Irish Rail Trip to Co. Mayo—Part 3

Ok, so this was really a detour into County Roscommon.

After photographing Irish Rail’s Ballina Timber, Noel and I cut cross-country via Knock and Ballyhaunis, to Castlerea, County Roscommon, to intercept the train a second time.

I hadn’t paid a visit to Castlerea in several years, but I recalled a visit to the old signal cabin before the Mini-CTC was installed (in 2007). Back then, mechanical semaphores and electric train staff instruments had been the rule.

Irish Rail at Castlerea.
Castlerea’s premier railway enthusiast, Sean Browne. The old signal cabin survives, but it no longer controls train movements on the line. Lumix LX3 photo.
Through careful planning and expeditious driving, Noel and I were able to catch the Ballina timber a second time. It is seen here approaching Castlerea station on March 13, 2014. Canon EOS 7D  with 100mm lens. I also exposed a series of colour slides of the timber passing the signal cabin with my Canon EOS 3. The structure at the left is the old water tank, a vestige of the steam era.
Through careful planning and expeditious driving, Noel and I were able to catch the Ballina timber a second time. It is seen here approaching Castlerea station on March 13, 2014. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens. I also exposed a series of colour slides of the timber passing the signal cabin with my Canon EOS 3. The structure at the left is the old water tank, a vestige of the steam era.

While waiting for the timber, Noel phoned Castlerea’s foremost railway enthusiast, Sean Browne. Sean’s Hell’s Kitchen railway themed pub is a local attraction.

Sean dropped down to Castlerea station and we caught up on old times. Then, following passage of the Ballina timber train, we went for an impromptu visit to Hell’s Kitchen that Sean opened specially for us.

This claims to be ‘the only pub with a train in the bar.’

This ‘train’ is, more precisely, a locomotive. Irish Rail’s A55—one of the surviving 1950s-era Metropolitan Vickers-built diesel electrics—is the Hell’s Kitchen center-piece display.

Sean has collected an impressive collection of railway memorabilia, most of it from Ireland. A Conrail hard hat on display impressed me! Every item of historical value comes with a story, so we had a good visit with Sean.

This was interrupted, when Noel learned that the IWT liner from Dublin to Ballina was getting close. We said farewell to Sean and went back trackside to find a suitable photo location! (As you do).

Hell's Kitchen of Castlerea.
Hell’s Kitchen of Castlerea.
This shunt signal is among the displays that caught my eye. Lumix LX3 photo.
This shunt signal is among the displays that caught my eye. Lumix LX3 photo.
Irish Rail's A55 is the locomotive on display in the Hell's Kitchen pub. Although the pub was closed, owner Sean Browne opened the doors for Noel Enright and I.
Irish Rail’s A55 is the locomotive on display in the Hell’s Kitchen pub. Although the pub was closed, owner Sean Browne opened the doors for Noel Enright and I.
Steam gauges, old badges, photos, and signaling apparatus and diagrams are among the many items on display.
Steam gauges, old badges, photos, and signaling apparatus and diagrams are among the many items on display.
Mixed in with ephemera from long closed Irish lines is a Conrail hard hat. Hooray!
Mixed in with ephemera from Irish lines is a Conrail hard hat. Hooray!

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Irish Rail's Dublin-Ballina works west of Ballyhaunis on March 13, 2014. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Irish Rail’s Dublin-Ballina works west of Ballyhaunis on March 13, 2014. Canon EOS 7D photo.

 

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