Mallow, north Co.Cork, was first served by rail when the Great Southern & Western Railway reached the town in March 1849 with their extension of the final section of the Dublin to Cork main line. In 1853, Mallow became the junction for the line to Killarney and eventually to Tralee. The Tralee line diverges from the Cork main line just south of the station beyond the 1923 built viaduct across the Blackwater River. In May 1860, the GSWR opened a line between Mallow and Fermoy, where it later in 1872 connected with the Fermoy & Lismore railway, eventually forming the lengthy Mallow to Waterford line. The line to Fermoy and Waterford diverged at the north end of the station, however this line was closed in 1967 and the last remnants of it at Mallow were lifted in 2006. The freight yard was established on the former goods yard on the up side of the station in the 1970s, but has since been closed with the withdrawal of the Dublin-Cork freightliner trains. Mallow was also home to the Irish Sugar factory, which was served with beet by rail until 2005.

Mallow retains its GSWR station buildings, these include the south signal cabin, the last one surviving of originally three at the station, its main building on the down platform and its 19th century platform canopies. The once covered footbridge also been preserved on the down platform.