Tag Archives: Ireland

Steam Railways in Preservation in the 1980s & 1990s, Irish News, December 1993

Railways in Preservation in the 1980s & 1990s

Irish News, December 1993

800px-GS&WR_No_186_in_PreservationSteam locomotive No.186 in steam at Whitehead, County Antrim, in 2010. 186 was built in 1879 for the Great Southern and Western Railway and is now owned and operated by the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland.
Cc-by new white.svgCc-sa white.svg.  I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the following license:  CC some rights reserved.svg   This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.


Outside_the_Foyle_Valley_Railway_Museum,_Londonderry_-_geograph.org.uk_-_335259Former CDRJC locomotive at the Foyle Valley Railway Museum
Outside the Foyle Valley Railway Museum, Londonderry
Date 1995  Source From geograph.org.uk; transferred by User:oxyman using geograph_org2commons. Author Wilson Adams  Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0

The Phoenix

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era – 1939 3-Cylinder 4-6-0 – Great Southern Railway

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era
1939 3-Cylinder 4-6-0
Great Southern Railway

No.801 as running in 1948.

No.801 as running in 1948.

Three engines built in 1939 for working the heaviest expresses over the main line between Dublin and Cork. They were named after the Queens of Ireland, No.800 ‘Maeve’, 801 ‘Mocha’ and 802 ‘Tailte’, and were destined to be the last new conventional steam locomotives constructed for the GSR or Coras Iompair Eireann, as it later became. They were the most powerful express locomotives ever built for an Irish railway, and their remarkable similarity to the English rebuilt ‘Royal Scots’ will be noted.
Since dieselisation there has been little suitable work for them, and No.802 was broken up in 1957. As a matter of interest the dimensions of the LMS rebuilt ‘Royal Scots’ are shown for comparison.
GSR 800 class – Driving wheels – 6’ 7”, Cylinders (3) – 18½”x 28”, Pressure – 225 lb., Tractive effort – 33000 lb., Weight 84 tons
LMS rebuilt ‘Royal Scots’ – Driving wheels – 6’ 9”, Cylinders (3) – 18”x 28”, Pressure – 250 lb., Tractive effort – 33150 lb., Weight 83 tons

GSRLoco Spellerwebhttp://spellerweb.net



Some Early Lines – Ireland – Arigna, Cavan and Leitrim Railway

Some Early Lines 


Arigna – Branch Terminus from Ballinamore

Arigna railway station opened on 2 May 1888, but finally closed on 1 April 1959. It was part of the narrow gauge Cavan and Leitrim Railway.

Arigna 1Arigna – Branch Terminus from Ballinamore with 2-6-0 locomotive No.3T. The line was opened in May 1888 primarily to meet the needs of the countryside. The settlement was however three miles from the station and the mines were served by an extension to the 1888 branch opened in 1920. The local houses had no running water, and water for baths was made available from the footplate by agreement with the fireman of the locomotive who would fill the necessary tin baths and buckets with hot water.

Arigna 2Turning the locomotive at Arigna was a very exacting task as the locomotive turntable was short for the Tralee and Dingle engines. The locomotive had to be properly balanced on the pivot otherwise the fireman would not be able to move the engine. The driver is pushing from the rear.

Some Early Lines – Six Counties Scenes

Some Early Lines

Six Counties Scenes

Pic 1Fintona Junction was one of those Irish stations at which, because it was a junction and a single-line passing place, everything happened at once between long periods of inactivity. GNR 4-4-0 goods engine No.73 of Class ‘P’ stands in the bay, having shunted its train to await the passing of the two passenger trains of the evening of August Bank Holiday Saturday, 1954.

Pic 2Cookstown Junction lay between Antrim and Ballymena, on the NCC main line from Belfast to Londonderry. The branch from the junction took the form of a loop which joined the main line again at Macfin, close to Coleraine. No.57 ‘Galgorm Castle’ leaves Cookstown Junction with a train for Cookstown via Magherafelt on 20th June, 1938.

