Tales of historic train travel to Donegal sought


Hugh Dougherty

COUNTY Donegal Railway Heritage Centre boss Niall McCaughan wants to hear from anyone who remembers the County Donegal Railways in action. That includes anyone who worked on, travelled on the line, or has heard stories of the railway passed down through their family.

“Although the railway closed in 1959, we know that there are still many people alive who travelled on, worked on or knew the railway,” Niall said. “We’re planning an audio resource and display at the centre for later this year and we need to capture these memories before it’s too late so that they can be included.”

And Niall says that he’s especially interested to hear from people in Scotland who had relations who worked on the line, or who travelled to and from Donegal each year on holidays to visit relatives.

“We know that many people, especially from the Glasgow area, travelled by boat from Ardrossan to Belfast, took the Great Northern Railway train to Strabane, and transferred, there, to the County Donegal Railways to catch narrow gauge, diesel railbuses to Stranorlar, Glenties, Donegal, Killybegs and Ballyshannon, while travelling back to Donegal the summer holidays,” he said. “In the reverse direction, many made that journey to emigrate to Scotland or as seasonal workers for the tatty howkin’. There are memories in plenty out there, especially from older people who were children in the 1950s and we’d be delighted to hear from them as the Irish-Scottish connection was very much part of the character of the County Donegal Railways and we want to record that for future generations.”

Anyone who would like to contribute to the audio and written memory archive can contact Niall at manager@donegalrailway.com