Step back into the past on the Irish Mail train

Following on from the time travelling theme in my Back to the Future post comes this documentary about the Irish Mail route from London to Dublin that operated from 1848. The documentary was originally broadcast in 1954. It has this lovely old fashioned feel to it.

It’s amazing that it took up to 2 days to travel between those cities but that was quick before regular flights were a reality.

Also be sure to read about the Chester and Holyhead Railway and this page about tunnel crossings across the Irish Sea. Who knew Irish trains didn’t use standard guage tracks eh? Whose bright idea was that then?

By Donncha

Donncha Ó Caoimh is a software developer at Automattic and WordPress plugin developer. He posts photos at In Photos and can also be found on Twitter.

2 replies on “Step back into the past on the Irish Mail train”

The Irish Rail network was, at one point, one of the best in the world, we had a network that if it hadn’t been dismantled, we would have FAR less freight traffic on our roads today, but unfortunately it was dismantled by CIE and governments that lacked any real vision.

On another note and one of those completely useless pieces of trivia, the world’s first commercial monorail was Irish and, if memory serves, it was in Listowel and is still the only commercial monorail to have carried freight or livestock on a regular basis.

As to why we use a different gauge to GB, that would be due to a dispute between a number of regional railways here back in the mid-1800s, which lead to the gauge we use now to be recommended as a compromise. I couldn’t remember how it ended up becoming law, but after a bit of digging, I found it was the “Railway Regulation (Gauge) Act 1846” that mandated it. It’s also the act that mandated standard gauge in GB. I guess they figured that because Ireland was isolated from the rest of the UK, we could use a separate gauge–thus settling the dispute–without it leading to any additional costs or complications, which, for the most part, turned out to be true.

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