Irish Railway Record Society
Johnís Siding Enniscorthy
& A.G. Davis Ltd.
additional material from MICHAEL WALSH,
BEESLEY, DAVID HOUSTON and ERNIE SHEPHERD
former grain mill at St. Johnís, on the south bank of the River Urrin
immediately south of Enniscorthy town, is understood to date from 1885, and to
have replaced or incorporated features from an earlier water mill of 1858 on the
A weir on the Urrin upstream of the mill site provided the required flow of
water for this water mill. The Urrin also provided access to the mills from the
larger River Slaney for small vessels.
Johnís Siding, serving the mill of the same name of Messrs Samuel and Abraham
G Davis, was located at MP 78Ĺ on the Enniscorthy to Wexford line, on the banks
of the river Slaney approximately 1 mile south of Enniscorthy.
siding was constructed as part of a Ďbarter dealí proposed in November 1869
for the DW&WR extension south of Enniscorthy. Messrs S & AG Davis
offered for forego a claim for compensation for the railway to traverse their
lands at St Johnís in exchange for the provision of a siding to their mill.
Thomas Edwards, the contractor for the Wexford extension, would undoubtedly have
constructed the sidings as part of his contract with the DW&WR. The rails
used for the siding at St. Johnís were those from a short branch that had been
installed at Sroughmore (between Rathdrum and Avoca) in 1865 to serve the
Connorree Mining Company, but which had ceased to be used in 1869.
opening date for the St. Johnís Siding has generally been given as 1873,
but Gerald Beesley believes it to be pretty certain that the Ďofficialí
opening date of St Johnís siding would have been 17 August 1872, the same as
that for the whole extension to Wexford (Carcur), half a mile short of the
present-day Wexford station, opened in 1874. However, it is just possible that
some wagon movements may have occurred between Enniscorthy and St. Johnís once
the Enniscorthy tunnel had been completed.
siding trailed in by a crossover from the Up side. A ground frame, released by a
key on the section train staff, not only operated the connecting points to St.
Johnís siding but also controlled Up and Down signals interlocked with the
points. At least in GSR days, the headshunt of the siding, alongside the main
line, was used by a Mr Kavanagh for handling cement, tiles and general traffic,
for which a loading bank was provided.
This bank does not however appear in the earlier maps from the 1900s.
Kavanaghs were a successful local business family, who lived in St. Johnís
House, approximately Ĺ mile south of the Mill. In recent years, the house
became a hotel, under the name St. Johnís Manor, but this subsequently went
out of business. Military training in ďKavanaghís fieldĒ at St. Johnís
is recalled in material from the Bureau of Military History.
on the St. Johnís site was a foundry, established by Thomas Jessop Davis,
which is believed to have remained in operation until the early 1960s. Local
manhole covers and other cast iron items are understood to still bear the Jessop
Davis or St. Johnís Foundry mark.
St. Johnís Mill, several tracks facilitated the intake of raw materials Ė
grain and other ingredients for the production, plus coal for the boiler house.
This provided power and heating including grain drying. Later, coal was replaced
by fuel oil. Dispatch of finished goods in the early days was by rail, later
replaced by road transport, first by steam lorry and then by diesel lorries.
Most of the trade was to local and county areas.
Survey maps from the early 1900s show three parallel loop tracks, the
southernmost of which, along with a northward-extending stub, appears to have
served the Foundry. In a drawing of 10 May 1956 stamped by the District
Engineerís Office in Waterford, the Foundry loop and stub are no longer shown.
This 1956 drawing indicated the intention to remove the remaining loop track and
to bury the longer stub track extending between the warehouse and the Mill to
the bank of the Urrin. It is not at present known whether this final alteration
was carried out.
this period, wagons with bagged ingredients were off-loaded into the warehouse.
