01 April-Carlow Railways

Carlow Railway Station, which serves Carlow in the southeast of Ireland, is a station on the Dublin to Waterford intercity route. It is one of just two railway stations still operational in County Carlow. The station which has become increasingly important for commuters has served the people of Carlow for almost 170 years.

Carlow railway station, which was designed by Sir John Benjamin Macneill was originally designed as a terminus. The buildings are constructed of yellow brick and have offices and waiting areas. William Dargan from Killeshin near Carlow town, who built over 1,300km of railway lines in Ireland, was the engineer for the railway line to Carlow. The first train from Dublin arrived at Carlow town railway station on August 4th 1846.

Over the following decades the rail network in County Carlow was gradually expanded. The line to Carlow was extended southwards and a station was opened in Bagnalstown on July 24th 1848. There was an intermediate station at Milford about 6km south of Carlow town. Bagnalstown Station was renamed Bagenalstown Station in 1910. The name was changed to Muine Bheag Station in 1988.

It was decided in 1854 to construct a railway from Bagnalstown to Borris in south County Carlow. Carlow MP, Arthur MacMurrough Kavanagh, was a strong supporter of the project and the station in Borris was opened on December 11th 1858. There was an intermediate station at Ballyellen.

The town of Tullow was now the only urban centre in Carlow without a train service. The town was eventually connected to the rail network when the railway line was extended from Baltinglass to Tullow. Tullow railway station opened on June 1st 1886. There was an intermediate stop at Rathvilly.

By the late 1800’s there were seven railway stations in County Carlow. However, as road transport developed, passenger numbers and goods using the railways began to decline and railway stations were closed down.   The railway station at Tullow was shut down on June 15th 1959 and other stations were subsequently closed. Today there are just two railway stations in County Carlow, Carlow town and Muine Bheag.

Borris railway station in south County Carlow was closed in the year 1963 On This Day.

March 23, 1963 by National Library of Ireland on The Commons on 1963-03-23 16:53:37

Borris Viaduct, Borris, County Carlow by David Bergin Photography on 2015-03-31 16:19:53

4 Replies to “01 April-Carlow Railways”

  1. One weird point about railways in Ireland is that in the 1950s & 60s, they couldn’t wait to get rid of the railways. A perfect example of this is the Harcourt Street to Bray railway. Strikes aside, look what’s on that old route now. If the railway authorities were smarter over the years, many railway lines in Ireland could have been kept open & be relatively stable financially. Alas, lines were closed due to e.g. Silly timetables. There are plenty of examples of this.

    • It is such a pity that so much of the Irish rail network was shut down. You mentioned the Harcourt Street line. It was shut down by Fianna Fáil Minister Todd Andrews on December 31st 1958, who said it only seemed to serve Protestant solicitors in Dundrum!

  2. Hello, It’s very instructive reading your article about the Carlow to Dublin railway line, but one essential ingrediant is missing – a map show the line with its stations…one map is worth a thousand words

    • A very limited perspective by Mr Todd, pity he did not anticipate the future of travel rather than the profession of the voyageurs

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