The Tralee and Dingle Light Railway and Tramway was a 51 km (32 mi), 914 mm (3 ft) gauge narrow gauge railway running between Tralee and Dingle, with a 10 km (6.2 mi) branch from Castlegregory Junction to Castlegregory, in County Kerry on the west coast of Ireland. It operated between 1891 and 1953, the Castlegregory branch closed shortly prior the outbreak of the Second World War. It was the most westerly railway line in Europe.
The railway was built as cheaply as possible, largely following adjacent roads, resulting in some very tight curves and severe gradients. The railway opened on 31 March 1891, but from the start income failed to cover operating expenses. In March 1893 the Board of Trade held an inquiry into poor management and operating practices on the railway; nevertheless a fatal accident (involving a runaway train) took place at Curraduff in May of the same year. The railway continued to require public subsidies from local ratepayers, which were able to be reduced in 1898 after a grant from the Treasury (although the line continued to require subsidies throughout its existence). In 1907 a further grant of £23,000 (just over €2 Million in 2007/8 values) was made to allow the scene of the accident at Curraduff to be bypassed and other improvements made.
The line was 31 miles long, broken into approximately 10 mile sections at Castlegregory Junction and Annascaul, where the locomotives would take water if required, and where trains could pass each other.In 1910, at the peak of the line's usage, there were two return passenger trains, morning and evening, which on market days, Tuesday and Saturday, made a third midday trip. The trains passed one another at Castlegregory Junction, apart from the morning trips which passed at Annascaul. Journey time was 2 hours 30 minutes.
The Castlegregory branch train met every train at the junction for the 6 mile branch. On Saturday afternoons it ran an extra trip through to Tralee and back.On Sundays only the morning trip from Tralee and the afternoon return from Dingle operated, plus two connecting round trips from Castlegregory.By 1922 there were just the morning and afternoon return trips on the main line, which passed at Castlegregory Junction, and two round trips on the branch to connect, Journey times were still the same. Sunday services had ceased.
By 1938 there were still two round trips daily on the main line, still taking the same time, but the times were altered so in the morning a Tralee based train ran out to Dingle and back, while in the afternoon a Tralee based train did the round trip. The Castlegregory branch train ran through to Tralee and back in the morning, as there were no convenient main line trains to connect with, but in the afternoon made a shuttle to the junction as before.Despite the rundown in the line's usage over time, all the timetables required three locomotives to operate the passenger services each day. In addition there were freight services, normally a round trip each day with general freight, plus extra services on market days to move cattle between Tralee and Dingle, which were the last trains to use the line. The cattle trains to the end were of sufficient size to require two locomotives.