Guinness Brewery Railway

Gauge: 1ft 10in (560mm)

 

Collection Objects

Number Railway Object Type Description Image
TYWRM:GS001 Guinness Brewery locomotive locomotive; 0-4-0T; '13'; by Wm. Spence; Dublin 1895 file GS001.jpg
TYWRM:GS002 Guinness Brewery print Print of GA drawing; locomotive; 0-4-0T; by Wm. Spence; Dublin 1895

Guinness Brewery in St James’s Gate, Dublin was founded by Arthur Guinness in 1759, one of dozens based on the pure water available from the River Liffey. Guinness outlasted and outgrew all its competitors to become one of the greatest brewing empires in the world. During the nineteenth century the business benefited from an explosive growth of sales in Britain. Output reached 750,000 barrels in 1875 and 1.2 million barrels in 1886, by which time St James’s Gate was the largest brewery in the world.

Between 1868 and 1886 Guinness spent over £1 million on capital projects. A Grand Canal tributary was cut into the brewery to enable special Guinness barges to carry consignments out onto the Irish canal system or to the Dublin port. Much of the work was drawn up by Samuel Geoghegan who joined the engineering staff in 1872 at the age of 28 and in 1875 became Chief Engineer.

Guinness having outgrown its site had acquired land between the brewery and the Liffey to allow for expansion, access to the railway network via a direct link with the Kingsbridge terminus of the Great Southern & Western Railway and access to the Port of Dublin via a river quay. As well as despatch and receipt of empty casks, the cooperage, washing and filling facilities, and discharge of waste products were all transferred to the lower site. But with the two sites, movement of ever larger quantities of heavy, bulky raw materials and waste products became even more of a problem. Existing manpower and horse drawn methods were slow and inefficient.

The solution was the construction of a narrow gauge railway network serving the entire brewery. Much of the system was laid between 1873 and 1877 supervised by Geoghegan. He set the track gauge at 1ft 10ins, with a loading gauge of five feet wide and a headway of six feet.

St James Street split the old brewery from the new extension and there was a difference of some 50 feet in levels as the new land dropped sharply down to the Liffey. To connect the two halves of the brewery and overcome the difference in levels Geoghegan built a spiral tunnel in the old brewery leading under the street. The spiral had the steepest gradient on the network, 1 in 40 and 2.65 turns dropped the line about 33feet. A marshalling yard was laid out in the lower half of the brewery and the railway took in the Liffey Quay. Some years later a broad gauge line was built to connect the lower brewery with the Kingsbridge rail terminal.

The narrow gauge system served all parts of the brewery and most operations. At the lower level over 8000 casks could be moved in a day, serving the broad gauge link, the quay and washing plant. On the middle level trains ran between the malt store and the maltings. On the upper level malt and hops were taken to the brewhouse. On both upper and middle levels trains removed used hops and spent grain to disposal points lower down

In 1875 the first steam locomotive was delivered from Sharp, Stewart. It proved to be unsatisfactory as did four further locomotives due mainly to maintenance problems. Geoghegan designed his own loco, an 0-4-0 side tank with horizontal cylinders mounted above the boiler. Drive was via vertical connecting rods. Instead of being fixed to the boiler, the cylinders were attached to the side frames which were the full height of the loco. An independent spring frame could be wheeled out from under the lifted loco. The entire design was based around ease of maintenance and maximum protection from dirt.

The prototype locomotive was built in England in 1882 by the Avonside Engine Co. All eighteen others were built by William Spence in Dublin. The last Geoghegan loco, No 24, was built in 1920. Geoghehan also designed a standard side tipping wagon and flat bogie wagon of which large numbers were built.

For use on the broad gauge link, Geoghegan built ingenious converter vehicles which he called “haulage trucks”. A narrow gauge loco could be lifted and dropped into the frames of the “haulage truck” where its driving wheels rested on rollers geared to drive the running wheels of the truck. Thus a broad gauge loco was produced. Four “haulage trucks” were built and continued in use even after conventional broad gauge locomotives were purchased in 1921.

