Portarlington, Co.Laois, was first served by rail when the Great Southern & Western Railway extended their Cork mainline line south from Dublin in June 1847. In November 1854, Portarlington became the junction for the branch line to Athlone. Following the diversion of Galway & Mayo line services to Heuston Station in Dublin, the Portarlington to Athlone line became the mainline for these services. The station at Portarlington has been remodelled in recent years, with the reconstruction of both up and down platforms towards the northern end of the station. Both platforms retain their large GSWR style stone built stations buildings, dating from the 1840s. The original Victorian footbridge survives, along side the modern one. The station once had two signal cabins located at the northern and southern ends, but these were abolished in the 1970s and demolished in 1984. The station also retains its former goods shed and yard, now used for the loading of ballast trains.
141/121 Class locomotives Nos.154+127 are seen stabled at the east end of Portarlington Station. Both these General Motors built engines, dating from 1962 and 1961 respectively, have since been scrapped. 201 Class locomotive No.214 arrives into Portarlington Station with an afternoon Dublin to Westport service, formed of the 1980s built Mk3 coaching stock. No.214 entered Irish Rail service in November 1994. A Dublin to Cork train powers out of Portarlington Station headed by another 201 Class loco. The single track Athlone line can be seen diverging to the west. To the right once stood a tall Great Southern & Western Railway signal cabin, demolished in 1984. Built by GM in 1966, 181 Class loco No.185 is seen stabled in the former goods yard at Portarlington with a ballast train.
201 Class No.217 approaches the down platform at Portarlington Station with a southbound stopping service from Dublin. The lines convergring from the left lead from the former goods yard. Today this site is now occupied by the up platform. Loco No.234 arrives at Portarlington Station with an afternoon Dublin to Galway service. Nowadays the platforms at Portarlington extend beyond the ones seen here. Another view of No.234, seen passing beneath the Victorian era footbridge at Portarlington. Although nowadays replaced by a modern bridge, this original GSWR structure remains in situ though out of use. One of the dedicated rake of Mk3 coaches, built at Derby by British Rail Engineering Ltd, and once used on the Dublin to Galway service. The Intercity 22000 Class diesel railcars have since displaced all of the Mk3 operated services.
Portarlington, looking north towards Dublin from the road overbridge located at the south end of the station. Since this view was taken in 2003, the platforms at this end of the station have been cut back and track re-aligned. Portarlington Station, looking south towards Cork from the up platform, showing the modern footbridge complete with lift shafts. Today the platforms here are much narrower and the track has been re-aligned. The 1847 built Great Southern & Western Railway style stations buildings, located on the up platform at Portarlington. The station here contains a number of architecturally interesting GSWR structures. A vintage era sign directing passengers to the booking office on the down platform at Portarlington Station.
A Victorian era letter box, located on the down platform at Portarlington Station. There are not many examples of this type left. The station buildings at Portarlington, as viewed in 2003. Today the car park here has been totally rebuilt and expanded. This is the small goods shed, located on the down side of Portarlington Station. At this time in 2004 it still featured a siding. A 4-wheel CIE spoil wagon, constructed at Inchicore Works in the early 1970s, is seen inside the former goods shed at Portarlington in 2003.
Ballast cleaner No.780 is seen stabled outside the goods shed at Portarlington Station in 2002. This vehicle was later stored in Mullingar scrap yard but was later restored to use. One of the ex barytes ore wagons, once used on the Silvermines traffic in Co.Limerick, is seen stabled in the former goods yard at Portarlington in 2003. Another view of the spoil wagons stabled in the yard at Portarlington. The siding seen here once extended beyond the yard to access Odlums flower mill, visible behind the trees. Portarlington Station remains an important ballast loading point for Irish Rail permanent way trains. In 2004, two rakes of loaded ballast hopper wagons are seen stabled in the former goods yard.
In 2004, part of the cattle loading bank within Portarlington goods yard remained. In later years this site was cleared out and sidings removed. A view looking north towards Dublin from the former goods yard at Portarlington Station. Today only a single siding remains in situ on this side of the line. One of Irish Rail's shortlived plastic name boards, seen on the up platform at Portarlington Station. 201 Class loco No.232 is east of Portarlington at Kilmullen Bridge, propelling a Cork to Dublin express formed of the Mk4 stock.
071 Class loco No.076 races past Kilmullen Bridge, near Portarlington, with the empty timber train from Waterford to Dublin. At the same location, the doyen of the 071 Class locos, No.071, takes the Waterford to Ballina DFDS liner past Kilmullen. 201 Class loco No.218 heads away from Portarlington with the Ballina to Dublin IWT freightliner, seen approaching Kilmullen Bridge. 071 Class loco No.071 is seen again in the Portarlington area, this time heading away from the station at Killenard Bridge with the Waterford bound DFDS liner from Ballina.
201 Class No.215 rounds the curve at Cloneygowan on the Athlone line, west of Portarlington, with the Ballina to Dublin IWT liner, formed of the standard container flats. The 3-car 22000 Class railcar passes the same location at Cloneygowan with a Dublin to Galway service. The small village at Cloneygowan did not process a station or a signalling blockpost.