Marconi Station Railway

Marconi Station Railway History

Marconi Station Railway
Marconi Station Railway

The Marconi Railway was a narrow gauge railway that served the Marconi Station complex.  In 1907, Clifden and Connemara received a second railway called the Marconi Express and Derrigimbla.  The narrow gauge single track railway was of 2 foot gauge.  The line ran for one and half miles, over blanket bog and rock, from the entrance site to the Marconi Wireless Station and journeying along the station buildings.  The line was built down to facilitate the transport of equipment and materials towards the construction site. It was used to transport peat from the bogs and to carry workers, guests visiting the station.  The Marconi railway at Derrigimbla was built from finance of the Great West, Midland Railway Company and Marconi Company.

The railway had 2 turntables in total from the start of the line at the locomotive shed and where the line ended at the Social club and receiving house. There is visible evidence today of the foundations of the 2 turntables which are still in-tacked at the Locomotive shed located at the start of the railway and at the receiving house and social club where the railway terminated. The line was constructed between 1905 and 1907. On the 17th of October the railway carried its first guests and workers to operate the station fully.  In 1919 the railway was used to transport Alcock and Brown from their historic 16 hour transatlantic flight from Newfoundland, Canada after crash landing on the 15th June 1919 from the back of the condenser house.  Alcock and Brown were transported to the receiving house and social club by 2 foot gauge Lancia railcar.  It was at the receiving house at the Marconi Station where Alcock and Brown telegraphed London in where they had just completed the first transatlantic flight.  At various points along the 1.5mile railway, manual hand cranes were placed throughout the Marconi station site such as the loading of peat onto the rail freight carriages supplying fuel to power the Marconi Station. We still have visible evidence today of two of the manual hand crane foundations at the locomotive shed where the railway begins and at the powerhouse which is a further 1 mile along the Marconi railway.

There is no evidence of passing loops along the Marconi Railway as it was all of single track and only one train was used to function throughout the Marconi Station operations from 1907 -1922. The Marconi company railway and locomotive were designed and built by Dick Kerr locomotive engineering of Scotland.  When the Marconi Station was destroyed by fire in 1922 all of the railway line was lifted and possibly scrapped and never used again. The locomotive engine and freight carriages were unusable after the Marconi station was destroyed by fire and thus being sold off by the Marconi Company after 1922.