This article from the Kerry Eye [dated August 1991] makes for some interesting reading.
Even before the tracks were removed on the North Kerry railway a report was commissioned into the feasibility of converting it into a route for cycling and walking [and horse drawn carriages ! ] , and here we are over 21 years later and the situation is pretty much the same today.
Although a short section of the lines in Tralee urban area has been recently completed, the rest of the railway lies idle, gathering rubbish and encouraging anti social behavior .
Currently the Dept. of transport, tourism and sport is asking local authorities to submit projects for it’s National Cycle Network Funding Scheme worth €6.5m will Kerry Co Co be submitting conversion of the North Kerry Railways ?
Last week saw the final surface added to on the Rock Street to Mounthawk section of the greenway. While there is still some work remaining to be completed mainly landscaping and the Mounthawk entrance it was great to see so many people out using the route and enjoying the great weather over the weekend.
This is a great start to the project and hopefully it’s success will usher on the development of the remainder of the unused railways in the near future.
Great to see the progress continuing on the project, this week saw the council begin to remove the wall at Rock Street which now allow view of the path behind it. We look forward to accessing the path from Rock Street in the coming weeks !
On a frosty evening fifty years ago the last regular passenger train wended its way through West Limerick and North Kerry as it made its final journey from Limerick to Tralee. All along the route people came out to bid farewell.
It was Saturday 2nd February 1963. Although this was not the last train to travel on the line, (freight services continued up until 1978) it was the last time it was used for passenger transit. A passenger is defined as person who travels in a vehicle, while the line may have seen the last of passengers, it has not seen the last of people, it is great to see that 50 years on from that last passenger train people are again using the railway (although this time under their own steam ! ).
Work on the reopening of the Tralee section of the line and the Fenit branch is well underway, the Limerick section of the line is complete to the Kerry border and a number of local groups have began working to reopen sections in their locality.
Coincidentally in 2013 the 2nd of February also falls on a Saturday and to commemorate the last train a walk will set out from Abbeyfeale Station along the Great Southern Trail(GST) at 2.15pm to Duagh Village, the route is approximately four miles long and as portion of the route is on the public road all participants are advised to wear visibility vests.
Refreshments will be provided at Jim’s Bar, Duagh and return transport to Abbeyfeale will be provided. Those travelling from the Tralee/Listowel direction may consider the 1pm CIÉ bus from Tralee(1.30pm from Listowel) to Abbeyfeale; there is a return CIÉ service to Listowel/Tralee at 4.45pm directly from Duagh.
Here are a few photos taken over the last couple of weeks which show the progress on the line. Also if you fancy working off the xmas dinner, the Great Southern Trail Annual Christmas Walk takes place on Dec. 27th, this will also be the inaugural walk on the new extension to the Kerry border, check the Southern Trail website for more information.
The city of Copenhagen has recently opened the first [of a planed 26] cycle superhighways, these routes go from the city center out into the countryside and surrounding villages, sound familiar ?
The first route to open runs from Copenhagen to it’s western suburb of Albertslund 11 miles away, a route just a couple of miles longer that the old Tralee to Fenit Railway.
This Cycle Superhighway project has been doing the rounds of major international news outlets recently, lauding the Danish authorities for their work, here is an interesting article from the New York Times which is definitely worth a read.
What is interesting is that the motivation behind the project was to encourage more residents to do their daily commute by bicycle in order to ensure a more healthy and happy population.
“When we look at public hospitals, we look very much at how to reduce cost,” said a regional councilor, Lars Gaardhoj, who had just picked up his three small children in a cargo bike decorated with elephants. “It’s a common saying among doctors that the best patient is the patient you never see. Anything we can do to get less pollution and less traffic is going to mean healthier, maybe happier, people.”
Tralee IT will be running a conference aimed at promoting cycle tourism in Kerry on Saturday 21st April.
Titled Developing Cycling Tourism in Kerry – The Challenges and Opportunities the conference will present ideas on how to develop cycling tourism which will be of interest to community tourism groups, tourism businesses and local authorities who will be eager to explore the potential of cycling as a tourism product for development in Kerry.
Cycling has increased as a leisure activity in Ireland and offers excellent potential for development. The seminar will include speakers involved in developing ‘From Start to Finish’ The Great Western Greenway in Mayo, generating €7.2m in the local economy in addition to a presentation from Southern Trail, a voluntary group who have developed a 53 mile long trail along the old Great Southern Railway. Representatives from various tourism development agencies will also outline the supports available to assist developments in this area. Steven Patterson, from ‘Sustrans‘, a pioneer of the ‘Safe Routes’ concept in the UK & Northern Ireland will also address the conference.