Rail Museum

Rail Museum Shed

The plans for this structure have been submitted to the County Council Planning Authority and their decision is expected by the end of November 2009. The erection of this shed (together with the accompanying cottage which provides an extension and public entrance to the museum) is now urgent as many of the exhibits (ie. 5 working diesel engines ex-Irish Rail owned by the Irish Traction Group) will be arriving at Moyasta by the end of the same month and will need housing.

The joining of the collections of the Irish Traction Group and the West Clare Railway is an exciting aspect of these plans. Although steam locomotives will be represented by only the one example, the collection will consist of most types of diesel engine used on Irish Rail since 1955 together with examples of rolling stock, both freight and passenger, and as much of the Irish narrow gauge railways that can be found, crowned by steam locomotive operation. Furthermore, the Railway Company owns and would display a number of vintage road vehicles mostly of heavy commercial types supplemented by locally-owned vintage vehicles being placed on display for short periods by their owners. There is no other location in Ireland where so much of such variety and Irish relevance will have been collected and, as Ireland is the only EU country without a railway museum, it cannot be far-fetched to think that the museum could become Ireland’s National Railway Museum.

The Irish Traction Group report that their average visitor numbers each year amount to 14.000 people. It is not possible to give similar figures for the West Clare Railway as many visitors do not travel and pay the fare but donate informally instead. However, until the steam engine arrived in July 2009, the railway entertained a similar number of people, it is believed. This increased five-fold after the steam engine’s return until the beginning of September and remained higher than was previously normal until the centre closed in October. It is therefore anticipated and planned that the combined museum facilities and enhanced steam operation could easily draw visitor numbers of at least 50.000 per annum.

The Museum.

The premises that will initially form the museum consist of;

1. The new shed

2. Fisherman’s cottage

3. Original station house of Moyasta Junction of the former WCR providing display and public toilet facilities.

4. 2 carriages altered to provide reception and refreshment facilities together with a fully audio/visually equipped classroom/lecture room, cinema, library and office facilities for archival research.

5. Outhouses erected ad hoc to provide extra entertainments, eg model railways, virtual reality train driving etc.

6. Station platform with water tower and crane.

7. Engine shed with pit.

8. Signalman’s cabin.

9. Large car parks suitable for coaches and trucks.

10. Wharfage at nearby bay for boat displays.

Facilities at the new shed will include;

1 Storage for up to 12 standard gauge locomotives

2 Storage and display of vintage road transport vehicles

3 Public viewing area

4 Railway turntable operation.

5 Locomotive and rolling stock static displays.

6 Loco fuelling facilities.

7 Wall-mounted displays and explanations.

8 Eco-friendly water recycling facility and display.

For further details see “Fisherman’s Cottage” on left hand Column