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Journal 165 TRACK  

TRACK

Dublin-Cork In December, IÉ advertised for consultants ‘to assist in the implementation of a detailed track renewals programme’ on the Dublin-Cork line. The services required ‘for this large scale renewals project will include design and detailed technical advice as well as overall expertise in track renewals … extensively over the first year of the project and with further requirements over the subsequent six years of the lifespan of the project as necessary’.

The Killarney Bay in Mallow was re-laid in September. The loop in Charleville was re-laid in November.

Dublin-Rosslare Europort The second closure in conjunction with the re-building of Lansdowne Road stadium took place over the public holiday weekend 27-29 October. No trains operated between Tara St and Sydney Parade on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Rosslare trains were substituted by bus between Connolly and Greystones and Maynooth/DART trains operated to/from Connolly. New concrete bridge type portal beams were installed during the closure as part of the construction of the new stand.

Dublin-Belfast   Further small sections on both tracks of former GNR and GS&WR lines between Connolly and Ossory Road Junction have been excavated and re-laid. However, there were still some outstanding work between Ossory Rd Junction and East Wall Junction at the end of the year.

Dublin-Sligo   Track between Ossory Rd Junction and North Strand Junction was renewed with new rail and concrete sleepers over two the first two weekends in November. Trailing crossover 151, used by Dublin-Sligo trains departing Connolly was also renewed. During this work, Maynooth and Sligo trains operated via platform 7 in Connolly, Newcomen Junction and the former MGWR line.

Portarlington-Athlone Crossover 618 and traps 617 at the Athlone end of Clonnydonnin passing loop were renewed over the weekend of 29/30 September. On the Sunday, bus transfers operated between Tullamore and Clara for the 08:40 Heuston-Galway, 08:25 Galway-Heuston and 07:45 Westport-Heuston.

For the first time on IÉ, the new crossover is laid on concrete bearers (sleepers) instead of timber. The new crossover is about 20m longer than its predecessor and signals were moved accordingly. Point motors were changed from Clamplock type to Westinghouse Type 63.

Dublin-Waterford On Sunday 21 October a new deviation was brought into use between Kilkenny and Lavistown Junction to facilitate the new Kilkenny ring road. The new line is a short curved diversion about 1,100m long approximately 100m north of existing line.

As part of the project, Leggatsrath U-type level crossing XW085 at 29 miles 250 yards (measured from Portlaoise via Abbeyleix) between Kilkenny and Lavistown Junction was closed.

Limerick-Rosslare Europort Further track re-laying between Clonmel and Waterford resulted in the substitution by bus of the 07:00 Rosslare Europort-Limerick Junction from Waterford, 09:50 Limerick Junction-Waterford, 11:47 Waterford-Limerick Junction and 16:35 Limerick Junction-Waterford during weekdays in September. On Tuesday 11 September, 190+152 with 6 bogies of new concrete sleepers crossed in Tipperary with 134+171 on an empty rail train returning to Portlaoise.

Two miles of new CWR on hardwood (German Beech) timber sleepers are being installed immediately east of Wellingtonbridge.

 Dromkeen loop was re-laid in September.

Ballybrophy-Killonan Junction The Killonan-Birdhill section was closed from 08:20 on Wednesday 14 November to 17:00 next day and between 09:40 to 15:20 from Monday 10 to Saturday 15 December to allow track re-laying.

Foynes Branch Further rails were removed from the Limerick end of the Foynes branch in October. Panels of old track are also stored on the line at the Limerick end, which is now becoming overgrown in many locations.

Points 35A at Limerick Check were disconnected on Saturday 3 November. This had the effect of disconnecting the Foynes line from the rest of the system.

The Minister for Transport was asked in the Dáil ‘the reason the Limerick to Foynes rail line was disconnected from the Irish Rail national network … in view of the cost of reconnecting the line in the future and the necessity to preserve rail freight and other infrastructure in the mid-west; his views on whether from a transport strategic point of view, the Foynes line should remain connected especially as part of the Limerick re-signalling programme in 2009’. He replied. ‘This is a day-to-day operational matter for Iarnród Éireann and not one in which I have any role’.

The disconnection was criticised by the Shannon Foynes Port Company and by the local media. The Limerick Leader said ‘This week's disconnection of the Foynes line from the national rail grid will probably mean that the new signals within Limerick's Colbert Station will be designed without reference to any future reinstitution of the points. Although not formally abandoned, the line will continue to deteriorate and eventual restoration costs will continue to mount up’.

Kingscourt Line Fences have been erected across various level crossings and the line is now largely overgrown. Unauthorised traveller settlement also took place near Navan.

The line was disconnected from the network in November when the points at Tara Junction, Navan, were replaced by plain track. There was significant local outcry to the disconnection. However, a spokesperson for IÉ said that the removal of the junction would not affect any future plans for a rail link to Kingscourt. He explained that the track between Drogheda and Navan was being renewed and it was normal practice not to replace 'a connecting turn-out' if it was not in use. He said that unused junctions were hazardous and there was also a cost factor involved.

