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Athy Brick Yard Siding


In Journal 191, p175, Barry Carse “noticed that the (1946) WTT (working timetable) listed the Athy Brick Siding, but no trains were booked to serve it. It was located a little over a mile north of Athy station, on the Up side, and was accessed by a facing turnout coming from Athy.”

Research in the Society’s collection of GS&WR circulars and timetables has provided more information on this little-known and long-forgotten siding, while Ordnance survey maps from the early 20th century also allow the layout at this location to be established.

The same research has also enabled us to provide definitive information on the singling of the line between Cherryville Junction and Carlow to provide rails for the Athy & Wolfhill Colliery Railway and the Castlecomer Colliery Railway.


The Siding was not listed in the station bank for the Carlow line in the WTT from Nov 1, 1899 until further notice.  It was listed in the WTT from Jun 1, 1900 until further notice, the next following issue in the IRRS collection.

There are no weekly GS&WR circulars in the IRRS collection from before 1901. There are sporadic circulars from 1901-1910. The first full set is for 1910. Thus it is not possible to determine a date of installation for this Siding from circulars.

In the 1900 WTT, the Siding was served, in the Up direction only, by an evening 20:50 “all stations” goods from Bagenalstown to Kingsbridge, which was scheduled to spend 40 minutes at the “ATHY (Brick Siding)” – 23:15-23:55. In the WTT from November 1902 to February 1903, this train now left Kilkenny at 18:45, was at Athy from 23:23 to 00:48, and served the “Bk. Sd.”, as the WTT by now referred to it for just 10 minutes, from 00:53 to 01:03. The detailed timings varied slightly over the years, but the call at the Brick Yard Siding was always a late-night event. The siding had a short headshunt, and presumably wagons were moved to and from the Brickworks by horse, the locomotive merely working wagons to and from the headshunt.


GS&WR Circular No. 1566 for week ending Saturday, 14 September, 1918 records, under the heading CASTLECOMER COLLIERIES’ RAILWAY, that on Sunday, 14 September, 1918, the Down line Kildangan – Athy was to be dispensed with and ETS (electric train staff) introduced over former Up line. Loop facing points were to be provided at Kildangan from the Athy direction and the Athy Brick Yard Siding connection was to be removed. The records for 1917-18 are not necessarily complete, but the final WTT in the Society’s collection to show a train calling at the “Bk. Sd.” is dated March 1917 (presumably 1 March, but that is not stated). The next WTT in the collection is not until December 1918. The circulars may enable an earlier definitive date for cessation of service to the siding to be established, but with the disconnection of the siding on 14 September 1918, it could certainly not have had any service after that date. Despite this, Athy Brick Yard Siding remained listed in the WTTs, for more than another forty years, until at least 1957! 


GS&WR Circular No. 1497 for week ending Saturday, 19 May, 1917 records that on Sunday, 3 June, 1917, the Down line Athy – Mageney was to be dispensed with and ETS introduced over the former Up line.

Circular No. 1500 for week ending Saturday, 9 June, 1917 records, under the heading ATHY AND WOLFHILL COLLIERY RAILWAY, that on Sunday, 3 June, 1917, the Down line Mageney – Carlow was to be dispensed with and ETS introduced over the former Up line. The work must not have been done on this date, because precisely the same entry appeared in Circular No. 1501 for the following week ending Saturday, 16 June, 1917, with the singling now to be carried out on Sunday, 10 June, 1917.

A new signal cabin at Athy was commissioned on Sunday, January 27, 1918, (Circular No. 1534 for week ending Saturday, 9 June, 1918) and the singling between Kildangan and Athy followed on 14 September, as reported already above.

In the final stage, on Sunday, November 24, 1917 (Circular No. 1577 for week ending Saturday, November 24, 1918), the Down line Cherryville Junction – Kildangan was dispensed with and ETS introduced over the former Up line, with ETS instruments in Cherryville and Kildangan cabins.

Thus initially Kildangan retained its second platform and a working loop. By the time of the 1935 Appendix, Kildangan had only one platform in use, as was the case from then on up to closure. It was demoted to a Halt in the early 1930s, appearing for the first time as Kildangan Halt in the WTT effective from 1 July 1932.

The date when Kildangan ceased to be a crossing place and lost its signal cabin remains to be established. Most likely, however, this took place during the great wave of singling and weeding-out of redundant crossing loops that was carried out by the GSR between 1925 and 1930.

The remainder of this article appears in IRRS Journal number 192, published February 2017

Copyright © 2017 by Irish Railway Record Society Ltd.
Revised: August 22, 2017 .