Pic 3The Beyer Peacock 4-4-2 tanks were the standard passenger engine used on the Belfast & County Down Railway, and they worked the branch to the end. Unlike many Irish lines, the County Down ran its tank engines bunker first when it suited them; No.13 waits at the terminus at Donaghadee for the right away to Comber and Belfast. This branch was the last section to go, under the 1950 closures.

Pic 4In 1948 the Belfast & County Down Railway fell into the hands of the newly formed Ulster Transport Authority, and by 22nd April, 1950, the whole of the Railway had been shut down, with the exception of the Bangor branch which apparently still prospered. The first section to go was the main line south of Comber in January, 1950, and with it the branch to Ballynahinch, which was sometimes worked by the only remaining tender passenger locomotive 2-4-0 No.6

Some Early Lines (Plus locos) Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway

Some Early Lines (Plus locos)

 Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway

Lough Swilly trains familiar in Inishowen

Lough Swilly trains familiar in Inishowen

The Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway Company (The L&LSR, the Swilly) is an Irish public transport and freight company incorporated in June 1853. Despite its name it operates no railway services. It formerly operated 99 miles of railways but closed its last line in July 1953. Its successor company, the Lough Swilly Bus Company, still operates bus services over much of its former railway routes between Derry and northern County Donegal, as well as some services in County Londonderry

toobanjcn Dr.J.W.F.ScrimgeourThe narrow-gauge Londonderry & Lough Swilly had proper signalling (albeit rather basic), as can be seen here in this view of a goods train leaving Tooban Junction. The box is a brick-based example of the Railway Signal Company’s standard architecture.  (Dr. J.W.F.Scrimgeour


Initially planned as the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway Company when an application for incorporation was filed in 1852 after spurning the construction of a canal network to connect the two inlets, the company opened its first line, a 5 feet 3 inches (1,600 mm) gauge link between Derry and Farland Point on 31 December 1863. A branch line between Tooban Junction and Buncrana was added in 1864 and much of the Farland Point line was closed in 1866.

In 1883 the three foot (914 mm) gauge Letterkenny Railway between Cuttymanhill and Letterkenny was opened and the L&LSR connected with it by reopening the Tooban Junction – Cuttymanhill section of its Farland Point line. The L&LSR worked the Letterkenny Railway and in 1885 it converted its track from 5′ 3″ gauge to three foot gauge to enable through running. In 1887 ownership of the Letterkenny Railway passed to the Irish Board of Works, which continued the agreement by which the L&LSR operated the line.

Carndonagh was reached by an extension completed in 1901 and Burtonport by an one completed in 1903. Both lines were constructed as joint ventures with the UK Government, with ownership and liabilities shared between the two parties. During this period the company did not make a profit, and struggled to meet its debts.

Owencarrow ViaductOld piers of Owencarrow Viaduct

This railway viaduct stood on the Burtonport Extension of the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway, a 3ft gauge line which ran almost 50 miles from Letterkenny, encircling the Donegal Mountains. On 31 January 1925 a severe gale sweeping down through the Barnes Gap caused a serious accident when part of a train was blown off the viaduct, causing the death of four passengers. The line was later repaired, but closed finally in 1941. If this line could ever be reinstated it would be a major tourist attraction for this part of Ireland.  © Copyright Dr Neil Clifton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 Loco Classes

1905  4-8-0 and 4-8-4T

No. 12 at Gweedore in 1937No. 12 at Gweedore in 1937

Both of these classes can be considered together, as one was in effect a tank version of the other.

There were two engines of each class: the 4-8-0s came first, in 1905, Nos. 11 and 12 in the Company’s stock, and the 4-8-4Ts followed in 1912, Nos. 5 and 6. All were built by Hudswell Clarke & Co.

They were noteworthy in several respects. They were the first engines in Ireland to have 8-coupled wheels (and apart from two later 4-8-0 shunting engines on the GS & WR remained the only ones). The 4-8-0s were the only Irish narrow gauge tender engines, and the 4-8-4Ts were the largest and most powerful engines to run on any gauge as narrow as 3’ 0” in these islands:in fact from their massive appearance at close quarters they might well have been taken for standard gauge machines. In one other respect both classes were also unique, in that they were the only examples of a 4-8-0 tender engine or a 4-8-4T ever to run in Great Britain and Ireland. They were built primarily for working over the long 74-mile line from Londonderry to Burtonport, although in later years the 4-8-4Ts were not often seen on this section. No.11 was scrapped in 1933, No.12 remained to the end, but was little used after the closing of the Burtonport extension in the early 1940s. Nos. 5 and 6 were also retained until the complete closure of the remainder of the line in 1953, when they were cut up. The Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway Company still exists (1959) under its own name, but its railway ivities have now ceased entirely and it operates only road services.

