I see there is no Irish route entered in the challenge as yet, so I have decided that I will throw my hat into the ring with a short Irish branch line. As, unfortunately, there are very few such branch-lines left in Ireland, this will have to be situated time-wise in the early part of the 20th century. The branch-line I have decided to attempt is the apporx. 10 mile route from Edenderry, a town in Co. Offaly (but known at the time the route was built as King's county), to the mainline from Dublin to the West and North-west of Ireland. The branch to Edenderry was built by the Midland and Great Western Railway company in the mid 19th century and was finally lifted by CIE in 1963. (The mainline is still there, though it is to-day a single track after Maynooth and is used by trains going to the Northwest). The cost was £20,000 of which £10,000 was provided by a local lady by the name of Mrs. Nesbit. In honour of her generosity, the MGWR graciously named the junction to the branch-line as Nesbit junction! I will say a bit more about the branch in the route description.
In selecting this route, apart from its intrinsic interest, I had practicality in mind. Firstly, it is still possible to trace the route in Google Earth as it is one of the areas where detailed orthographic views are available. Google maps are also used in another very useful programme called Bike Rider Planner, available at http://www.toporoute.com/
. I will use Google Earth to transfer decals to the route using the newly available RWDecals tool. (This will save at least one full evening's work). I will use the Bike Rider Planner to calculate a gradient profile for the route as in the time available, I have been unable to locate an actual gradient plan. You can also use the Bike Rider Planner to make serial markers for Railworks by tracing the route and saving the tracing as a GPX file which can be converted to serial markers with Mike Simpson's RSTools, but as I have already added the OS25inch historical maps as an image overlay to Google Earth, I will use decals to set out the route. The advantage of the historical maps is that they show the exact location of every signal post, signal box and mile post as well as the station buildings and anciliary buildings and you can locate points and crossings at exactly where they were loated. I understand that I can do some of this preliminary work before commencing on the route proper, so I will do this over the next few evenings.
10 miles is a fairly ambitious route to do completely in one week (and I can only work on it a few hours in the evenings) so it is very unlikely that I will be able to fully complete it within the time period allowed. I will, of course, be using only the default assets for the challenge, but I will eventually substitute more of my own assets from the Dublin-Cork route - which continues to be my main RS/RW project.