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Below is a letter written by William Edgeworth to the Belfast Newsletter - which was published on the 18th March 1828 (page 4). It's in connection with a survey he did on a proposed railway line between Newry and Armagh.
REPORT ON THE PROPOSED RAILWAY -FROM ARMAGH-TO NEWRY.
By W. EDGEWORTH C. E.
As the following report contains information which will be of importance to many of our readers who are resident in the counties of Down and Armagh, we have given it at length. - It is addresed to W. Blacker, Esq.
Sir - Having been honoured with your Instructions to make a survey and report upon a line of railway from Armagh to Newry, I lost no time In exploring the country, and it was soon seen, that from the nature of the hilly ground near Markethill, no railway could be made direct to Newry except at an enormous expense; I have therefore followed the natural inclination of the ground from Armagh, which forced me round by Grange Bog and to Portadown from thence there is water carriage to Belfast, and also by the Canal to Newry. The descent of the railway is in no place laid out at more than one foot In three hundred; from Grange Bog, where it meets the branch from the intended Ulster Canal, the line is, with some cutting reduced to one level for 4.5 miles long; there is a rise of one foot in twelve hundred through Ballywilley Hill to Flush Bridge, and then another level by Vinecash to within a mile of Portadown, then a descent of one in three hundred along this mile to the proposed shipping place at Mr. Hutchinson's distillery.
In England great expense has sometimes been caused, by cutting the line straight through the. Hills, to avoid friction in the turning of their wagons ; but, by a peculiar mode of guiding the carriages, invented and made use of by my father many years ago they can be made to wind round the hills without perceptibly increasing the friction. The rail that I propose to make use of is to be of wrought- iron, nearly similar to those at Darlington. On such a rail-road, wagons, loaded with 6 tons, can be drawn up the ascent of one in 300 - (and on the level parts of the line, 8 or 9 tons can be drawn) by one horse.
There is little doubt, from what Mr. Nimmo states in his valuable report on the Limerick and Waterford railways '” that In the neighbourhood of the great bogs of Ireland, locomotive or stationary engines for land carriage, may be employed as economically. as In the the coal countries of England, and that the expense of traction, by means of them may. be reduced to a lower rate per toni, per mile, than it is possible to do Upon canals.”
On the Darlington railway the drawing by horses is let at half a penny per ton per mile, and by steam at a farthing, and it is supposed., that, it might be let at half a farthing. It appears by the annexed estimate that the expense of this railway for 15 English miles will be £34158.
It might be well to calculate what interest would be likely to be returned to those who should embark such a capital In this undertaking.
Allowing 7000 inhabitants to Amragh and that each required a ton of fuel per annum, 3000 tones of turf form the bog four miles off at 2d per tone per mile, as railway dues would amount to £100
Also 4000 tons of coal, from Portadown, 15 miles, at 2d per ton amount to £500
910 tons of pork are sent yearly from Armagh market to Belfast and froma the number of slaughter houses near Portadown, where 120 pigs are slaughtered in the day , 9000 tons may be drawn for six miles along the railway at 2d per ton, per mile £450
7000 tons of corn, chiefly wheat, are sold in the market of Armagh, allowing for the whole country that this is carried 15 miles £875
The carriage of passengers may be taken as equal in amount, to the contract between Stockton and Darlington viz £200
Timber, Iron, slate, groceries &c. 2000 tons fifteen miles £250
7000 pieces of linen are sold by the week in Armagh, which, with yarn and flax, come to 3000 tons per annum to be carried 15 miles at 2d per mile £375
Total return per annum £2750