4-8-0   Driving wheels – 3’ 9”, Bogie wheels – 2’ 2”, Cylinders (2) 15½”x 22”, Pressure – 170 lb., Tractive effort – 17160 lb., Weight – 37 tons

4-8-4T   Driving wheels – 3’ 9”, Bogie wheels – 2’ 0”, Cylinders (2) 16”x 20”, Pressure – 180 lb., Tractive effort – 17400 lb., Weight – 51 tons

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.  (http://spellerweb.net

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

Some Early Lines Narrow Gauge – West Clare Railway, Ireland

Some Early Lines

Narrow Gauge – West Clare Railway, Ireland

Water Tower Moyasta_stationMoyasta Junction with water tower.  Herbert Ortner. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

  The West Clare Railway (WCR) originally operated in County Clare, Ireland between 1887 and 1961, and has partially re-opened. This 3 ft (914 mm) gauge narrow gauge railway ran from the county town of Ennis, via numerous stopping-points along the West Clare coast to two termini, at Kilrush and Kilkee (the routes diverging at Moyasta Junction). The system was the last operating narrow gauge passenger system in Ireland and connected with the mainline rail system at Ennis, where a station still stands today for bus and train services to Limerick and Galway. Intermediate stops included Ennistymon, Lahinch and Miltown Malbay. A preservation society maintains a railway museum, and has successfully re-opened a section of the railway as a passenger-carrying heritage line.


The Famine was over and there was a new growth in local businesses. The British Government determined that an improved railway system was necessary to aid in the recovery of the West of Ireland. The West Clare Railway and the South Clare Railway were built by separate companies, but in practice the West Clare Railway operated the entire line. The lines met at Miltown Malbay. In due course the entire line became known as the West Clare Railway.

The Slieve Callan, West Clare Railway, County Clare flickrThe Slieve Callan, West Clare Railway, County Clare –  flickr

West Clare Railway

The 43.4 km (27.0 mi) West Clare Railway between Ennis and Miltown Malbay was built a few years’ earlier than the South Clare Railway. The first sod was cut on 26 January 1885 at Miltown Malbay by Charles Stewart Parnell, M.P., although actual work on the line had begun in November 1884. The line was opened on 2 July 1887.

South Clare Railway

The South Clare Railway built the extension from Miltown Malbay to Kilrush, Cappagh Pier (Kilrush Pier) and Kilrush docks with a branch to Kilkee from Moyasta, with work starting on the extension in October 1890 and opening on 11 May 1892. The extension was worked by the West Clare Railway and was initially dogged by poor service and time keeping, but this later improved.

Amalgamation and nationalisation

In 1925 the company was merged into the Great Southern Railways. In 1945 the GSR was taken over by Córas Iompair Éireann. In the same year, a survey of local businesses was conducted with a view to the possible replacement of the railway by road services. Local campaigners urged that the railway be converted to the standard Irish gauge of 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm), but CIÉ rejected this on cost grounds.


Despite the dieselisation of passenger services in 1952 and freight in 1953 the system was still closed. On 27 September 1960, CIÉ gave notice of its intending closure with effect from 1 February 1961. CIÉ said that the West Clare was losing £23,000 (€1.2M 2006 equivalent) per year, despite the considerable traffic handled. In December it was announced that the line would close completely on 1 January 1961. Eventually the line closed on 31 January 1961 with CIÉ starting work on dismantling the line the day after closure on 1 February 1961.

By the time of its closure the West Clare Railway was the last narrow gauge railway in Ireland offering a passenger service; various lines operated by Bord na Móna continue to operate in connection with the peat industry.

