Some Early Lines – Great Southern Railway, Ireland

Some Early Lines

Great Southern Railway, Ireland

1A ‘J19’ class 0-6-0 of the Great Southern Railway, once a member of the Midland Great Western family and built by Martin Atock around 1885, waits impatiently at Ballinrobe in more modern times – the summer of 1947. (P.B.Whitehouse collection

The Grouping of the railways of the Republic of Ireland came about in two stages. First, in 1924 the major railways with the exception of the Dublin & South Eastern Railway agreed to amalgamate as the Great Southern Railway Company. In 1925 the Dublin & South Eastern Railway had second thoughts and decided to amalgamate with the others to form Great Southern Railways. The Great Northern Railway, which had lines in Northern Ireland as well as the Irish Republic, was left straddling the border. Irish railways were nationalized as Coras Iompair Éiréann on 1 January 1945.  (

2The Cork, Bandon & South Coast Railway owned some fine 4-6-0 tanks, built for them by Beyer Peacock.  Occasionally the odd one strayed in Great Southern days to the Dublin & South Eastern section, but most were used for goods on the Bandon line until it was closed to all traffic in 1961.  This scene is at Drimoleague.  (P.B.Whitehouse collection

3The tracks of the old Waterford, Limerick & Western and the Sligo, Leitrim & Northern Counties Railway converged at Colooney Junction, just outside Sligo.  Here,  SLNC railcar B stands outside the shed whilst 0-6-4 tank Hazlewood backs down to shunt the quay at Sligo.  In the foreground is new CIE Co-Co diesel-electric No. A33 (J.G Dewing

4The Limerick to Galway line met the West Clare Railway at Ennis.  The ‘D17’ class 4-4-0s of the Great Southern were delightful engines – they were really a bogie version of McDonnell’s last 2-4-0 express engines and were designed by Aspinall.  (Lawrence Marshall

5Martin Atock built his ‘G2’ class 2-4-0s between 1893 and 1898 and between them they managed to wander over most of the old Midland Great Western system.  Those engines which lasted into CIE days were still to be found in places like Ballinrobe, Westport or Loughrea in the 1950s; here, very dirty and woebegone, No. 664 stands in Loughrea terminus with the mixed for Athenry, on the Athlone – Galway main line.  (P.Ransome-Wallis


2 responses to “Some Early Lines – Great Southern Railway, Ireland

  1. Martin Baumann

    A33 picture at Sligo could not have been taken in 1958. SLNCR closed 30.09.1957. The Sliver paint on the A class faded very quickly. As A33 entered service 29.03.1956 picture probably dates from mid to Late 1956

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