Council in new effort to secure funding to get Blennerville Steamtrain back up and running
KERRY County Council is making fresh efforts to secure State funding to reopen the long inactive Blennerville Steam Train.
The Steamtrain – and efforts to restore the tourist attraction which has been lying idle for the last decade – was raised at Monday’s monthly meeting of Tralee Municipal District council.
Councillors Norma Foley and Toireasa Ferris both tabled motions on the matter seeking an update on the council’s attempts to reopen the service.
Cllr Foley said the council needs to be more aggressive in seeking funding adding that it was “very unfortunate” that the council was not in a position to advance the matter and reopen the service in time for the 2019m tourist season.
Cllr Ferris – who said the train had the potential to generate “huge money” for the local tourism sector – asked council management to prioritise the matter and aim to have the train operational by 2020.
Tralee MD Director of Service Michael Scannell said that in 2016 Kerry County Council had sought funding to reopen the train from Failte Ireland under the agency’s Large Capital Grants scheme.
This application was unsuccessful but following several meetings with Failte Ireland Representatives and Tourism Minister Brendan Griffin a new application is now being finalised.
Mr Scannell said that Failte Ireland’s preference is for funded developments to be part of “wider overall projects”.
As a result, Mr Scannell said, the new application for funding will see the train, Blennerville Windmill and the Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre bundled together as a potential combined attraction.
It is expected that Kerry County Council will submit its application for funding to reopen the train line when the second phase of the grants scheme opens for applications in the second quarter of 2019.