Cork’s biggest railway line — in a family home

Cork’s biggest railway line — in a family home
Model railway enthusiast Kevin Meany standing next to his spectacular display at his home in Douglas, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

A CORK father of two has built the mother of all model railway stations in his own home following a gruelling nine months of construction.

Model railway enthusiast Kevin Meany and his friend Mark Dunlea standing next to his spectacular display at his home in Douglas, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan
Model railway enthusiast Kevin Meany and his friend Mark Dunlea standing next to his spectacular display at his home in Douglas, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

Kevin Meany, who works in the pharmaceutical industry, enlisted the help of his friends for the project after moving to the Douglas area. The masterpiece, made up of more than 5,000 individual pieces, occupies the entire third floor of the family home.

Some four hundred train components — from locomotives to wagons — houses, a circus tent, and a McDonald’s restaurant make up just a tiny part of the train set.

Believed to be the largest train set of its kind in an Irish residential setting, the models can be controlled by a total of three people at a time. They also boast a number of endearing functions including the release of real steam in locomotives.

The spectacular Model railway owned by Kevin Meany at his home in Douglas, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan
The spectacular Model railway owned by Kevin Meany at his home in Douglas, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

Kevin’s previous set-up in Rochestown was so impressive that his son, Josh’s, former school principal took the class to see it as part of a school tour.

Josh is now 18 but remains just as proud of his father’s creation.

“When Josh’s principal heard about the train set he asked if he could take the kids on a school tour of our house. Dismantling that train set took around three months. It broke my heart to have to take it apart. I think moving all the individual pieces was more difficult than moving house,” said Kevin.

Kevin’s daughter Joelle (16) and wife Suzanne are also hugely supportive of his passion.

“Surprisingly, it’s actually mainly the adults who love it. We get people of all ages wanting to come and see it. Everyone says they’ve never seen a train set like it,” he added.

The spectacular Model railway owned by Kevin Meany at his home in Douglas, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan
The spectacular Model railway owned by Kevin Meany at his home in Douglas, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

New technology means that Kevin can now operate the trains digitally.

“A lot has changed over the years. I can just tap into my phone now to access the controls,” he said.

He stressed that a good train set is never finished.

“You’re always adding to a train set so you can’t ever really say it’s complete. In 10 years time, it will probably still be incomplete.”

Kevin’s love for train sets dates back to his childhood.

“I can remember setting it up on the floor of my parent’s house,” he said. “By the time I was 18, I had one that went right over my bed. I was actually sleeping underneath it.”

Kevin is keen to keep the art alive.

“It’s turning into a dying art. Children don’t get train sets for Christmas anymore. It’s all PlayStations and iPhones now. One thing to remember is that this is a very expensive hobby, as a single engine could set you back as much as €500 or €600. That said, it’s also a hugely rewarding hobby”

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