Freight Trains of the Past

Remembering Irish Rail’s Athy Cement.

A few weeks ago, Ciarán Cooney asked me about photos I’d made of Irish Rail’s Athy Cement. This used to run weekdays from the cement factory near Limerick to a cement silo off a short branch that crossed the River Barrow in Athy, County Kildare. It was the only train to use this branch.

On several occasions, I’d made the effort to photograph this train, which tended to arrive laden in the very early morning, then depart empty after it had discharged. Most of the times I saw it, it ran with a single Bo-Bo General Motors diesel (class 141 or 181).

I caught it crossing the Barrow at Athy on a fine spring morning, May 3, 2002.

 Exposed with a Nikon F3 with 85mm lens on Fujichrome Sensia 100 slide film.

Exposed with a Nikon F3 with 85mm lens on Fujichrome Sensia 100 slide film.

That was more than 11 years ago, but it doesn’t seem so long.I think I last photographed this train about 2005, shortly before it was discontinued. While cement trains worked Irish Rail for a few more years, they are now extinct.

Exposed with a Nikon F3 with 85mm lens on Fujichrome Sensia 100 slide film.

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One comment on “Freight Trains of the Past

  1. Peter rigney on said:

    The viaduct is pre cast concrete, the branch was built in 1916/17 and ran to the coal mines at wolfhill, at a time of coal shortages. Unlike most Irish branch lines it never carried passenges