FRY MODEL RAILWAY
Most of you will not be aware that the Fry Model Railway, owned by Dublin Tourism and housed in a purpose built building in Malahide Castle grounds has been given notice by Fingal County Council, the owners of the premises.
The reason for the eviction is not clear.
Again, many of you will have visited the Fry Model Railway at some time, and would be aware of the significance of this working layout, and associated static displays. It is the only working layout on the island to represent the history of our railways over the past 170 years or so, with the main line representing Belfast – Dublin – Cork, and including the narrow gauge and such delights as the mail boat sailing from Dun Laoghaire, and the Guinness barges on the River Liffey.
The layout, as far as we can ascertain, is to be put into storage, following its dismantling. The deadline for this is the end of February. No further details are available, and the future of both public and enthusiast viewing is uncertain.
An alternative location should be found, if possible, and we are appealing to ALL of you to come up with suggestions, north, south, east or west, in order that this magnificent collection should be kept available for public viewing. One suggestion is that it be re-erected in the grounds of Collins Barracks Museum in Dublin, which would have the advantage that it would be on a Luas route, close to Heuston/Kingsbridge station and on numerous bus lines. This is an area which should be explored further. It must be remembered though, that the layout is effectively a living organism, and requires maintenance on a regular basis, and the possibility of a continuous upgrading, as it has had over the last 20 years or so. Money will be required on an ongoing basis to maintain it; hence, it cannot be free entrance, wherever it may end up.
Timing is somewhat fortuitous, as the politicians in the South will now be more amenable to pressure, with an upcoming election, so I appeal to all of you to exercise whatever influence you have to ensure that the Fry Model Railway has a future in the public eye.
There will be one more opportunity to see the layout in action before its demise in its current form, and when we find out when that is to be we will notify the community of modellers and railfans on the Island. We would be keen to see a large turnout for that event to ensure that the authorities see that there is a huge interest in this collection.
There is also a requirement for a more formal support group for the Fry Model Railway, and a Friends of the Fry Model Railway is now in the process of formation. You are invited to give it your support.
I also appeal to you to ensure the widest possible circulation of this e-mail by whatever means possible among the model and prototype railway community.
Chairman Model Railway Society of Ireland
Interim Convenor, Friends of the Fry Model Railway