In the early 1950s, on alighting from the Dublin to Sligo train at Dromod after a journey of 21/2 hours, a traveller might pause to listen to the exhaust beat of a departing class D5 4-4-0, as the soot and briquette dust rained down. A few footsteps from the stone structure that was, and still is, the former Midland Great Western station, was the red brick gateway to a railway of unusual character - the Cavan and Leitrim section of Coras Iompair Eireann (CIE). Ahead lay one of the least prosperous areas of the Irish Midlands. The complex and distinctive landscape was characterized by low, elongated hills or drumlins, as they are known in this part of the world. Such a terrain could most economically be penetrated by a narrow gauge line and the mixed train pursued a tortuous path. The solitary passenger coach, with open platforms at each end, offered a spartan travel experience but the atmosphere on board always conjured up images of travel in some far fl ung corner of the world. So come and join us as we follow the 'Smoke Amidst the Drumlins'.
Although English by birth Tony Burges has Irish family connections; his grandfather was from Tralee. He was very active as photographer of UK & Irish branch line railways in the period 1951 - 1959. He studied transportation at graduate school at Northwestern University, Chicago and photographed railways extensively in the United States. He later worked for the Canadian government as Transport Policy Advisor, Dept of Finance and Director General, Grain Transportation and Handling. He is now semi-retired and devoting time to writing railway books.