Loughrea, Co.Galway, was the terminus of a 9-mile long branch from Attymon Jct on the main Dublin to Galway line. The branch line was opened by the Midland Great Western Railway in December 1890, and was one of the last small branch lines to close in Ireland, succumbing in November 1975. The track remained in place until the mid 1980s and was hoped to become a preserved railway by the West of Ireland Steam Railway Association, a company long since disappeared. Sadly the track was lifted when Attymon Jct ceased to be a block post in 1988. The station buildings at Loughrea remain derelict, these consist of the main building with an attached goods shed, the water tower which is now incorporated into an industrial unit, while the roofless engine shed remains abandoned. The small signal cabin that controlled the station is gone, but the lever frame remains intact in the undergrowth.
The closed and derelict Loughrea Station, opened by the Midland Great Western Railway in 1895, and closed by CIE in November 1975. An early 1975 view of the station, showing C Class loco No.B220 having arrived with the branch service from Attymon Jct. ©John McKegney Viewed from the platform, the few passengers from Attymon head into town. Just visible in the background on the platform is a hose that connected power from the station building to set of heaters on the coach which kept passengers warm. John McKegney recalls on one famous occasion they forgot to unplug them before the train moved off -the result was set of heaters on the platform and a giant hole in the side of the coach, after which a non screw plug was utilised instead! ©John McKegney B220, seen at Loughrea in 1975, was delivered to CIE as Metrovick Crossley engined C Class loco No.C220 in 1956. Re-engined in the late 1960s with GM engines and acquiring the newer prefix 'B', it was withdrawn from service in 1986 and scrapped in Britain in 1990. ©John McKegney
B220 has added a short rake of four wheel goods wagons to the rear of its branch service at Loughrea Station, ready to depart for Attymon. ©John McKegney In brighter conditions, B220 departs Loughrea in 1975 with the return working to Attymon Junction. On the left can be seen a small 4-wheel accommodation van used by CIE staff. ©Jonathan M.Allen A recent view from the similar position in March 2008 sees the partially overgrown and derelict condition to which Loughrea Station has become since closure in 1975. The goods shed was attached to the main building. The C201 Class locomotives were not the only motive power used on the Loughrea branch. CIE also employed some of the small Deutz built G Class locos, such as G616 seen ready to depart for Attymon in May 1975. ©Jonathan M.Allen
In steam days, the motive power was provided by 1880s built Midland Great Western J19 Class 0-6-0 No.610, seen departing Loughrea with a mixed passenger and goods train for Attymon in September 1960. ©Roger Joanes The stone and brick station buildings at Loughrea in 2002, are similar to that of the Midland Great Western's other terminus station at Ballinrobe.  Like all branch terminuses Loughrea had a single platform. Note that the platform lamp still attached to the building. A view of two CIE four wheel wagons been loaded at the goods yard at Loughrea Station in 1975. Note the ancient crane on the left, and the lattice post semaphore signal in the background. ©John McKegney This is the small Midland Great Western signal cabin at Loughrea Station in 1975. This type of cabin was typical of the type built at small termini on the MGWR network. Today only the lever frame of the cabin remains, covered in undergrowth so much so I could not find it! ©John McKegney
The derelict MGWR water tower at Loughrea Station in 2002. There was also an adjacent turntable, long since filled in. By 2008, the former water tower has been thankfully preserved, though incorporated into the new industrial unit adjacent to the former station, shame about the tank though. The derelict two road engine shed at Loughrea station, now roofless after more than 30 years of closure. The engine shed at Loughrea was largely redundant following dieselisation after 1963. Sometimes the smaller G Class diesel locos were stored instead inside the goods shed. Inside the engine shed, note the lamp still attached to the wall.
The lamp attached above the engine shed doors at Loughrea. View into Loughrea engine shed from the rear window of the derelict structure. The new industrial unit can also be seen. At the north end of the engine shed is this semaphore signal mounted on a concrete post, which controlled approaching branch trains from Attymon. Some detail on the semaphore arm at Loughrea Station, you can still make out the red/white colours, still showing after more than 30 years of weathering.