delightful collection of Conrad’s largely unpublished images, complemented by extended captions filled with detail, anecdotes and personal reflections, captures the changing scene and celebrates what had survived.

Conrad is donating royalties from the book to the Society, so please support its purchase.

Paperback, 26 x 21cm, 220 colour photos, 160 pages

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Irish Railways in the 1950s and 1960s

Kevin McCormack £25.00

In the 1950s and 1960s the railway system in Ireland became a magnet for enthusiasts from Great Britain who realised that, as on the mainland, a way of life was fast disappearing as diesel traction replaced steam and the size of the rail network across Ireland was shrinking. Much of the interest stemmed from the similarity with the railways in Great Britain. Also, the existence of several narrow gauge systems, two railway-owned tramways and some cross-border operators added to the fascination.

This album covers those main line and narrow gauge railways in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland during the 1950s and 1960s, which were photographed in colour and the images used are believed never to have appeared in print before. Although most of the pictures depict individual locomotives or ones hauling trains, the opportunity has been taken to show some of the railway infrastructure of the period as well, since this is of particular interest to railway modellers. There has been a very active preservation movement in Ireland over the years, with many wonderful steam-hauled rail tours being operated that continue to this day, however this book will focus on the normal every day operations.

Hardback, 20 x 25 cm, 166 colour photos, 175 pages

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The Lough Swilly Railway

E.M. Patterson (Revised edition with additional material by J. Begley and S. Flanders) £18.00

This is a new edition of Dr EM Patterson’s second volume on the history of the narrow-gauge railways of north-west Ireland.
The detailed story charts the origins and development of this unique line including the Letterkenny Railway, re-gauging decisions and the Burtonport extension.

There is a new, valuable chapter of interviews and memories from some of the surviving workers and others who had contact with the railway and a chapter on the Lough Swilly Railway today And also now including many additional Glover drawings of locomotive, carriage and wagon stock.

Paperback, 26 x 21cm, 80 colour & 80 black and white photos, numerous maps and diagrams, 204 pages.

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Crewe To Ballywatermoy

Shaun Martin £10.00

Through the medium of a novel the reader is taken on journeys over the LMS (NCC) network. Stations, staff issues, locomotives, excursion trains and railway operations feature. The author, Shaun Martin, draws on personal memories from the 1940s. An Irish Railway Record Society review concluded: “The book has all the hallmarks of the historical novel and attempts to convey the spirit of events with realistic detail and fidelity.”

Paperback, 23 x 15 cm, 297 pages

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Great Northern Railway (Ireland)

E.M. Patterson £14.95

The Great Northern Railway of Ireland, maintained an independent existence for 77 years, much of that time prosperously established as the second largest and certainly the most enterprising of the Irish railway systems. Springing from the need to link Dublin and Belfast by rail, the Great Northern was the result of amalgamation of numerous smaller companies. The Great Northern was at its most prosperous in the 30 years or so preceding World War I. Falling receipts and soaring operating costs brought the company to its knees shortly after the end of World War II. Five years of shared nationalisation followed, during which much of the system suffered closures. In 1958 what was left was divided and administered thereafter by the Ulster Transport Authority and by Coras Iompair Éireann.

Paperback, 21 x 15 cm, 190 b&w photos, 11 maps, 240 pages

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The County Donegal Railways

E.M. Patterson (Revised edition with additional material by J. Begley & S. Flanders) £18.00

This is a new edition of E.M. Patterson’s first volume on the history of the narrow-gauge railways of North-West Ireland, originally published in 1962. The County Donegal Railways had a route of 124 miles, five termini and three junction stations. For the most part they traversed hilly and thinly-populated country and for two generations they were a busy and efficient operation. This edition adds a valuable chapter of interviews and memories of some of the surviving workers and others who had contact with the railway. It also includes a chapter on the County Donegal Railway today as, over 50 years after closure, much can still be seen of the former network. Some additional Glover drawings of locomotive, carriage and wagon stock are included.

Paperback,  26 x 21 cm,  34 colour & 55 b&w photos, 32 maps and diagrams, 192 pages

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The Steaming Sixties, No.11 - The Ulster Transport Authority

Terence Dorrity £12.99

In the 1960s railways in Ireland were run by the Ulster Transport Authority (UTA) in the North and Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ) in the Republic. At the time that the photographs in this book were taken, in 1963 and 1964, there was still a lot of railway activity to see and a fleet of steam locomotives that was very much to the British taste. The most numerous NCC locomotives, the WT class 2-6-4Ts and the W class 2-6-0s, clearly showed their LMS Derby roots. The ex-GNR(I) locomotives were of particular interest. A number of them were 4-4-0s, a wheel arrangement that was becoming rare in Britain at the time, and some of them still carried the GNR(I) blue livery and names. Steam locomotives could be seen hauling express, local and freight trains. There were two busy operational steam sheds in Belfast, at Adelaide and York Road and, among others, a roundhouse at Portadown. It was all shortly to end, but with the pictures in this book we can relive a little the swansong of steam in Ireland.

Hardback, 19 x 25 cm, 64 colour photos, 64 pages

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Ireland’s Narrow Gauge Railways - A Reference Handbook

Joe Begley and Steve Flanders £12.95

This book could be subtitled: ‘Everything you want to know about the Irish Narrow Gauge’, eg. from 1920 to 1923, there were 562 miles of Irish narrow gauge railway. A chapter is devoted to the history of each of the 18 narrow gauge companies, along with tables of dimensions of the locomotives and rolling stock. Each chapter concludes with a chronology and a table of distances showing route mileage. The appendices include the narrow gauge mileage from 1875 to 1961, where to find rolling stock diagrams (useful for modellers), and a comprehensive bibliography which includes books and magazines. To say that this book is packed with information would be an understatement. The authors intend to donate their royalties to the restoration of County Donegal Railways class 5 locomotive “Drumbo” (currently at Whitehead) to full steaming condition.

Paperback, 21 x 15 cm, 58 b&w photos, 160 pages

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