Preservation and re-opening

800px-WCR_Slieve_Callan_at_MoyastaSlieve Callan a few weeks after return to West Clare tracks.  Herbert Ortner. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license

Starting in the mid 1990s, efforts were made by a preservation society to recreate part of the original route. This group succeeded in acquiring Moyasta station, and 5 km (3.1 mi) of track bed. Passenger services were resumed using two new steel coaches with bench seating, parallel to the direction of travel, built by Alan Keef Engineering and outfitted locally in wood by WCR engineers. A small but powerful diesel locomotive built for Channel Tunnel construction work hauled the trains.

On 5 July 2009 the West Clare Railway’s original steam locomotive No 5 Slieve Callan was returned to the West Clare Railway at Moyasta Junction following restoration in England by Alan Keef Engineering Ltd of Ross-on-Wye. This engine had previously been a static exhibit at the mainline railway station in Ennis. The locomotive was steamed for the first time on 14 July marking the return of steam to the West Clare railway after an absence of over 57 years.

The railway has since acquired a number of redundant diesel locomotives, mostly from the Irish Bord na Móna; these are being gradually restored and returned to service.

Rolling stock today

In addition to the steam locomotive Slieve Callan, the railway owns twelve diesel engines, of which two are currently in service, the others awaiting restoration. Those in service are a 4-wheel Channel Tunnel shunting engine and a four-wheel former Bord na Móna shunter. Awaiting restoration are a further nine such Bord na Móna shunters, plus a six-wheel mine shunting engine dating from around 1948.

Moyasta Stn 2 CarsN67 – West Clare Railway Moyasta Junction Rail Station – Two Railway Cars.  View is to the northwest from N67 railway crossing between Kilrush & Kilkee.  © Copyright Sue Mischyshyn and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 Two passenger coaches are in service, and assorted maintenance vehicles including a tank wagon, four flat trucks, and four tipper wagons.

Narrow Gauge Lines – The Causeway Tramway – Ireland

Narrow Gauge Lines

The Causeway Tramway – Ireland

Bushmills StationBushmills and Giant’s Causeway Railway at Bushmills station, Co. Antrim

This 3ft gauge line is built over part of the trackbed of the former Portrush and Giant’s Causeway Tramway, a pioneering electric line similar in many respects to the still-existing Manx Electric Railway. The P&GCT was at least 100 years ahead of its time, as it planned to generate its electricity by tidal power, so having zero carbon footprint. This line survived until around 1951. It is a pity that the B&GCR was not built as an electric line to reflect this history. The steam locomotive shown here is No 3 ‘Shane’, previously at the Shane’s Castle Railway in Antrim City.  © Copyright Dr Neil Clifton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Station Building

 The  Causeway Tramway was re-opened in Spring  2002, The locomotives and rolling stock which operate on the track  were once used at Shane’s Castle and include  a Peckett 0-4-0 WT ‘Tyrone’ built in 1904 for the British Aluminium Company, Larne, a Barclay 0-4-0WT ‘Shane’ built in 1949 for Bord na Mona (incidentally the same year that the old tramway closed) and a Simplex ‘T’ class diesel locomotive (Rory). An interesting fact –  ‘Shane’ was one of three locomotives built by Andrew Barclay of Kilmarnock for use on the peat bog rail by Bord na Mona at Clonast and was specifically  designed to burn peat.

Station Sheds

Prior to the initiation of the original Giants Causeway Tramway in 1883, there had been several meetings, engineer surveys and costing done to evaluate the feasibility of constructing a railway line along the coast  from Portrush to Ballycastle, the idea being to  link the commercial coal, bauxite, iron, limestone, liganite  and basalt industries along the north coast with the commercial harbour of Portrush. The ambitious  proposal was shelved due to a lack of finance and doubts about the returns from such an investment. A narrow gauge railway was eventually built from Ballycastle to Ballymoney via Armoy and Dervock.


The Giants Causeway tramway  was brought into being by the vision and enthusiasm of  Col. William Traill of Ballyclough who himself was a keen advocator of the railway and kept well informed on technological development in engineering. It was this fact coupled with the Siemens Company showing the first electric railway system at the Berlin Trade Fair in 1879, that lead to that company being commissioned to incorporate their technology into the Giants Causeway Tramway system.  Col.Traill built the generating station at the Walkmill Falls (still there but minus the equipment) and installed water turbines to produce the necessary electrical power for the tram line.

