Dundalk Railway Station

Postby GrahamH » Thu Feb 13, 2003 12:42 pm

On the subject of railways Paul, and having the extreme privilige of using Ireland's finest train station on a daily basis, Dundalk Station, just a point.

On this site, its stated that the station was built in the 1850s, and this ties in with the development of the GNR, as it does with the blown (rather than plate) glass windows in the station and also an old keystone lieing on the platform that came from somewhere, with 1848 carved into it.
However, a newspaper artical in it's museum, dating from 1890, describes 'the new station just opened', and goes on about the new ticket office, the footbridge, the waiting rooms etc, and the positioning of the station, 1/4 mile away from the old station.

Considering the cast iron columns are identical to those of the DART platform at Connolly, dating from the 1890s, I'm very confused...
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Thu Feb 13, 2003 1:03 pm

Hmmmm there used to be another station in Dundalk as well so that could be the new station... as any books I have clearly say 1850 which ties in with the styles of the other stations on the line...

Drogheda
Malahide

etc


I imagine they copied the original columns when building the extra platforms outside Connolly.
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Postby Rory W » Thu Feb 13, 2003 1:29 pm

Speaking of Dundalk station, does anyone know if there was a spur from Dundalk down the Cooley penninsular as I was up that direction and saw what seems to have been evidence of a rail line which is very mutch disused - cant find any info on the web - any ideas anyone?
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Thu Feb 13, 2003 1:59 pm

i think this is the line that used to run alongside the carpark of the old shopping centre in Dundalk...

Dundalk, Newry and Greenore Railway

The project was originally conceived of in the 1860's by the Dundalk and Enniskillen as a link between it and the LNWR (from whence the change of name of the DER to the INWR), via a sea route from Greenore to Holyhead. LNWR support was obtained and a nominally independent company was set up in 1863. Little progress was made due to a lack of funding and the collapse of the constituent company involved in the Newry-Greenore section in 1867. Subsequently the LNWR provided new capital and its control increased. In 1868 the LNWR Secretary assumed a similar role in the DNGR and its Head Office moved to Euston. Construction proceeded and a public service began on 1/5/1873. The company owned an hotel at Greenore, managements of which was taken over by the GNRI in 1932. Partition in 1922 adversely affected a company running 26 miles of railway in two jurisdictions. On 1/11/1932 the GNR and LMS assumed joint working of the DNGR. At Dundalk, Quay St. became a halt and most traffic was transferred to Barrack St., while at Newry, Bridge St. also became a halt and certain traffic was moved to Edward St.. On 1/7/1933 even closer working of the entire DNGR, including the hotel at Greenore, was taken on by the GNR. This led to the transfer of a considerable part of the DNGR stock to the NCC. During the war three of the surviving 5 locos were lent to the NCC. The last public service was on 31/12/1951, but a short stretch of line in Dundalk, connecting the GNR at Windmill Road Junction with Georges Quay, continued to be worked by the GNR. Final rolling stock comprised 5 saddle tank locos (only No.2 Greenore was in service to the end), a petrol railcar and 10 passenger carriages. It was considered preserving loco No.1 Macrory but only a 6 wheel composite coach was finally saved and is now in the UTFM. All loco nameplates were preserved. Despite the closure of the railway, the company continued to exist for more than five years.
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Thu Feb 13, 2003 2:02 pm

The Dundalk, Newry & Greenore Railway was built by the English LNWR to join
the port of Greenore with the main Dublin - Belfast line and so promote
ferry traffic 'twixt England & Ireland. The first part of the 26 mile (42 K)
line was opened in 1873 and was built on a grand scale, standard (5' 3")
gauge and twin track. In Dundalk the line crossed the main Dublin - Belfast
line at the (in)famous Square crossing where there was a fatal accident soon
after opening. In 1876 the line was completed as far as Newry.

With the partition of Ireland in 1921 the DN & GR found itself straddling
the border, further increasing it's difficulties. All would be partners had
pulled out of the venture and the LNWR had not only to finance the entire
line but also the cross channel ferries! This substantial investment was not
repaid as traffic never came up to expectations. The LMS (successors to the
LNWR) at last managed to rid themselves of the line in 1933 to the GNR(I)
and it eventually closed in 1952.

