September NewsletterSeptember 21st, 2010
August turned out to be a month of contrasts. The weather improved steadily throughout and families on holiday were encouraged to come out in droves. However, a failure on one of the steam engine’s injectors caused a week’s “diesel-only” services much to everyone’s disappointment.
We also received two complaints from mothers keen to entertain their children at the railway! It was important to point out to them that our business is not that of a fairground ride but that of a museum designed to celebrate the history of the original railway, its impact on the society of west Clare, and to educate and inform our visitors of their own rich heritage with “hands-on” experience of riding on a narrow-gauge line in the early part of the last century behind a working steam locomotive. Notices requesting our visitors to be mindful of our aims and ambitions have been placed around the railway and we hope that in future we can help people learn and improve their outlook. It would be a poor teacher, however, if a lesson were not to have its entertaining moments.
Jackie is continuing to be ever mindful of the need to expand our collection and went to the USA to research the existence and availability of Irish narrow-gauge stock. The outcome of his visit will not be known for some time but the collection continues to grow as more ex-Bord na Mona engines arrive. Out of this stock, number LM 60 has already been restored. Its Gardner engine is working again and a new body fitted. A new livery of Crimson Lake is being applied to these locos and beginning to look very smart.
The idea of a Courtesy Coach from Kilkee, frankly speaking went down like a lead balloon. No-one took advantage of the scheme. It is thought that the Kilkee Bay Hotel was just too far from the beach and the centres of tourist occupation to assist success. However, visitor numbers were good and, even more encouraging to those operating the railway was the arrival throughout the month of true railway enthusiasts who had travelled, often from far afield, to view the engine and enjoy the railway’s environment. No doubt new personal “blogs” will now appear on the internet and we look forward to finding them.
Another film crew will be using our facilities during the month. They are filming for a children’s TV program and apparently we will be re-enacting the famous 1950’s song, “The Runaway Train” The TG4 crew in August were a remarkably professional outfit who made the 3 days of their filming a great pleasure to the staff as well as the local amateur dramatic group (“The Crack’d Spoon Company”) who acted the parts together with a re-enactment society from Wexford. Jackie finally found himself in front of an IRA firing squad and the photos of it shown in the local pub brought a fantastic response as a caption competition. The only one we can reproduce here is the comment, “Should have happened years ago!”