This is the Great Southern & Western Railway's station in Athlone, built in 1859 when the GSWR opened their 'branch' line from Portarlington to the the large Co.Westmeath town. When the Great Southern Railway took over in 1924, the GSWR station was closed and all traffic was to be concentrated at the rival Midland Great Western's Athlone Midland station across the River Shannon. In 1985, it was decided to re-open the GSWR station following the gradual diversion of Galway and Westport services via Portarlington since 1973. As a result of this the MGWR station in Athlone was closed completely.
While the facade of the GSWR station is imposing, the railway side when reopened had a hideous grey brick waiting room added to the front which somewhat spoils its appearance. The station once had an overall roof, but this was removed some time after closure to passengers in 1924. When it reopened in 1985 it gained up & down platforms, the up one been an island. The former goods shed is now home to the Athlone Level Crossing Control Centre. At the western end of the station, locomotives are stabled in a loop which was formerly used for handling freight traffic. At the west end of the station is the junction with the former MGWR's main line line from Mullingar.
Seen having arrived with an Irish Railway Record Society special from Westport is 071 Class loco No.074. It is seen standing at the island platform at Athlone Station. At the east end of Athlone Station, 201 Class loco No.218 awaits the road to Clara with a special service from Galway to Dublin. Approaching Athlone Station from the east with a service from Dublin is another 201 Class loco No.234, which will clear the road for 218, seen on the right. No.234 stands at the west end of Athlone Station, having arrived with a pushpull service from Dublin. This service is now operated by the new 22000 Class Intercity railcars.
Entering service in 1995, and named Abhainn na hEatharlai/River Aherlow, the locos nameplates have either been removed or were never fitted. Evening sun catches the side profile of the 1988 built Mk3 pushpull stock, seen at Athlone Station. The driving van trailer, seen at the rear of No.234's train. These Mk3 pushpull units have since been withdrawn and scrapped. A six-car 22000 Class railcar, No.22338, represents the new order of trains on the lines from Dublin to the west. It is seen working a service to Westport.
Athlone Station nameboard, with Mk3 coach in the background complete with vintage 'Intercity' branding. This station was reopened in 1985 when the Midland Great Western 'Athlone Midland' station on the western side of the River Shannon was closed. Athlone Station, looking west towards Galway and Westport. The island platform is link to the down side via a subway. The Great Southern & Western station building at Athlone. Opened in 1859, it was closed to passengers in 1924 by the Great Southern Railway and was latterly used as goods depot. When opened the station original had an overall roof whch spanned the main platform, it was removed some time after the 1950s. When the station reopened to passengers in 1985, this single storey grey brick structure was added.
The former stone built GSWR goods shed at Athlone remains. Located at the west end of the station, it now houses the CTC signalling and level crossing monitor centre for the Galway and Westport lines. Athlone looking east towards Portarlington. Note the similiar early 1980s style CTC 'DART' signals are used here. These were manufactured in Tralee from parts by Westing House & Brake signalling company in the USA. 071 Class loco No.078 is seen stabled in the former freight siding at the west end of Athlone Station. In the background the disused ex Midland Great Western main line to Dublin diverges towards Mullingar.