The railway, Donegal’s only working line, first began operation in 1995 after a group of local people came together with a dream.
Their vision was to recreate the days when railcars were a common sight across the North West of the country by linking Fintown with the nearby town of Glenties via an old railcar.
Due to a lack of finance, that dream has yet to become a reality.
But they have managed to renovate up to 5 kms of track as well as building a souvenir shop and play area for children.
It’s a far cry from when there was 212 miles of railway stretching across Donegal from Ballyshannon to Stranorlar and across the border into neighbouring Strabane and Derry.
Chairman of the Fintown Railway, Oliver McDevitt, said it is an undoubted labour of love for people of the gaeltacht village.
“It’s most volunteers and people on Workbridge schemes who do all the work.
“I think the people of Fintown are very proud of the railway. The location is simply stunning.
“We are completely dependent on funding but that funding is matched by the hard work of many local people,” he said.
The railcar used today is an original Railcar 18, which is on long-term lease from the Foyle Valley Railway and which originally operated in the 1940s.
The car contains a Gardiner diesel engine that was guaranteed by its makers to do one million miles.
As well as a breath-taking half hour journey through the spectacular highland scenery, passengers also receive a replicate ticket stub from the first journey that took place in 1885.
Playwright Brian Friel enjoyed his journey on the railway so much that he pronounced “What is on offer is a unique journey along the shores of a lake as grand as any in Switzerland or Minnesota.”
There are still plans to make improvements to the Fintown Railway and its environs.
“We have plans to renovate the old railway station and we also have a steam locomotive in Boness in Edinburgh under renovation.
“We have been forced to put those plans on hold because of the economic situation but we have not given up on them.
“The Fintown Railway is something the people from the area have worked very hard at to build up and we will continue to do that quietly,” added Mr McDevitt.
The official launch of this year’s summer schedule will be carried out by Udaras na Gaeltachta member and county councillor David Alcorn tomorrow (SUN) at 2pm.
For further details see www.antraen.com