In the early 1940s it was decided to begin replacing the ageing steam locomotives with diesels. The restricted loading gauge and sharp curvatures of much of the system presented many design problems. Finally F C Hibberd & Co. produced its 37hp “Planet” loco in 1947, of which 12 were supplied by 1951.

By 1964 much of the narrow gauge system had become redundant, with other means of handling available, and locos began to be laid up. The lines in the lower brewery and quayside had already closed in 1961. The broad gauge link closed in 1965 but the narrow gauge system lingered on until the last train, diesel powered, ran on 5th August 1975.

 

Locomotives

  1. Sharp, Stewart & Co. NO. 2477 of 1875; 0-4-0 saddle tank. Scrapped 1913
  2. Hops Stephen Lewin & Co. of 1876; 0-4-0 tank; gear drive. Scrapped 1914
  3. Malt Stephen Lewin & Co. of 1876; 0-4-0 tank; gear drive. Scrapped 1927
  4. Sharp, Stewart & Co. No. 2764 of 1878; 0-4-0 tank. Scrapped 1925
  5. Sharp, Stewart & Co. No. 2765 of 1878; 0-4-0 tank. Scrapped 1925
  6. Avonside & Co. No. 1337 of 1882; 0-4-0 tank. Withdrawn 1936. Scrapped 1947
  7. William Spence & Co. of 1887; 0-4-0 tank. Scrapped 1948
  8. William Spence & Co. of 1887; 0-4-0 tank. Scrapped 1948
  9. William Spence & Co. of 1887; 0-4-0 tank. Scrapped 1949
  10. William Spence & Co. of 1891; 0-4-0 tank. Scrapped 1949
  11. William Spence & Co. of 1891; 0-4-0 tank. Scrapped 1949
  12. William Spence & Co. of 1891; 0-4-0 tank. Scrapped 1954
  13. William Spence & Co. of 1895; 0-4-0 tank. Survives
  14. William Spence & Co. of 1895; 0-4-0 tank. Scrapped 1951
  15. William Spence & Co. of 1895; 0-4-0 tank. Withdrawn 1957. Survives
  16. William Spence & Co. of 1902; 0-4-0 tank. Scrapped 1951
  17. William Spence & Co. of 1902; 0-4-0 tank. Withdrawn 1962. Survives
  18. William Spence & Co. of 1902; 0-4-0 tank. Scrapped 1951
  19. William Spence & Co. of 1902; 0-4-0 tank. Scrapped 1951
  20. William Spence & Co. of 1905; 0-4-0 tank. Withdrawn 1956. Survives
  21. William Spence & Co. of 1905; 0-4-0 tank. Withdrawn 1959
  22. William Spence & Co. of 1912; 0-4-0 tank. Withdrawn 1957
  23. William Spence & Co. of 1921; 0-4-0 tank. Survives
  24. William Spence & Co. of 1921; 0-4-0 tank. Survives
  25. F C Hibberd & Co. No. 3068 of 1947; Diesel.
  26. F C Hibberd & Co. No. 3255 of 1948; Diesel.
  27. F C Hibberd & Co. No. 3256 of 1948; Diesel.
  28. F C Hibberd & Co. No. 3257 of 1948; Diesel. Withdrawn 1961
  29. F C Hibberd & Co. No. 3258 of 1948; Diesel.
  30. F C Hibberd & Co. No. 3259 of 1948; Diesel. Withdrawn 1961
  31. F C Hibberd & Co. No. 3446 of 1950; Diesel.
  32. F C Hibberd & Co. No. 3444 of 1950; Diesel.
  33. F C Hibberd & Co. No. 3445 of 1950; Diesel. Withdrawn 1961
  34. F C Hibberd & Co. No. 3448 of 1950; Diesel.
  35. F C Hibberd & Co. No. 3449 of 1950; Diesel.
  36. F C Hibberd & Co. No. 3447 of 1950; Diesel. Delivered 1951 (displayed at Festival of Britain)

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