The line runs around the periphery of the Cooley penninsula which is the
start of a truly beautiful and rugged region. Cooley is named for the
legendary Celtic warrior Cu Chullain (pronounced coo-hullan) of whom more
anon. From Dundalk (south) to Greenore the line runs along Dundalk bay
through some pretty but not spectacular country.

From Greenore the line runs a short distance to Carlingford
From Carlingford the line ran beside the sea and here we must tarry again.
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Postby ewanduffy » Thu Feb 13, 2003 2:02 pm

The original Dundalk station, opened in 1849 (concurrent with the line from Drogheda (Newfoundwell) and that to Castleblayney. This station was located at the Square crossing in Dundalk, about ¼ mile south of the present station, which opened in 1893.
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Thu Feb 13, 2003 2:16 pm

Hmmm must write to a few book publishers so and that also would mean it wasnt McNeill who designed Clarke Station.........

The square crossing is where the line to Greenore crossed the Dublin line afaik, so the old station was down near the old railway works so.
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Postby GrahamH » Thu Feb 13, 2003 10:59 pm

Noooo!!!! I was always facinated by the fact that Dundalk had such an early Victorian structure, now my perspective on the station has changed completly!! Now that you mention the old station, about a 1/4 oof a mile outside the current is a long brick, and much overgrown platform, close to the impressive, but sadly neglected GNR engineering works.

Still, the present station it is still spectacular, and, surprisingly for Ireland, is genuinly appriciated by it's long suffering commuters/users. It has the best facilities in the country as well, beautiful & immaculatly kept toilets, large cafe, and a snazzy ticket office. All original windows are intact and restored (interestinly, the old first class waiting room has plate glass windows, while all others are comprised of cheaper multi-pane, wavy blown glass). The brickwork is beautiful, the cast iron canopy spectacular (no corrugated plastic here), and interestingly, one of the first examples of the use of concrete in the country in the form of the platforms surfaces, which are still intact.

They certainly planned ahead with this station considering it's scale, and is a joy to use, over a century later.
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Postby GrahamH » Thu Feb 13, 2003 11:01 pm

Which is more than can be said for the trains...
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Postby ewanduffy » Mon Feb 17, 2003 3:11 pm

Sorry to destroy the image! Just to confirm, I ccnsulted the standard reference works over the weekend and the original station was built to serve both the line from Drogheda and that to Castleblayney (the latter a curve to the west of the present Dublin - Belfast line). Opened in 1849, it was closed in 1893 and replaced by the present station which is one of the few examples of Irish Rail takings its built heritage seriously.
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Postby Rory W » Tue Feb 18, 2003 9:59 am

Thanks for the info on the Greenore Railway Paul - it all makes sense now
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Postby David Chambers » Wed Oct 29, 2003 9:19 pm

It is interesting that this contributor mentions the cast iron columns at Dundalk (Clark) station. These columns are Manisty columns, produced by Manisty's Foundry in Dundalk. These columns, together with brackets of the same style were a standard element of GNR(I) station architecture. It is well noted that these columns are the same as on platform 5 in Dublin Connolly (and in Howth). There was also a canopy with these columns on platforms 6 and 7 until CIÉ decided to erect a hideous canopy with "A" frame shaped members around 1983. In photographs of GNR(I) stations these columns are a consistent feature of same. Omagh, Banbridge, Clones and Goraghwood to name a few had these columns, interestingly set out on a regular grid pattern. On the platform of Dundalk station is the preserved Dundalk Central signal cabin (minus its brick base -why?) with its lever frame. A plate on one of the levers
reads "...Manisty's siding".

One feature of Dundalk Clark which fascinates me is the polychrome brick. This station was one of the many buildings designed for the Great Northern Railway (Ireland) by its chief civil engineer/architect, William Hamiliton Mills.
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Postby GrahamH » Thu Oct 30, 2003 12:32 pm

As far as I'm aware the signal cabin was originally located somewhere else, it was lifted to this position by a massive crane a few years ago - it has a brick base at the moment - but its somewhat twee, built of reclaimed bricks and not laid in a Victorian manner.