He said that the cost of extending the rail link would be millions of Euro, while the cost of replacing the junction would be only in the region of €100,000 and could easily be incorporated into the cost of extending the network. ‘Five years ago, there was great outcry when a similar junction was removed in Athenry. People said that it was the end of any plans for the Western Rail Corridor. The Western Rail Corridor is now happening’. He said that IÉ was not abandoning the Kingscourt line and was planning to spray it for weeds to protect it next year.

Platin (Drogheda)-Navan On Friday 9 November, 134+187 passed Drumcondra at 12:40 for Navan with 10 bogies of second hand track panels from Kilkenny. The panels were used for re-laying between Navan and Tara Junction.

Sandite This year’s Sandite programme also included spraying of the line between Limerick Junction and Farranfore using converted permanent way machines. Other lines sprayed were Kildare - Connolly - Bray - Maynooth – Connolly - Malahide and Limerick Junction - Cobh, Limerick Junction - Portlaoise and Mullingar - Sligo.

BRIDGES AND TUNNELS

UB180 at 93 miles 1,1720 yards, east of Wellingtonbridge station, has been replaced. The line between Wellingtonbridge and Rosslare Strand was closed from Monday 8 to Saturday 13 October, with substitute buses operating. Repairs have also been carried out during the autumn to UB178, 179, 181, 183, 184 and 186 on the Waterford-Rosslare line.

Major strengthening works to UB77 (25 miles, 690 yards), Ennis-Athenry commenced on the 17 December and this work is programmed for completion in April 2008. OB121 (90 miles 195 yards) Dublin-Galway was renewed with pre-cast concrete units on the 27 November. The original steel bridge carried the R357 Athlone-

Roscommon road over the railway line just outside Ballinasloe.

A new underpass was installed at MP95 between Ballinasloe and Woodlawn on Sunday 25 November. The 08:40 Dublin-Galway and 08:25 Galway-Dublin were substituted by bus between Ballinasloe and Galway.

SIGNALLING

Limerick Junction Work is well advanced on re-signalling Limerick Junction station area. The station remains the only location on the Dublin-Cork line with semaphore signals. These are controlled by Limerick Junction North and South cabins and both will be closed in 2008, as will Tipperary as a crossing place.

On Sunday 2 December, the turnout and traps (No. 738) connecting the Pocket Siding to the Loop were removed and the crossover (No. 737) connecting the Loop with the Limerick Branch at Milltown level crossing was converted to a turnout. The end of the crossover nearest Tipperary was removed.

Rosslare Line Re-Signalling Work continues on installing new track and signalling in station areas. Materials for new points were delivered to site just before Christmas. The new signalling system is scheduled to be commissioned in April.

Train Radio On 7 November, the discrete train radio system was extended to the Cork-Cobh line. This allows the driver contact the signalman in Cork Central cabin or the traffic regulator in CTC Dublin.

LEVEL CROSSINGS

Mallow Level Crossing Control Centre The new control centre was brought into use at 12:45 on Monday 19 November, initially controlling crossings at Lombardstown, Gortmore No. 1, Gortmore No. 2 and Googannis in the Mallow-Banteer section of the Tralee line. It later took control of Rathcoole No. 1 (Banteer-Millstreet) and Doneen crossing near Millstreet. On Monday 17 December, five further Tralee line crossings were transferred. They were Ballybrack       and Ballybane in the Killarney-Farranfore section, Dromore No.1 in Farranfore station, Gortatlea in the Farranfore-Tralee section and Rathass within Tralee station limits.

Athlone Level Crossing Control Centre On Wednesday 19 December, the control of three further Dublin-Waterford line crossings was transferred to Athlone. They were Kiltorcan within Ballyhale station, Derrynahinch in the Kilkenny-Ballyhale section and Knockmoylan in the Ballyhale-Waterford West section.

Barriers Conversion of wooden gates to locally controlled four-barrier crossings has taken place at the following locations: Freemount (Killarney-Rathmore) on 14 September, Knockmoylan (Ballyhale-Waterford) on 23 November and Rathcoole No. 3 (Banteer-Millstreet) and Ballybar (Carlow-Muine Bheag) on 13 December.

Closures Laois County Council has issued an order extinguishing the right of way over Clonkeen C-type level crossing XC062 at 53 miles 839 yards (south of Portlaoise) and the crossing has been permanently closed. Up and down colour light distant signals were taken out of use on Tuesday 30 October. There are now no signalled or automatic level crossings remaining on the Dublin-Cork line between Dublin and Bishopswood 98 miles 410 yards.

IÉ has sought planning permission to construct a new bridge and access roads to replace level crossing XA043, which is an agricultural crossing at 55 miles 442 yards between Geashill and Tullamore. A new access road will allow closure of crossings XG145 and XG146 at 109 miles 1,740 yards Woodlawn-Galway. A new overbridge OB221F will allow closure of level crossing XC99 at 82 miles 370 yards Dublin-Cork.

The remainder of this article appears in IRRS Journal number 165, published February 2008.

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Copyright © 2008 by Irish Railway Record Society Ltd.
Revised: November 06, 2015 .