Steaming to Kingstown and Sucking up to Dalkey
Publication Date: October 2015
Type: Paperback with flaps
The Dublin and Kingstown Railway (D&KR) which began operations in December 1834 was the first steam locomotive passenger railway in Ireland (only the second in the world) and the first to join a capital city to a main port. This was the new Kingstown Harbour, called the ‘Royal Harbour of Kingstown’ because George IV left from there after his Irish visit of 1821: with independence it reverted to its Irish name of Dún Laoghaire.
The building of the line necessitated overcoming many engineering difficulties and dealing with troublesome landowners who were reluctant to have the railway cross their estates. Its completion and subsequent commercial success owed much to the creativity, business acumen and determination of the members of the original D&KR company, many of them Quakers, engineers like Thomas Bergin and Charles Vignoles and the ‘railway king’, William Dargan, whose workmen constructed the line.
The later atmospheric railway that from 1844 to 1854 ‘sucked up’ to Dalkey by atmospheric power and ran back to Kingstown by gravity was a world first and a marvel in its day, not least for its quietness and cleanliness, although not a commercial success like its sister railway.