Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway

Gauge: 3ft (915mm)

 

Collection Objects

Number Railway Object Type Description Image
TYWRM:LLS002.1 Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway staff Electric staff marked 'CARNDONAGH - CLONMANY' file LLS002-1.jpg
TYWRM:LLS002.2 Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway staff Electric staff marked 'CARNDONAGH - CLONMANY' file LLS002-2.jpg
TYWRM:LLS004 Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway timetable poster LLSR timetable poster 4 June 1939 file LLS004.jpg
TYWRM:LLS005 Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway notice LLSR cast sign "Trespassers Prosecuted" file LLS005.jpg
TYWRM:LLS006 Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway sign LLSR cast sign "Londonderry and Lough Swilly Ry Co" file LLS006.jpg
TYWRM:LLS007 Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway form Blank Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway memo form; with carbon copy note on reverse; possibly 25.9.1935 file LLS007A.jpg
TYWRM:LLS008 Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway report Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway report of the Directors and financial accounts for year ended 31.12.1950 file LLS008.jpg
TYWRM:LLS009 Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway report Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway report of the Directors and financial accounts for year ended 31.12.1928 file LLS009.jpg
TYWRM:LLS010 Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway stamp Londonderry and Lough Swilly railway parcel stamps; denominations 2d; 5d; 6d; 8d; 5/- file LLS010.jpg
TYWRM:LLS011 Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway stamp Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway Company 2d railway letter stamp file LLS011.jpg
TYWRM:LLS012 Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway document Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway Company cheque dated 22.4.1914 to Messrs Hudswell Clarke & Co Ltd. file LLS012.jpg
TYWRM:LLS013 Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway timetable Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway Company Working Timetable for 13th April 1947 file LLS013A.jpg

Intended to link Lough Foyle and Lough Swilly across the Inishowen peninsula in north Donegal, the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway was incorporated in 1860. The engineer of the line was the celebrated Irishman Sir John MacNeill. The railway opened on 12th November 1863 as a 5ft 3in gauge line, running from Londonderry to Farland Point with a branch to Buncrana. Farland was closed in 1866.

The Letterkenny Railway opened on 30th June 1883 from Cuttymanhill to Letterkenny to a gauge of 3ft. It was worked by the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway, and absorbed by them in 1887. To avoid transhipment, and under pressure from the Government, the Company relaid its original line to 3ft gauge in 1885. In 1901 the Company extended its line from Buncrana to Carndonagh with a Government grant of 80% of the costs. The 49¾ mile Burtonport extension of 1903 was worked by the L&LSR with nominally separate engines and stock. The Company operated 100 route miles in 1911.

After partition the L&LSR was not included in the Great Southern Railway merger of 1925 since 3 miles of its line was in Northern Ireland. It continued to keep its equipment in first class condition along with its suspicion of Government. It decided to transfer the whole of its business to road transport. The lines from Buncrana to Carndonagh and from Gweedore to Burtonport were abandoned in 1935 and 1940 respectively. The closure of the remainder of the system had to be deferred due to wartime shortages of petrol and oil for the replacement road services. By the end of the war years the Company was carrying nearly 500,000 passengers per annum on its rail services from Derry to Buncrana and Gweedore.

With the ending of hostilities the line from Letterkenny to Gweedore was in a dangerous state of disrepair and the Company re-embarked on its policy of replacing rail services by road transport. The daily goods service between Letterkenny and Gweedore was withdrawn in January 1947, the line finally closing in June. Regular passenger services ceased on the Derry to Buncrana and Tooban Junction to Letterkenny sections in September 1948. Freight workings and occasional passenger specials continued on these lines until 8th August 1953 when the remaining rail services, immaculately turned out to the last, were withdrawn.

The L&LSR continued to operate road services even after the Company was sold in 1981. By this time, the L&LSR had become one of the longest-lived railway companies in either Ireland or Britain, having outlasted nearly all the others by many years.

The “Swilly” buses continued to run until it closed down on Saturday 19 April 2014, having gone into liquidation. The final service was a bus from Derry at 18.00 to Letterkenny where it arrived at 18.40.

Locomotives

1 J.T. Mackey Black, Hawthorn & Co. No. 684 of 1883; 0-6-2 tank. Scrapped 1911
2 Londonderry Black, Hawthorn & Co. No. 742 of 1883; 0-6-2 tank. Scrapped 1912
3 Donegal Black, Hawthorn & Co. No. 743 of 1883; 0-6-2 tank. Scrapped 1913
4 (17) Innishowen Black, Hawthorn & Co. No. 834 of 1885; 0-6-2 tank. Scrapped 1940
5 Robert Stephenson & Co. No. 2088 of 1873; 2-4-0 tank. 1885. Ex industrial loco. Sold 1887
6 Robert Stephenson & Co. No. 2089 of 1873; 2-4-0 tank. 1885. Ex industrial loco. Sold 1887
5 (15) Hudswell, Clarke & Co. No.518 of 1899; 4-6-2 tank. Survived till closure. Scrapped 1954
6 (16) Hudswell, Clarke & Co. No. 519 of 1899; 4-6-2 tank. Survived till closure. Scrapped 1953
7 King Edward VII Hudswell, Clarke & Co. No. 577 of 1901; 4-6-2 tank. Scrapped 1940
8 Hudswell, Clarke & Co. No. 562 of 1901; 4-6-2 tank. Survived till closure. Scrapped 1954
9 Aberfoyle Kerr, Stuart & Co. No. 845 of 1904; 4-6-2 tank. Scrapped 1928
10 Richmond Kerr, Stuart & Co. No. 846 of 1904; 4-6-2 tank. Survived till closure. Scrapped 1954
13 Hawthorne, Leslie & Co. NO. 2801 of 1910; 4-6-2 tank. Scrapped 1940
14 Hawthorne, Leslie & Co. No. 2802 of 1910; 4-6-2 tank. Scrapped 1943
1 Andrew Barclay & Sons No. 933 of 1902; 4-6-0 tank. Scrapped 1940
2 Andrew Barclay & Sons No. 934 of 1903; 4-6-0 tank. Survived till closure
3 Andrew Barclay & Sons No. 935 of 1903; 4-6-0 tank. Survived till closure
4 Andrew Barclay & Sons No. 936 of 1903; 4-6-0 tank. Survived till closure
11 Hudswell, Clarke & Co. No. 746 of 1905; 4-8-0 tender. Scrapped 1933
12 Hudswell, Clarke & Co. No. 747 of 1905; 4-8-0 tender. Survived till closure. Scrapped 1953
5 Hudswell, Clarke & Co. No. 985 of 1912; 4-8-4 tank. Survived till closure. Scrapped 1954
6 Hudswell, Clarke & Co. No. 986 of 1912; 4-8-4 tank. Survived till closure. Scrapped 1954

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