Yesterday, Friday 27th February, we took the first deliveries of bull-head rail acquired from Irish Rail (Iarnród Éireann).
This rail is intended for our planned extensions both east to the St. Patrick Centre, as well as for sidings into our new carriage display gallery (both subject to NITB approval) and in the longer term for Ballydugan.
Nearly 3,000 feet of rail and concrete sleepers has been purchased from IÉ, presenting a monumental logistical effort to move this material to Downpatrick, and the two lorry loads that arrived early on Friday morning are merely the first batch.
Bull-head rail is a type of track largely obsolete on the modern rail network, having been replaced by flat-bottom rail which is today welded together, as opposed to this jointed material which gave the railways of old that familiar “clickety-clack” noise.
Over the next coming weeks the remaining rails will be delivered, followed by the concrete sleepers. We are indebted to Walter Watson Steel for the delivery of the rail, and to Danny Melia and Gregg Ryan of Iarnród Éireann.