Rail Transport and Rock Cutting Essay

Submitted By lilyswifty
Words: 722
Pages: 3

The Rock Cutting:
Visiting the railway site in Carrickmore has been very helpful in aiding my understanding of the functions and features of the Rock Cutting. It was clear from the visit that a lot has changed about the Rock Cutting since it was last in use, as a lot of it is gone or filled in. I could still see the rough shape of the rock cutting – like a v-shaped valley- which helped me to gauge the route the train would have travelled through. Seeing as it was on a mountainous hillside, it suggested that a lot of work would have been put into constructing the Rock Cutting; however it was obvious that it was the perfect solution to allow the train to travel through Carrickmore without encountering a hill. Although we can still see some of the Rock Cutting today, it does not explain how the cutting was constructed. By studying other sources about previous rock cuttings around the same time I hope to fill in the gaps of my knowledge and understanding of the Rock Cutting.
Having watched a BBC TV programme ‘Off the Beaten Track’ the construction methods of the Rock Cutting has become clearer. This programme focused on the railway from Galway to Clifton, but it is safe to assume that the methods were the same as there would not have been much advancement in technology or construction that would have improved their methods. The Rock Cutting for this railway was made as groups of three men ‘bore holes’ for dynamite. One man would hold a ‘stele’ which rotated and the other two men hit it with a sledge, so that they could ‘bore’ holes in the side of the rock for blasting out to make the cutting. Other sources we used; B, an extract from ‘The Railway in Carrickmore’ by Damien Woods, explains the hard work that was put into constructing the line across the upland moors of the Sperrins “is a testimony to the efforts of the hordes of navvies who worked with pick and shovel.” It is obvious that the work was done manually as they would have had no electronics at the time and this source shows us that it was the dedication and the manual labour of the workers which allowed them to manufacture the Rock Cutting which was based on the second highest point on the G.N.R system from Dublin to Derry. When we were at the Rock Cutting we could hear the sound of a stream running and, using source L about the ‘Olive Mount Cutting’, we can presume that the construction was carried out as normal with ‘Steam engines were set to pump out the water...800 men and boys were employed in digging, wheeling and blasting, besides a large number of horses.” This source also backs up the previous point of the extensive manual work carried out…