I never knew the DART platforms 6 & 7 had an original canopy - I can't belive this was removed - please say you're mistaken David!

I always thought this was a modern platform, and that a mirrior image of the original should have been built for the DART to reinforce the 'Victorianness' of the station - and now you say there was one there originally!
What a terrible shame this was lost.

A facinating feature of the cast-iron columns is the integration of water-downpipes into them, every second column is connected to the guttering of the canopy (this really shows how much time I'm waiting on bloody trains)
This feature is also in Dundalk.
I'm concerned that when the original canopy platform at Connolly is raised to standard level, it will consume the bases of the columns, the tracks cannot be excavated as is typical because the 6&7 platform across from it was built to standard level in 83.

The Dundalk brickwork is fantastic, its like a big jigsaw puzzle with its moulded corner bricks and overdoor shapes. And the bricks are designed to fit exactly over the moulded granite window sills. And the many chimnneys crown everything off beautifully.

Its interesting that the Victorians were never too fond of their own architecture - countless comments from the period ridicule and criticise new public buildings. The previously mentioned newspaper piece from 1893 in the museum of the station also gets in a few digs at its design, deeming the brickwork to be somewhat vulgar - although concedes that on a sunny day and with all of the paint still fresh the station is 'almost pretty'!

It praises the new toilets - a novelty indeed for their time - as being 'fitted out in particularly fine style'. Even today they are elegant with original cut granite parapets on the walls of the cubicles.
Its a pity the first class waiting room's interior was lost - very 50s now, something of a period piece itself.
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Postby David Chambers » Fri Oct 31, 2003 4:56 pm

Regarding the canopy with Manisty columns on platforms 6 and 7 in Dublin Connolly, there are some photos in railway books. Check out books by the author Michael H. C. Baker. In shots of Connolly Station, the original canopy can be seen. The fact that it co-existed with diesel trains proves that it was removed in 1983. Belturbet Station in Co. Cavan (http://www.belturbet-station.com) has Manisty brackets in the same style as the columns. These can be seen supporting the canopy at the entrance to the station building. Also of interest is Laytown station which has a footbridge of this style and most likely produced by Manisty. Manisty's Foundry also produced footbridges for other companies. In Banteer there is a footbridge similar in style to the Hornby model railway footbridge. Banteer was on the GS&WR system.

If you look at the base of the Manisty columns in Dundalk Clark station the name "Manisty" is visible.

In June Iarnród Éireann lodged a planning application to remove five bays from the canopy on platform 5 in Connolly and re-erect same on the southbound platform in Dún Laoghaire. This is part of the DASH uprading work. The application may be viewed at the Dublin City Council office in Wood Quay. It has a report from building conservationists.

I hope the above is of interest.
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Postby GrahamH » Fri Oct 31, 2003 8:41 pm

What! Essentially they're relocating part of it?
The whole charm of this platform is its expanse - the length of the structure sweeping into the distance - cutting 5 bays of it will reduce it to nothing at Connolly - whatever about Dun Laoghaire benifitting.

E Manisty presumably also built the bridge at Rush & Lusk as well then - its exactly the same - it was used in a period scene in Michael Collins.
Laytown suffered a nasty fire over the summer hopefully it will be restored. It has no roof now - just scorched chimney stacks exposed to the elements.
Thanks for info about 6 & 7.

All of the 80s green paint must be removed off platform 5's brickwork, this was a particularly nasty cheap and cheerful solution for dirty buildings in the 20th century.
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Postby David Chambers » Mon Nov 03, 2003 2:36 pm

Having viewed the proposed alteration to platform 5 at Dublin Connolly, it is possible to made a statement or objection to this development. A fee of €20 must be paid with this to the planning authority.

As a matter of interest do you know much about GNR(I) architecture, such as W. H. Mills' polychrome brick? It was used on stations as geographically far flung as Bundoran and Howth, Belfast Great Victoria Street trainshed and Carrickmacross. At the moment I have opted to do a project in university on Irish railway architecture (and tram/bus architecture). I would welcome any new information that you may have on this.
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Postby GrahamH » Mon Nov 03, 2003 5:27 pm

What a facinating subject.
Whereas I know pretty much all of the GNR line between Pearse and Dundalk like the back of my hand - I have little to no new information that isn't otherwise available about people and developments behind it all.

