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A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CAVAN & LEITRIM RAILWAY

Locomotive No 1 Isabel on the turntable at Belturbet in 1923.

Robert H. Johnstone of  Bawnboy House was the longest serving director of the Cavan and Leitrim Railway, serving on the board  from 1883 until the amalgamation with the G.S.R. in 1925 
This engine, No 1 was named after his daughter, Isabel. The other engines except No 8

(Queen Victoria) were also named after directors' daughters. It is interesting that between 1887 and 1925 Isabel had worked well over half a million miles between Dromod, Arigna and Belturbet!

annual loss of £40,000, increasing road competition, and general acceptance that the C&L section lacked modern handling facilities combined to force CIE's hand. The narrow gauge line's days were deemed to be over, and on 31 March 1959 one long last train panted into Ballinmore station, there to debouch its human load. Soon both tramway and main lines were demolished, and local residents learned to resign themselves to the tender mercies of one-man buses. Lorries, once despised by Cavan & Leitrim men, assumed the handling of all freight and one more epoch in Ireland's narrow gauge railway history was over.
The C&L, it will be observed, acquired only one more locomotive after its initial flush of eight arrived in 1887. The intention was to name the octet after Directors' daughters, and it is said that

only dissension by one Director permitted the inclusion of the reigning monarch. Whatever the truth of the matter, Queen Victoria lost her nameplates under 'patriotic' circumstances in 1923. When the plates were found the company insisted on restoring them. Within a few days they disappeared again, this time for good.
Locos Nos. 5-8 were supplied complete with tramway gear, ie skirting over wheels, cowcatcher, bell, and headlamp at the back end. As an after thought, condensing gear was added, and this raised the contract price to £1,138 per locomotive. Most unusually, duplicate driving controls were provided in each cab. This at least possessed the merit that drivers could keep their eyes on the road at all times. All eight were

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