Gauge: 3ft (915mm)
Like all the narrow gauge railways in Ireland the Clogher Valley Railway was heavily subsidised by the British Government as part of the scheme to foster trade and tourism in the wake of the potato famine. The Tramways (Ireland) Act of 1883 attempted to provide a stimulus to railway construction in potentially unremunerative areas by allowing promoters of railway promoters to approach a county’s Grand Jury to seek financial support for their scheme. If a scheme was supported by a Grand Jury that body could require the areas that would benefit from the railway to guarantee the interest on all or part of the capital required for the project. Although there were failings the Act did much to further the spread of railways in Ireland. Eventually no-one was more than 15 miles from a railway station.
The 3ft gauge Clogher Valley Railway was incorporated on 26th May 1884, the second project under the terms of the 1883 Act. It opened for traffic on 2nd May 1887 linking Tynan, County Armagh and Maguiresbridge in County Fermanagh, both on the broad gauge Great Northern Railway, a distance of 37 miles. Much of the route was across County Tyrone serving the towns of Caledon, Crilly, Aughnacloy, Ballygawley, Augher, Clogher and Fivemiletown. The railway followed public roads for much of its length and ran down the main streets of Caledon and Fivemiletown.
The railway had a dismal financial performance throughout its lifetime, belying the glowing picture of returns painted in its prospectus. Nevertheless the Company had extremely ambitious plans for expansion aimed at providing access to the port of Newry and connections with the Cavan and Leitrim line. None came to fruition however and the CVR remained a local line.
The Clogher Valley Railway lay within the six counties which comprised Northern Ireland on the partition of 1922. The new government in Belfast recommended the take over of the CVR by the broad gauge Great Northern Railway. The GNR refused to do this and the CVR retained its independence. In 1927 however the directors were replaced by a Committee of Management appointed by Tyrone and Fermanagh county councils. The Committee did much to revitalise the line with more and speedier services. In 1932 a pioneering articulated passenger diesel railcar built by Walkers of Wigan was delivered, along with a diesel tractor unit which could tow a coach or a few wagons. These were successful in cutting costs and speeding up the service but could only postpone the inevitable end of the basically uneconomic line.
Despite the difficulties of wartime transport the Clogher Valley Railway closed for good on 31st December 1941.
1 Caledon Sharp, Stewart No. 3369 of 1886; 0-4-2 tank. Scrapped 1934
2 Errigal Sharp, Stewart No. 3370 of 1886; 0-4-2 tank . In service till closure
3 Blackwater Sharp, Stewart No. 3371 of 1887; 0-4-2 tank. In service till closure
4 Fury Sharp, Stewart No. 3372 of 1887; 0-4-2 tank. Scrapped 1929
5 Colebrooke Sharp, Stewart No. 3373 of 1887; 0-4-2 tank. Scrapped 1936
6 Erne Sharp, Stewart No. 3374 of 1887; 0-4-2 tank. In service till closure. Scrapped 1942
7 Blessingbourne Hudswell, Clarke & Co. No. 914 of 1907; 0-4-4 tank. Scrapped 1935
4 Hudswell, Clarke & Co. No. 698 of 1904; Ex Castlederg &Victoria Bridge Tramway, rebuilt in 1936; Scrapped 1942
8 Steam tractor by Atkinson Walker Waggons No. 114 of 1928; sold to CDRJC
1 Articulated diesel bogie railcar by Walker Bros. of 1932
2 Diesel 4 wheel lorry/tractor by Walker Bros. of 1933