I've always been hooked on 18th and 19th century architecture, and also railway design which is facinating - hence I could date and describe most of the stations but know little about their developers.

Drogheda station is quite unusual in its design - rather a more English form of architecture than the other stations - its use of brown stock bricks in the Victorian age is almost peculiar, and its ironwork is very clean cut, esp the pillars which are unadorned.
It has a very untypical well-finished ticket hall inside which would appear to be early 20th century.

The yellow/red/purple polychrome brickwork is of course used at Malahide, indeed its an almost carbon copy of Dundalk.
There's also a small office or signal box just outside Connolly on its eastern side which is constructed of the exact same brickwork, presumably also built in the 1890s, and is most notable considering its minute size and secondary location - imagine IR going to such effort and expense today for such a small structure.

Rush and Lusk also has quality red brickwork - dressed with yellow - unfortunately however it has been painted over.
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Postby David Chambers » Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:31 pm

I have some information about the GNR(I) main line which may be of interest to you.

In the 1950's the GNR(I)/ GNR(B) had made provision for quadrupling between East Wall Junction and Howth Junction. This is apparent from two bridges built at this time, Collins Avenue and Brookwood Avenue bridges which are south of Killester and Harmonstown stations respectively. I have a copy of a Dublin Corporation drainage drawing which includes Collins Avenue overbridge. In this drawing there are two "ghost" tracks on either side of the double track which are marked "space for future track". It will be noted that Brookwood Avenue bridge is not filled on on either side of the track; the cutting continues under the bridge.

North of Clontarf Road station there is a GNR(I)polychrome building on the Up side of the line. This is adjacent to Clontarf station which closed on 09. September 1956. I understand that this station had platforms built of sleepers, along the lines of Adelaide station near Belfast. This building was the residence of the station master for Amiens Street/ Connolly Station. The gate piers for this station can still be spotted on either side of the line. I understand that Clontarf station opened in 1895. It appears that GNR(I) polychrome brick buildings were built between 1880 and 1905. Buildings associated with the Hill of Howth tramline were also of this style. There is a photograph in the Fry Model Railway Museum in Malahide of the overbridge which used to cross the road outside Howth railway station. This photo credits W.H.Mills as being the engineer of the bridge.

It's great to discuss railway architecture. I find that many railway enthusiasts get hung up on nuts and bolts issues about trains (Haynes manual talk) or the intricacies of timetables rather appreciating railway architecture and civil engineering.
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Postby GrahamH » Wed Nov 05, 2003 8:51 pm

What does the original Clontarf Rd station look like? Where exactly is it?
I always thought it wierd that a Victorian suburb like Clontarf should have such a nasty modern stainless steel station like it has now - the fact you say there was an original makes sense now!
I probably know the building you're referring to, just can't place it.

Surprising some forsight was shown by GNR in the 50s for expansion, the very time when the likes of the Harcourt St line were closing.

Is there any of Howth Junction's station left either - I can only note the footbridge as being original, looks most bizarre in the midst of the 80s DART rubbish!

I love the brick viaducts coming into Connolly and the junction with the Drumcondra line where they meet, and the useless tracts of land they trap in between them and the houses!
Theres a fantastic map/sketch from the 1850s of all of Dublin showing the lines coming into the city, with no housing at all around them, just crossing empty fields - no Loop Line either.
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Postby David Chambers » Wed Nov 05, 2003 10:20 pm

What Howth Junction and Clontarf stations looked like before DART are based on what I have read and seen in railway books and photos and what I have learned from talking with other people.

The layout of Howth Junction was the same pre-DART as today. However on the Dublin bound Howth branch platform there was a standard GNR(I) waiting shelter as can be seen at Laytown and Malahide. There was a signal cabin just where the tracks diverge, the same as was at East Wall Junction and Knockmore Junction. The latter junction is where Antrim line branches off and until the 1950's the Banbridge line branched off the Belfast line. The signal cabin was not the standard GNR(I) design but of brown brick with courses of Staffordshire blue brick. This was demolished after a female "squatter" was using the cabin to entertain her "guests" following its closure in 1982 or 83. There were also two cottages in the "V" between the Howth and Belfast lines.

