Below is a selection of photos and information about members models of the County Donegal Railway.
by Andy Cundick
A selection of photos showing Andy's fine 00n3 4mm-scale model of Donegal Town. There is a variety of rolling stock, concentrating on a good range of the different railcars that were so characteristic of the CDR. Notice that the bus garage in the yard across from the station house only appears in a couple of the photos, some of the shots were taken while Andy was still developing the model. The other thing to note is that the track to Killybegs goes straight on past the station and then curves to the left in order to suit the model; the real thing curved in the opposite direction immediately at the end of the platforms, crossed the road at an angle and then swung even sharper round to the right.
The two lines coming towards the photographer (photo 1 for example) were, from the left, the headshunt for the goods yard and the main running line. Photo 8 shows the junction with the Ballyshannon branch heading to the left and the main line to the Barnesmore Gap and Stranorlar continuing on towards the photographer.
Photo 9 shows the main buildings: the two-storey station master's house, the single-storey station offices, and the white-painted goods store. All are still standing.
Photo 2 depicts the station yard and buildings while no. 3 gives the view from the track side, looking over the water tower and the old loco shed, abandoned by the time this model is set (and cut short at an angle for the model). The loco shed was built for the smaller class 1, 2 and 3 locos and fell out of use when the class 4, 5 and 5A locos were introduced. Originally there was a small turntable on the shed road immediately in front of the doors.
Photo 4 is a view overlooking the island platform. Railcar 7 stands on the siding once covered by a simple carriage shed. Photos 5 and 6 give overall views while photo 7 concentrates on the loco and railcar facilities. Only the long-defunct loco shed still stands today.
The model is a real gem and has perfectly captured the atmosphere and spirit of the old station. The character standing on the footbridge – complete with duffel coat and aged camera – is John Langford; we have the photo that he took from that spot in 1959 in the archive! You can see him in the top right-hand corner of photo no. 5.
If you have a model of any aspect of the CDR that you'd like us to feature here just send us the photos and details. We'll return the photos as soon as we've scanned them in.
A selection of layouts photographed by Mick Thornton at the May 2009 Exhibition in Donegal.
Donegal Town By Alan Gee
Donegal Town by George Hanan
Killybegs by Neil Tee
Letterkenny by Andy Cundick
Some County Donegal Stock seems to have got lost and turned up in Dingle! This layout by Chester MRC
A selection of 15mm scale locos by John Campbell and rolling stock by Neil Ramsey
A further selection of photographs taken by Mick Thornton, this time at Pewsey in August 2009
Overall view of the stand with models by Chris Romain, John Campbell and Neil Ramsey
10mm scale Class 5 and coach by Chris Romain, Neil Ramsey with one of his 15mm scale coaches
More photographs taken by Mick Thornton, at Narrow Gauge South on 10th April 2010
Andy Cundick's latest model, Strabane, still under construction but already on the exhibition circuit.
Photographs taken by John Darch to accompany an article in Issue 30 of Phoenix
By Brian McCann
Set during the Summer of 1959, Castlefinn depicts the swansong of the County Donegal Railway in the Finn Valley prior to its closure at the beginning of 1960. Notwithstanding the closure of the Strabane – Derry section some five years earlier in 1955 with the consequent decrease in coal and oil traffic, the CDR continued to maintain a variety of traffic through Castlefinn.
Railcar passenger services in a variety of formations formed the backbone of the CDR operation in tandem with steam hauled goods trains, mixed trains and passenger specials. Most railcars used the Up platform where services were subject to Customs examination by officials in white hats, a hardship which was abolished with the advent of the EU, albeit after the closure of the CDR.
Supported on a plywood box baseboard, the station features a single track with passing loop and two sidings supported by a six-track fiddle yard at the rear. With the exception of the three railcars, which feature brass bodies from Worsley Works, the buildings and stock were mostly scratchbuilt from plasticard of varying thickness and shape. All of the stock is fitted with auto couplings and runs on highly modified N gauge chassis from Minitrix (railcar), Kato (steam locos), Lima/Grafar (coaches) and Peco (goods).
Operation is based on the 1959 timetable, which provided 13 services each way each day. The timetable provides for two railcars to pass in the loop while the eastbound goods is subject to Customs examination on the Down platform and the sidings are occupied by the stock for a passenger special.