Noted this in:
Redman R (1972) The Railway Foundry Leeds 1839-1969 EB Wilson – Hudswell Clarke & Co Norwich: Goose & Son
[p.50] Ireland, at one time such a railway enthusiast’s paradise that the Tourist Board estimated that after the Second World War, some 300 visitors per year went over for its railways alone, had for its true connosisseurs – “the narrow gauge aficionados” – the giant Hudswell Clarkes of the Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway.
Mr Redman does not mention his source or whether the tourist board was for NI or Bord Failte. But does this mean that in the late 1940s customs officers were logging railway enthusiasts at the Irish ports:
“Purpose of visit, please, sir?”
“Photographing the West Clare Railway.”
Or did they have some check list for spotting the spotters: tweed jacket, gabardine raincoat, camera, note book, Ian Allan ABC…..