Sir Macnaghten  of Dundarave was very opposed to the construction of the railway to the point that he diverted water from the river Bush above the Falls in an attempt to lessen the flow. However, the tramway opened in 1883 and was hailed as the world’s first commercially run ‘hydro-electric’ powered tram system. The initial electric cars were Midland Carriage and Wagons which were later followed by GEC and a Peckham car. Although hydro-electric power was used, most of the time two Wilkinson steam locomotives hauled the carriages. It originally ran from Portrush to Bushmills with a later extension added to the Giants  Causeway. In 1899 the live rail which ran alongside the track, was replaced by an overhead electric wire, steam haulage ended in 1916. The tramway ran for 65 years before finally closing down in 1949.

Giant's Causeway StationNo.3 Shane, arriving at the Giant’s Causeway Station from Bushmills

 This two mile stretch of 3ft gauge railway runs from Bushmills to the Giants Causeway and was opened in 2002. It utilises the old track bed of the Portrush to Giants Causeway electric tramway which closed in 1949. Most of the current track and rolling stock was used on the Shanes Castle Railway which closed in 1995.  © Copyright Wilson Adams and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.


Grand Canal, Dublin

Grand Canal, Dublin

800px-Grand_Canal_Dublin_2006_Kaihsu_TaiGrand Canal, Dublin

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Kaihsu Tai

 The Grand Canal (Irish: An Chanáil Mhór) is the southernmost of a pair of canals that connect Dublin, in the east of Ireland, with the River Shannon in the west, via Tullamore and a number of other villages and towns, the two canals nearly encircling Dublin’s inner city. Its sister canal on the Northside of Dublin is the Royal Canal. The last working cargo barge passed through the Grand Canal in 1960.

DublinGrand Canal, Dublin

The Grand Canal was opened in 1756 to link the Liffey at Dublin with the Shannon. It effectively closed in 1960, the last commercial trip being a barge load of Guinness, but since 1986 there have been various improvements and repairs. Grand Parade on the left, moorings for the city centre on the right.   © Copyright John Gibson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.


The idea of connecting Dublin to the Shannon was proposed as early as 1715,[2] and in 1757 the Irish Parliament granted Thomas Omer £20,000 to start construction of a canal. By 1759 he reported that 3 km (1.9 mi) in the Bog of Allen and 13 km (8.1 mi) of canal from the River Liffey near Sallins towards Dublin were complete. By 1763 he had completed 3 locks and 6 bridges towards Dublin and was concentrating on establishing a water supply from the River Morrell near Sallins. At this point the Corporation of Dublin realised that the canal could be used to improve the water supply to the city, and put up the money to complete the canal into the city. But when the canal was filled, the banks gave way and the city didn’t obtain its water. By 1768, £77,000 had been spent on the project and little more was forthcoming.

800px-View_from_Luas_bridgeView from Luas Bridge

Peter Clarke at en.wikipedia, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publishes it under the following licenses:   This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.


The Grand Canal nowadays begins at the River Liffey in Grand Canal Dock and continues through to the River Shannon with various branches, including a link to the River Barrow waterway at Athy.

From Grand Canal Dock it passes through Ringsend and then traverses the southside, delineating the northern extremities of Ballsbridge, Ranelagh, Rathmines, Harolds Cross and Crumlin. This section is the Circular Line and has seven locks. At Inchicore can be seen the path of the original main line to the Grand Canal Harbour, the City Basin (reservoir) and Guinness brewery. Most of the route of this line now runs along side the Red Luas Line.

