THE INCHICORE RAILWAY WORKS
"A brief history of the works"
It seems only right to mention the Inchicore Railway Works on this website, as it was an amazing place to grow up beside and without its influence I might have chosen a different career and perhaps my railway would never have been built.
The Inchicore Railway Works were established in 1846 by the Great Southern and Western Railway (GS&WR) as its main engineering works, the first payroll is dated the 24th of April 1846 and amounted to £83. 12s. 9d. At that time there were 39 men employed, but at its peak there were over 2000.
The original running shed was built throughout of limestone and was designed by Sancton Wood who also designed Heuston Station. With its castellated walls and tower and gothic appearance it was architecturally a very picturesque building.
The tower is said to have been built as a "lookout" for a signalman who in the early days could observe the movement of trains coming up the bank from Kingsbridge (Heuston).
The "Works" are located 3km west of Heuston Station and covers a site of approximately 73 acres. It's still the main engineering works for Iarnrod Eireann, maintaining the large fleet of diesel locomotives and rolling stock.
My earliest memories of living beside the railway are the sounds, the cattle trains stopped outside the house at night, loose coupled trains passing by with their clanking brakes and couplings and of course the Works "horn". This horn would sound in the morning, lunchtime and in the evening, its no longer working, but when it sounded it could be heard many miles away.
Another great memory was watching the GAA specials on a Sunday coming up from the country. The supporters would have their flags flying out of the windows and depending on the result there would be plenty of cheering and waving as they passed by on there way home.
This was the view from my bedroom window. The picture is not great but you can just make out an old AEC/Park Royal railcar in the distance, a CIE/Maybach shunter, a A101 class and a pair of B121 class General Motors single cab locomotives. The coaches parked along the wall were used as a sound barrier.
The sound barrier was changed many times over the years, from various four wheeled wagons, coaches, and locomotives, for many years the track lay empty. This photograph shows a C201 class shunting into position, there are three BRCW/Sulzers parked up waiting their turn to be placed along the wall.
A view from the other side of the wall, this photograph was taken after I was given a quick trip from Heuston, where I was watching trains, back to Inchicore in the cab of an engine. The signal cabin can be seen on the left and the original running shed tower can just be seen over the locomotives on the right.
The Works had many nice features including an outdoor swimming pool and this fountain, although not in the best condition when I took this photograph it was still just about working.
It wasn't just Diesel locomotives that came to Inchicore this photograph was taken in 1978. These two steam locomotives are 186 and 184 both class J15, they were modified for the film "The First Great Train Robbery" which was shot in Ireland. The majority of these locomotives were built by the GS&WR at Inchicore so they would feel right at home here.
You could say that this was my first "BIG" scale garden railway...!
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