Those containing bagged grain were placed on the adjacent siding, where the
contents were tipped into an intake hopper, which brought the grain across to
the grain storage area. This wagon handling was achieved by using a powered
capstan and ropes for moving the wagons along the tracks and from one line to
another. Sometimes wagons were placed on the track down the mill yard at a
discharge point at a location originally used for unloading bagged grain
delivered by sailing barges known as cotts from coastal shipping on Wexford
of the grain delivered by rail was collected from the grain silos of R & H
Hall in Waterford and came via New Ross and Macmine Junction. Consignments of up
to 300-400 tons of animal feed ingredients were not uncommon and would mean
40-50 wagons being delivered into the mill yard.
for the Mill were sorted and assembled in Enniscorthy station and then delivered
to the sidings by the Enniscorthy pilot engine. At one time, up to three trips
per day could be required, involving the movement of up to 50 wagons of flour.
goods trains listed in the June 1955 WTT (Working Timetable) make interesting
reading. The 03:20 goods from North Wall reached Enniscorthy at 14:50 hauled by
a steam locomotive of Load Group E. At 15:40, a mixed train left for Wexford
with only a brief stop at Macmine Junction. This mixed train, mainly for school
traffic, returned at 18:15 from Wexford. A steam locomotive of Load Group C was
booked for the 20:40 Up night goods from Wexford to North Wall. It called at
Macmine from 21:10 until 21:50, taking a connection from the 17:45 goods from
Waterford, which was allowed 1 hour for shunting at Macmine. These North Wexford
goods trains were worked by steam locomotives of Load Group J. The 21:20 Down
night goods (Load Group C) from North Wall reached Enniscorthy at 04:09 and at
Macmine made connection with the 04:45 goods from Wexford to Waterford, so
Macmine was busy between 05:00 and 06:05. The final goods train to mention is
the 07:15 from Enniscorthy to North Wall worked by a locomotive of load class E,
as in the Down direction. From all the above, it is possible to see that the
pilot engine at Enniscorthy was in action from 05:45 until 14:45 and from 19:30
to 24:00. It was possible that the pilot engine would visit St. Johnís siding
during the early shift while wagons to and from Waterford would be worked via
Macmine on the Up and Down night goods and the North Wexford goods trains. There
were two drivers based in Enniscorthy: Watty Millar and Prendergast.
Class E locomotives included:-
J8 included No. 444, former D&SER No. 18 named Enniscorthy.
The 23-strong fleet of J5 locomotives worked mainly on the Midland.
is important to note that the inclusion of a particular Locomotive Class in a
Load Group does not mean that all locomotives of that Class could be used on any
particular route. David Houston points out that the J5 Class were prohibited
from operating south of Dķn Laoghaire. David also advises that there is no
evidence of the K3 or K4 Classes having worked on the South Eastern. In
practice, the Load Group C engines on the Down and Up Wexford night goods would
have been Nos. 461 and 462, and other former D&SER engines of Load Group E
would have seen service on the Enniscorthy goods.
May 1956, to use the language of the CI… weekly circular, diesel-electric
locomotive links were introduced on the D&SE. The 03:30 Down goods would
form the 19:30 Light Engine to Wexford to work the Up night goods at 20:45.
Similarly a DE light engine would leave Wexford at 06:15 (not in the WTT) to
work the 07:15 goods to North Wall.
North Wexford between New Ross and Macmine was closed completely with effect
from Monday 1 April 1963, thereby severing the route from Waterford, and closure
of St. Johnís Siding followed in 1965. So far as is known, no passenger train
ever operated onto the Siding.
is the story of St. Johnís Siding at Enniscorthy. There were many other
private sidings in the area and it is hoped to cover these in another
forthcoming article. Many thanks to Ernie Shepherd and Barry Carse for their
Ernie Shepherd and Gerry Beesley, Dublin & South Eastern Railway (Midland Publishing Limited,
Shepherd and Gerry Beesley, Dublin
& South Eastern Railway (Midland Publishing Limited, 1998), 72, 117.
Wall, IRRS Outings, (IRRS
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