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“Owencarrow Railway Viaduct” – Remembrance of the 1925 Disaster


Owencarrow River, Creeslough, County Donegal, Ireland



SKU: OWENCARROW VIADUCT-001 Categories: , ,
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Owencarrow River, Creeslough, County Donegal, Ireland

Constructed by the “Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway Company” in 1903 the Owencarrow Railway carried many folk & supplies from Letterkenny to Burtonport whilst stopping off in countless small rural communities in between. For people in those days this train was a Godsend allowing them to safely travel to locations in a fraction of the time it would take on horseback. Unfortunately this was not the case on a terrible stormy night almost a century ago…

On January 25th, 1925 the “L&L.S. Railway” suffered the worst accident in its 100 years existence. The steam train had travelled 400 yards across this viaduct, cautiously slowing down to approximately 10 mph due to the prevailing hurricane winds travelling up this valley at high velocity. All was going as safely planned. The locomotive was only within reaching distance from the safety of the river bank on the opposite side of the viaduct.

The train driver believed he was almost clear when a sudden gust of gale force wind struck this viaduct & locomotive straight on which literally lifted two of the passenger carriages clean off their rails! One of them was turned upside down throwing passengers straight through the wooden roof, plummeting them into the river bed 40ft below. News of the tragedy swiftly spread causing local Priests, Doctors & residents to quickly rush to the scene in aid. Rescue efforts were hampered by the strong freezing winds & heavy rain. Rescuers were rushing about most of the time in total darkness only guided by the screams of trapped survivors because the only lighting available was provided by hurricane lamps & keeping them alight was a major problem due to the terrible weather conditions that night (see historical photo captured at the scene in my comments below)

Sadly this unthinkable disaster ended up taking the lives of four passengers and seriously injuring eight more. Sometimes I can’t help but puzzle over why God would even let something like this happen in the first place? I know I’m in no position to preach or even question his motives as I’m sure there is an overall reason for everything that happens either good or bad. As with every disaster there is an echo of mixed opinions. The families of the 4 souls who were lost will surely feel cheated & will never understand why their loved ones were taken away so unfairly? However, on the other end of the “scales of faith” the 8 survivors & their families will feel that they were spared by a miracle & forever be thankful.

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