17 December-Dublin to Dún Laoghaire Railway

William Dargan, an engineer, from Killeshin near Carlow town, Ireland completed the building of Ireland’s first railway line in 1834. The line, which is 10km long ran from Westland Row station (now Dublin Pearse) in Dublin city to Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire). It was the first suburban and commuter railway line in the world and continues to operate to the present day.

In 1825 the Stockton and Darlington Railway in England had proved successful for the colliery owners and encouraged investment in the railways. In the same year an attempt to build a railway from Dublin to Kingstown failed to get approval. A year later in 1826 a railway line between Waterford and Limerick was authorised. However work on the line did not commence until 1848, by which time trains had been running on the line from Dublin to Kingstown for over a decade.

The company which would build the Dublin to Kingstown railway was founded in 1831. Following the passing of the necessary parliamentary act the contract to build the railway line was awarded to William Dargan. William Dargan was born near Carlow town on February 28th 1799. In his early career he built roads in England and Ireland most notably the road from Dublin to Howth. Following the successful completion of the first railway line in Ireland, Dargan went on to build over 1,300km of Ireland’s railways. He is often referred to as the father of the Irish rail network. He was also responsible for a host of other infrastructure projects around Ireland and he funded the Great Industrial Exhibition in Dublin in 1853.

Construction on the new railway line began on April 11th 1833. Several engineering difficulties and opposition from some landowners along the route had to be overcome. Up to 1,800 people were employed when building was at its peak. It was built within the agreed budget and on time. The first journey was made by horse drawn coach, when one of the lines was complete. The journey was made in July 1834 by directors of the company and their friends.

Though the new service was resented by many, over 300,000 passengers used it in the first six months when it began service in 1834. Trains ran every half hour from 6am until midnight. It was later decided to extend the railway southwards. Isambard Brunel was appointed as consulting engineer for the line to Greystones. The railway line eventually reached Wexford in 1872. The first trial run of a train from Dublin to Kingstown consisted of eight carriages hauled by a steam locomotive. Described as being ‘filled with ladies and gentlemen’ the trial run took place on October 9th 1834.

Ireland’s first railway from Dublin (Dublin Pearse) to Kingstown (Dún Laoghaire) was officially opened in the year 1834 On This Day.

Dun Laoghaire by infomatique on 2009-08-02 14:25:14


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