Irish Peat Railways

The Irish Peat Railways were primarily owned by the state enterprise ‘Bord na Mona’ although there were a few private local cooperatives as well. In order to remove peat from the bogs, most peat operations used narrow gauge (3ft) railways - originally with steam power but by 2010, it was 100% dieselised.

The locos were from a variety of builders including Hunslet, Ruston & Hornsby, Gleismac, Simplex, Deutz. Bord na Mona also built their own locos and ran a program to upgrade Hunslet Wagonmasters to better match modern demands. The railways also used railcars and tractors converted for rail use.

In 2010, peat in dried sods or briquette form was used as a traditional source of household heating and cooking but also fuel for power stations and for garden compost.

With the increasing understanding of the ecological impact of mining peat from bogs which sequester carbon dioxide along with burning the peat which releases CO2 and other air pollutants, since 2010 the Irish government has targeted the complete cessation of peat extraction, something that it will largely achieve by the end of 2023. In these videos, you can see these unique peat railways at a busy time before their terminal decline.

A unique railway system which you can see now here at 24Trains.tv.

Credits: John Raby


Irish Peat Railways - Part 1
Irish Peat Railways - Part 1
Irish Peat Railways - Part 2
Irish Peat Railways - Part 2