Navan, Co.Meath, was first served by rail in February 1850 when the Dublin & Belfast Jct Railway built a line running from Drogheda to Navan, and eventually to Oldcastle. Taken over by the Great Northern Railway in 1876, the Navan and Oldcastle branch lost its passenger service in April 1958. The section from Navan to Oldcastle was closed completely in 1963, but the line between Drogheda to Navan remains in use to serve the nearby Tara Mines, which dispatches several loaded ore trains each weekday. As yet there are no plans to reinstate passenger services on the ex GNR line, but possibly on the former Midland Great Western line from Clonsilla to Navan Junction, which was closed in April 1963.

Navan Station remains remarkably intact, complete with its single platform and large GNR yellow brick station building. Navan also retains the last operational GNR signal cabin. The freight yard at the station, adjacent to the water tower has been out of use since the late 1970s. At the east end of the station the line crosses the River Boyne on a fine stone built viaduct.
In December 1977, 001 Class locomotive No.018 is seen at the goods loading bank at the east end of Navan Station while loading a sugar beet train, destined for the sugar beet traffic at Thurles, Co.Tipperary. ©Barry Carse In June 1976, 001 Class loco No.048, was painted into the black and grey livery of the French train company SNCF for filming duties for the 'The Pink Panther Strikes Again' movie, which featured some railway shots filmed on the Drogheda to Navan branch line. ©Barry Carse One of CIE's 1950s built Bredin coaches is seen in the SNCF livery at Navan Station during filming in June 1976, complete with destinantion boards for Paris, Limoges and Toulouse. ©Barry Carse 001 Class No.024 rolls into Navan Station from Drogheda with a rake of empty ore wagons bound for the Tara Mines on the 6th August 1977. These open wagons, originally used at Silvermines in Co.Limerick, were shortly replaced by the large covered wagons which still operate on the Tara traffic today. ©Barry Carse
By the end of August 1977, the standard Tara Mines wagons had entered traffic, seen here in their original blue livery been lead by loco No.024, which is arriving into Navan across the Boyne Viaduct located at the east end of the station. ©Barry Carse With the demise of the 001 or A Class locomotives as they were known, the standard motive power on the Tara Mines ore traffic have been the 071 Class, represented here by No.084 seen heading away from Navan with the midday loaded working to Dublin Port. The 071 Class leader, No.071, is seen approaching Navan from Drogheda with Irish Rail's annual weed spraying train. The wasp striped yellow & black panels indicate this train's special working. No.071 is seen a little later, this time bringing the weed spraying train through Navan Station having visited the Tara Mines branch. No.071 was built by General Motors at La Grange Illinois, USA, in 1976.
A year later from the previous photos, loco No.071 is back again at Navan with the weed spraying train, seen approaching the Convent Road overbridge located on the eastern side of the River Boyne viaduct. No.071, minus its warning panels, takes the weed spraying train out of Navan. The parapets of the Boyne Viaduct can be seen either side of the line in the background. The disused Navan Station, looking east towards Drogheda, showing the single platform and Great Northern Railway style station building. Navan Station, as viewed from the signal cabin, looking west towards Oldcastle. A Dublin & Drogheda Railway built water tower stands at the eastern end of the platform.
This is the 1870s yellow brick built station building at Navan, a typical Great Northern design from their architect W.H Mills. The building, which once supported a canopy, is nowadays largely disused. In the foreground is the disused goods platform on the down side of the station. The entrance into the booking office at Navan Station, now boarded up. The station last saw a regular passenger in April 1958, when passenger services between Drogheda and Oldcastle ceased. In 2004, a Great Northern name plate was still mounted above the old booking office at Navan Station, it has since dissappeared. The Dublin & Drogheda Railway water tower, complete with tank, at Navan Station. This structure dates from 1850s.
The tracks leading into the former goods yard at the rear of Navan Station have recently been lifted. Regular goods traffic from Navan Station ceased in March 1977, although sugar beet traffic was handled here until the early 1980s. The large stone built goods shed at Navan Station, located on the up side of the station. Much of the former yard at Navan is now used as a stabling point for Bus Eireann vehicles. This was the small container gantry located within the yard at Navan Station, used for loading and unloading containers from railway to road and vice versa. The crane seen here handling a 20ft container in the late 1970s, was dismantled in 2006. ©Barry Carse Navan signal cabin, a typical Great Northern Railway design, and the last operational GNR cabin in use on the Irish Rail network. The cabin remains busy handling the weekday Tara Mines ore trains.
In 2004, Navan still retained its Great Northern Railway semaphore signals, dating from 1950s. These were the signals at the west end of the station. The down starting semaphore signal for the loop at Navan Station, which utilised a Great Northern Railway wooden post and spectacle. This is the down starter from the platform road at Navan Station. The signal arms themselves do not operate at this end of the station, only the lower square shaped shunting signal does, as the section of line to the Tara Mines is a siding. Closer shot of the semaphore signal arm at the west end of Navan Station. The arm has received a standard IE fluorescent colour, but the post and spectacle are of GNR origin. These GNR signals were shortly replaced by standard CIE types.
The wooden GNR semaphore signal posts at Navan, dating from the 1950s, have been replaced by these standard CIE metal posts, although it still retains its GNR counter weights. Close view of the counter weight on the semaphore signal at the west end of Navan Station, showing the GNR(I) stamp. The standard CIE bracket semaphore signal on the eastern approach to Navan Station, complete with ground disc. The semaphore signal protecting the level crossing and station approach at the west end of Navan.
Adjacent to Navan Station is of course the typical Great Northern style station masters house. It was probably brick built but since plastered over, but the GNR yellow brick and wooden gable boards remain.