Clontarf station (and not Clontarf Road, the station that opened on 01. September 1997) was a halt with two platforms constructed from timber sleepers. I imagine that there may have been a standard waiting shelter here. In a photo dated 1898 there is a signal cabin on the Up (Dublin bound) side of the line, just north of the Howth Road overbridge. It was located a few hundred metres north of the present Clontarf Road station, next to the polychrome brick station master's residence. Based on what I have heard from my father and late grandfather facilities were very basic. The 1898 photo is from the Seán Kennedy collection. It might be worth contacting the Irish Railway Record Society to get a copy of this photo. I will add that from East Wall Road bridge to Clontarf Road "Skew Bridge" was once a causeway, like across the Broadmeadow Estuary, north of Malahide.

It is difficult to describe in a few words what things were like. It might be worth checking out some railway books such as the IRRS journals and books by the author Michael H. C. Baker.
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Postby ewanduffy » Thu Nov 06, 2003 11:38 am

Originally posted by Graham Hickey
What does the original Clontarf Rd station look like? Where exactly is it?

No trace remains. It was north of the existing station. Looking on the right hand side of the line as you head north, there is a red brick house immediately after the 2nd road bridge out of the present station. This was the residence for the stationmaster at Amiens Street Station (Connolly). Clontarf station was one or other side of this road underbridge. It only had wooden platforms.
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Postby David Chambers » Thu Nov 06, 2003 4:30 pm

Clontarf station, which closed in 1956 was on the same side of the Howth Road underbridge as the red brick station master's residence. Again the gate piers for access to the station are still in-situ beside the footpath. There are are signals, one on either side of the tracks which are on the site of the platforms. If you look closely on the Down side there are a couple of concrete stumps on the site of the platform.
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Postby David Chambers » Fri Nov 07, 2003 9:01 pm

Regarding what Clontarf station (the GNR(I) halt once accessed from the Howth Road), may I suggest a book which has photos of other GNR(I) halts which were carbon copies of Clontarf. "Along UTA Lines- Ulster's rail network in the network in the 1960's" by Ian McLarnon Sinclair, published by Colourpoint http://www.colourpoint.co.uk has some photos of interest. Study the photos of Adelaide, Dunmurry and Derriaghy, especially Derriaghy. The common features of these stations (platforms, picket fencing, waiting shelters and lamp standards with cast iron nameplates were what existed at Clontarf. I am sure of this as having shown these photos to my father, he confirmed that Clontarf was similar to, if not the same as these stations. Another source of interest is in the J.P.O'Dea Collection in the National Photo Archive in the Temple Bar. In this collection's catalogue there are two photos the Dublin section. These are listed as "Howth Road". In the absence of actual photos of Clontarf station which I know of I hope that this will be of help.
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Postby GrahamH » Mon Nov 10, 2003 4:50 pm

Interesting that the picket fencing was standard even then - I thought this was just an Iarnrod twee country-cottage invention (considering at Laytown the uprights are supported with a galvanised steel frame!)

Passed the bridge at Donabate today, its so attractive, very delicate and transparent - the same as Rush and Lusk but in better condition.

At Donabate there is a horrible vast expanse of glaring PVC window with the obligatory 'Georgian' plastic grid clamped between the panes. There's also lots of PVC at Skerries which originally had beautiful sashes. IR engaged in nasty double-standards in this regard - scouping up its own heritage awards for the likes of Dundalk whilst simultaneously removing the original windows from it's 'lesser' stations.
The larger stations always survived better simply because it cost to much to meddle around with them.
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Postby David Chambers » Fri Nov 14, 2003 5:29 pm

I agree with you about tacky PVC at Donabate. It is a similar story with Howth signal cabin. Has anyone seen the interior of the footbridge at Dunalk station? It would make one vomit. It has been painted with the colours used in the new "COMMUTER" livery as applied to the railcars. It a repeat of the nonsense of the 1980's when CIÉ painted the platform 5 facade in Connolly in DART green.
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