From the start the rail line was dogged with problems and it was almost always in financial trouble. The working income did not cover running expenses with most of the costs eventually being levied on the ratepayers. In 1917, through the influence of Tom O'Donnell, M.P. for West Kerry, the Company Management Committee was given a grant of £23,000 from the Inland Development Fund. This enabled some essential equipment to be installed and things improved for a period. A combination of high coal prices, increased labour costs and incidents arising from the War of Independence and subsequent Civil War again brought the railway into further decline.

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