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Communities on board for train project

June 19th, 2019 7:10 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

At the Ballineen and Enniskeane Tidy Towns unveiling of a high precision, historically accurate replica model train were Susan Grainger, Deirdre and Lauryn Collins. (Photo: Denis Boyle)

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A REPLICA model train, complete with an engine and two carriages carrying its own freight has taken pride of place at the entrance to Ballineen Enniskeane Community Centre (BEDA).

The train – which is made of metal and 25 feet in length and made by local company Stroker Fabrications – was built to commemorate the historic importance of the West Cork railway, which closed on March 31st 1961.

On his first official duty as county mayor, Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan officially unveiled the permanent structure at a special ceremony last Saturday.

Dr  Margaret O’ Donovan chairperson of Ballineen & Enniskeane Tidy Towns Association – who spearheaded the project – said the reaction to the replica train has been amazing so far.

‘We have it strategically placed across the road from where the original station in Ballineen was. It’s a quarter size of the original trains that operated on the West Cork railway line,’ said Dr O’Donovan.

‘We wanted to make sure it was historically accurate and we ensured that the train was made of metal and consulted Stephen Stroker, whose grand-uncle incidentally was one of the train drivers back then. The whole project took about 15 months and we had to get planning permission too as it’s a permanent structure.’

The installation of the replica train in their twin village is just one of many community  projects that the group have been involved in. They recently unveiled a colourful mural at the gable end of the post office in Enniskeane and have plans to develop a heritage trail over the next 12 months.

‘We gratefully acknowledge the sponsorship provided by Cork County Council and local businesses who made our vision possible and it was indeed a highlight to have our newly elected County Mayor unveil this spectacular train,’ added Dr O’Donovan.

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