Stradbally, Co.Laois, is the location of a 1km steam operated railway. Founded by the Irish Steam Preservation Society in 1966, the narrow gauge railway began operated within the grounds of Stradbally Hall and estate in 1967. Originally laid to a gauge of 1ft 10inches, the standard Irish narrow gauge of 3ft was eventually adopted from 1969 onwards, following the purchase of several surplus rolling stock from the peat railways of Bord na Mona. The length of the current railway, known as the Stradbally Woodland Express Railway, was reached in 1982 and largely forms a balloon shaped system with a junction where the line converges with itself. A loop and platform is provided at the railway's main base where a locomotive shed and workshop is located. Much of the line passes through woodland which surrounds Stradbally estate, and is usually in operation during Stradbally's Steam Rally and selected weekends. Within Stradbally village is the Stradbally Steam Museum, which houses other forms of steam traction preserved by the society. See Strabally Steam Railway on Eiretrains Videos.
Built in 1949 for operation on Bord na Mona's 3ft gauge bog railway, loco No.2 (LM44) was preserved at Stradbally after withdrawal in 1953, and now provides the principal motive power at the railway. Loco No.2, complete with its Stadbally Woodland Express headboard, prepares to depart the plaform at Stradbally for a run on the railway. Stabled in the loop on the left is a Ruston manufactured diesel, which also worked for Bord na Mona. Loco No.2 diverges to the south at Stradbally Junction having departed the railway's main base area. The train would return on the line in the foreground. No.2 rounds the curve alongside the R427 road outside Stradbally village while operated one of the first weekend service.
No.2 is seen at the most southernly point of the 1km railway at Stradbally as it prepares to tackle the climb back to base. Loco No.2 stands just short of Stradbally Jct while propelling a service. As the railway forms a balloon loop, the direction of the train is reversed at the end of each run. Loco No.2 propels its train into the forest at Strabally. The train would shortly return on the line in the left foreground. No.2 tackles the climb back up the railway's base at Stradbally while propelling a weekend service. The loco was built in Scotland by Andrew Barclay in 1949, but only had four years of service with Bord na Mona at Clonsast before been displaced by diesel traction on their system.
Loco No.2 arrives back at Stradbally. On the left is a non operational ex Great Northern Railway semaphore signal. The section of track here has evidently been relaid and reballasted. No.2 takes on water at Stradbally having arrived back to base on the 1km railway. To the left of the train is the singe platform where passengers board the services. Loco No.2 is seen preparing to shunt away the passeger rolling stock at Stradbally after a day's operation. The carriage behind the loco is an ex Cavan & Leitrim Railway coach, built in 1887, but subsequently rebodied and shortened in 1973 for operation at Stradbally. Ruston built loco No.4 is seen on a works train on the Stradbally railway. Affectionately known as 'Rusty', it began service with Bord na Mona in 1952.
'Rusty' No.4 is seen near the southern end of the railway, with the R427 road out of view to the left. The loco was withdrawn from Bord na Mona service in 1988, following the closure of Portarlington ESB power station. No.4 stands just short of Stradbally Junction. Trains usually diverge to the right before returning to the junction on the way back to the base. Another view of Ruston built No.4, complete with its prominant build plate, at Stradbally Junction. The points here are hand operated. No.4 is seen stabled in the loop adjacent to the railway's main base at Stradbally. The ballast wagon in front of the loco was originally built for the railway system at the Guinness's Brewry in Dublin, and was put to use at Stradbally in 1966, originally once having the gauge of 1ft 10 inches.
'Nippy' is the oldest locomotive at Stradbally, having been built as early as 1936, and was manufactured in London by F.C Hibberd. It is seen stabled outside the loco shed and usually operates on the works trains. The build plate of 'Nippy', showing the works number No.2014. The loco is a 20hp Planet type diesel, and spent its working life at Mines Safety and Research at Buxton in Derbyshire, UK. Nippy is seen shunting in the loop at Stradbally. The rather rusty looking loco is a 1941 built Hunslet diesel and was originally operated by the British War Department before been shipped to Ireland to work at the Avoca Mines, Co.Wicklow. Nippy hauls the Hunselt loco back to the shed at Stradbally. The year 2011 sees Nippy celebrate its 75th birthday.
Loco No.2 awaits departure from the platform at Stradbally, while Nippy heads off to the loco shed. The loop in the foreground is generally used as  a siding. No.2 retires to the loco shed at Stradbally after a weekend operation. After withdrawal in 1953, the loco was stored at Cushina, Co.Offaly, until it was preserved by the Irish Steam Preservation Society in 1969. The loco originally carried a green Bord na Mona livery. Rusty also retires to the loco shed at Stradbally. The loco occasionally operates the passenger services while loco No.2 is out of action, as it was from 2002 until 2009. Ruston and Hornsby built loco, No.LM167, is a recent acquisition for the Stradbally Steam Railway. Entering service on the Derrygreenagh bog in Co.Offaly in 1956, the loco is now currently under restoration.
Guinness Brewery locomotive No.15 is seen preserved in the steam traction museum in Stradbally village, which is also operated by the Irish Steam Preservation Society. The loco ran at Stradbally until the railway was converted to 3ft gauge in 1969. A steam powered roller is seen within the Steam Museum at Stradbally village, one of several road vehicles to be preserved by the Irish Steam Preservation Society. Another steam power road vehicle, seen within the steam museum at Stradbally village. Stradbally, June 2012, showing the newly relaid loop and turnout points to the future shed to be constructed later on the site. The wagon stabled on the loop is an ex Bord na Mona flat wagon, formerly used to carry plastic sheeting out to the bogs to cover the peat piles while they awaited transportation to the power station.
Ex BnM 0-2-0 loco No.2 pulls away from the platform at the start of a run around the railway during the Stradbally Steam Rally. Surrounded in the woodland, No.2 is glimpsed making its way back to base at Stradbally. A side profile of loco No.2, photographed from within the Stradbally Hall Estate as it propels a working back to base, seen passing the ballast storage area. No.2 propels backwards down the gradient at Stradbally Junction. On the following service, the train will be facing loco first, such as the track layout at Stradbally necessitates.
No.2 rests in the sun at Stradbally. Of the two other locomotives of this BnM class, No.3 operates at the Bushmills Railway, Co.Antrim, while No.1 resides at the Talyllyn Railway in Wales. No.2 retires to the shed after a hard days work during the Stradbally Steam Rally, while diesel loco No.4 'Rusty' prepares to haul a permanent way train around the railway. No.4 'Rusty' heads away from the base at Stradbally in order to 'turn around' on the balloon loop at the railway, while hauling one of the ex Guinness wagons loaded with pallets of bagged coal. Away from the railway during the Stradbally Steam Rally, a local traction engine looks well parked on the lawn at the Stradbally Hall Estate.
Seen at Stradbally still in its navy and cream ESB livery awaiting restoration is recently arrived ex ESB loco No.4. Built in 1950 by Ruston & Hornsby at their Lincoln works, the loco spent its working life at the ESB peat fired power station at Allenwood, Co.Kildare, until the closure of that station in 1994.