InchicoreGrand Canal near Tyrconnell Road, Inchicore/Inse Chór

Inchicore used to be a village but today it has become a suburb of Dublin. The Grand Canal travels through Inchicore and here it passes The Black Horse Inn, on the left, and the LUAS Red Line Black Horse/An Capall Dubh tram stop, on the right.  © Copyright P L Chadwick and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 From Suir Road Bridge, the lock numbering starts again at 1 as the canal heads west through the suburbs of Dublin West and into Kildare. At Sallins the Naas/Corbally branch diverts southwards while the Grand Canal continues west passing Caragh, Prosperous and Robertstown, its highest point. Just outside Sallins, the Grand Canal passes over the River Liffey at the Leinster Aqueduct. Just east of Robertstown is the location where the Blackwood Feeder used to join the canal, whilst just to the west can be found the busiest junction on the canal where the Old Barrow Line, Milltown Feeder and the entrances to the Athy & Barrow Navigation. Further west, the canal passes Edenderry, Tullamore and Rahan before it reaches the Shannon at Shannon Harbour in County Offaly. In total the main line of the canal is 131 kilometres (81 mi) with 43 locks, five of which are double locks.

800px-Leinster_AqueductLeinster Aqueduct over the River Liffey

Chris55 at en.wikipedia, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publishes it under the following license:  This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.


In December 1792, there was a major accident on the Grand Canal. A passage boat left Dublin bound for Athy. It seems that one hundred and fifty people, many of them drunk, forced their way onto a barge, in spite of the captain warning them that the boat would capsize if they did not leave. Near the eighth lock, five men, four women and two children drowned when the boat capsized. The rest of the passengers escaped.

On the evening of Saturday, 6 April 1861 in Portobello Harbour, a horse-drawn bus, driven by Patrick Hardy, had just dropped a passenger on the canal when one of the horses started to rear. The horses backed the bus through the wooden rails of the bridge. The bus, horses and six passengers inside the bus, plunged into the cold waters and were drowned. The conductor was able to jump clear and the driver was pulled from the water by a passing policeman.

Winter on the Grand Canal, Dublin

Seen here on Canal Road between Charlemont and Rathmines Road.

© Copyright Dean Molyneaux and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Some Early Lines – Inchicore Railway Works

Some Early Lines

Inchicore Railway Works

Inchicore Book

Last year the Museum had a visitor from Dublin, a relative of a friend in the Cannock area.  Unfortunately, it was not a running day but I showed him round and we took a walk along the canal beneath the dam.  I told him that we were going to set up a reference library sometime in the future (any specialised railway books would be welcome) and when he got home he donated a copy of this book on the Inchicore Railway Works to the Museum.  Thank you Andrew.


Located five kilometres due west of the city centre, Inchicore lies south of the River Liffey, west of Kilmainham, north of Drimnagh and east of Ballyfermot. The majority of Inchicore is in the Dublin 8 postal district. Portions of Inchicore extend into the Dublin 10 and Dublin 12 postal districts.

The townlands of Inchicore North and Inchicore South are located in the civil parish of St. James, Dublin, in the Barony of Uppercross.

Inchicore Railway Works is the headquarters for mechanical engineering and rolling stock maintenance for Iarnród Éireann. Established in 1844 by the Great Southern & Western Railway, it is the largest engineering complex of its kind in Ireland with a site area of 295,000 m² (73 acres). CIÉ also builds bus coaches for its fleets at the Spa Road coach works.

The Inchicore Railway Works were established in 1846 by the Great Southern and Western Railway (GS&WR) as its main engineering works, the first payroll is dated the 24th of April 1846 and amounted to £83. 12s. 9d. At that time there were 39 men employed, but at its peak there were over 2000.

461 Inchicore open day 68461 at an Inchicore open day in 1968. CIÉ staff have painted her up as DSER 15, in black with red lining. In DSER days she did not have the distinctive Inchicore style smokebox – and the white-wall tyres are a very un-Irish feature apparently added in a fit of creative passion. In the background is GNR(I) No.131. (CP Friel)  steamtrainsireland.com

 The original running shed was built throughout of limestone and was designed by Sancton Wood who also designed Heuston Station. With its castellated walls and tower and gothic appearance it was architecturally a very picturesque building.

The “Works” are located 3km west of Heuston Station and covers a site of approximately 73 acres. It’s still the main engineering works for Iarnrod Eireann, maintaining the large fleet of diesel locomotives and rolling stock.

This video from youtube shows the Inchicore Open Day of 1958.  Health and Safety were rather different in those days!!