Thurles Junction

Thurles Junction, north Co.Tipperary, on the main Dublin to Cork line is located just south of Thurles town. The junction was established here when the independent Southern of Ireland Railway, latterly taken over by the Waterford & Limerick Railway, who later became part of the Great Southern & Western in 1901, extended their line north from Clonmel to Thurles in 1880. There was no station at the junction, passengers having to change trains conveniently at Thurles Station. The junction was controlled by an adjacent signal cabin on the up side of the line. In the 1920s, a sugar beet factory was established just south of Thurles town, and sidings were built on the down side of the main line on the approach to the junction, as well as a spur which entered the beet factory compound.

Passenger services between Clonmel and Thurles ceased in 1963, but the line remained in use for goods until 1967. A stub of the former line was however retained as a siding until the early 1970s, leaving the signal cabin to control just the adjacent sugar beet sidings. However, Thurles beet factory ceased operation in 1989, with trains diverted to the Mallow plant in Co.Cork. The beet sidings, as well as the spur into the factory, which featured a level crossing over the Holycross road, were removed along with the signal cabin.

The remains of Thurles Junction can still be seen today, the site of the beet sidings however have been replanted with trees. The spur between the sidings and factory is now occupied by a new housing estate, but the old level crossing, as well as several pieces of track still exist within the former sugar beet factory, now used by several different industries.
Viewed from the trackbed of the former line from Clonmel, 201 Class locomotive No.227 speeds past the site of Thurles Junction with a southbound Dublin to Cork express. Thurles Junction, looking south towards Cork, with the trackbed of the former line to Clonmel diverging to the left. The line to Clonmel was opened in 1880, but lost its passenger service in 1963 and closed completely in 1967. Thurles Junction, looking north to Dublin. The Great Southern & Western Railway signal cabin which once stood here, controlling the junction as well as the access to the beet factory sidings, once located beyond the blue container. The sidings, as well as the spur into the sugar beet factory closed was in 1989. The trackbed of the line to Clonmel between Thurles Jct and the first road overbridge on the former line remains relatively intact. A stub of the line remained in situ here until 1971.
The trackbed of the spur which ran from the beet sidings adjacent to Thurles Junction to the sugar beet factory south of Thurles town. This view is looking north towards the former sidings, now occupied by pine trees. Seen at roughly the same location but in November 1977, one of the sugar beet company's 4-wheel Ruston built locomotives is seen operating at the extensive beet sidings at Thurles. ©Jonathan M.Allen Built in the early 1950s by Ruston of Hornsby, Britain, these type of locos worked shunting duties at the Mallow, Thurles and Carlow sugar beet factories. The loco seen here in 1977 at Thurles brought beet wagons in and out of the factory area. ©Jonathan M.Allen Again in November 1977, Metrovick built 001 Class loco No.047 is seen at the south end of the beet factory sidings having operated an empty rake of wagons to Thurles. The line leading into the sugar beet factory can be seen curving away in the background. ©Jonathan M.Allen
Loco No.047 is seen light engine again, this time at the north end of the sugar beet sidings at Thurles. On the left is the Dublin to Cork main line, and this where trains accessed the sidings. ©Jonathan M.Allen Today at the same location, this is all that is left of the sugar beet sidings south of Thurles. A short stub of the line that once lead into the yard at the north end remains as a little used engineers siding. Another view of the rusty track that once lead into the busy sugar beet sidings at Thurles. The track seen here was part of the headshunt where sugar beet trains arrived and then reversed into the yard, the site of which beyond the buffer stop is nowadays occupied by spruce trees. This is the former rail entrance into the sugar beet factory at Thurles. Two lines ran across a level crossing and into the factory compound. In the foreground the rails, covered by grass, are still embeded in the concrete.
The site of the former level crossing on the Thurles to Holycross road. A new housing estate has been built on the trackbed of the spur between beet factory and the sidings at Thurles Jct. The old gate posts remain in situ. Several of the disused tracks remain in situ at the former sugar beet factory site. Here two lines pass alongside a steel works which occupies part of what is now an industrail estate. Some rails also remain within what is now the steel works, Part of the building was possibly once part of the beet processing plant. Another siding still in situ within the steel works yard at the former sugar beet factory at Thurles. The lines were last traversed in 1989.
The weed covered line which runs behind the present steel works within the former sugar beet factory at Thurles. Up until the 1970s, the factory once employed some of CIE's G Class locomotives for shunting wagons to and from the sidings at Thurles Jct. These two lines reach out to the rear of the present industrial estate within the former beet factory at Thurles. The building on the left looks part of the original processing plant. The site of more sidings at the south end of the former sugar beet factory at Thurles. In the foreground can be seen part of an old railway sleeper, complete with base chair. The beet factory entrance at Thurles was almost identical to its southern counterpart at Mallow, Co.Cork. This is where the road deliveries where made, while the former railway entrance is to the right.
An old 15 mph speed road sign, dating from the time when the sugar beet factory was still in use at Thurles. A road sign warning of the gated level crossing at the entrance to Thures sugar beet factory, still in situ some 20 years after the line, as well as the factory, closed.