Trains, Coal and Turf

Transport in Emergency Ireland

By Peter Rigney

The GSR operated all railway lines which lay wholly within Eire, and was the main transport provider during the Emergency. In this book, author Peter Rigney describes how the company coped to keep trains moving, and challenges the view that Emergency rail service was one of unremitting chaos. In fact, the experience of the GSR in these years was similar to railway companies in other neutral countries. The GSR was Ireland's biggest coal importer, one of its largest single employers, and its biggest owner of engineering workshops. It played a key role in the Anglo-Irish trade diplomacy which helped the Allied war effort, kept the Irish economy ticking over, and was the main means of transporting turf to heat homes. The book is based on a wide range of sources such as the British and Irish National Archives, the Archives of the Irish Railway Record Society, national and provincial newspapers, the trade press, and of memoirs written by railwaymen of the period. The book also examines such diverse themes as soap rationing, fuel poverty, and desertion from the British forces. It shows that wartime trade co-operation was much greater than previously thought. The Emergency experience caused Irish railway managers to move towards diesel locomotives earlier than their counterparts in Europe and particularly their counterparts in Britain. Railway and Canal History Society in the UK awarded their overall 2012 Transport History Book of the Year to Trains, Coal and Turf. The book also was joint winner of the society's 2012 Railway Book of the Year.

256 pages

Publication Date: 7/22/2010
Format: Cloth
ISBN: 9780716530091