Irish Rail’s Nenagh Branch

Roscrea Revisited—August 2014.

I first visited Roscrea in August 1998. Denis McCabe was giving me a tour of rural Irish stations, and we stopped there to intercept the branch passenger train running from Ballybrophy to Limerick.

Back then the train consisted of an 071 diesel, a steam heating van and two ancient looking Cravens carriages. It was a cloudy morning.

Fast forward to August 2014, and Denis and I made a return visit to Roscrea. While I’ve visited this rural station on several occasions in the intervening years, what struck me was how little the station and its environs have changed.

Irish Rail station at Roscrea, County Tipperary in August 2014. Exposed with a Lumix LX7. (And yes, I also made a color slide, for the sake of modal consistency and archival longevity.)
Irish Rail station at Roscrea, County Tipperary in August 2014. Exposed with a Lumix LX7. (And yes, I also made a color slide, for the sake of modal consistency and archival longevity.)

The old signal cabin is still open and active; the mechanical semaphores remain as I remember them, the station building seems unchanged. Compared to many of the station I visited in 1998, this is one of the few that still looks the same. The Celtic Tiger years didn’t result in unnecessary uglification—er, I mean improvement—to Roscrea.

In 2004, Irish Rail replaced the traditional locomotive-hauled steam-heated Cravens with a more modern railcar. Today 2800-series railcars in the latest green and silver paint work the Nenagh Branch. Exposed with a Canon EOS-7D.
In 2004, Irish Rail replaced the traditional locomotive-hauled steam-heated Cravens with a more modern railcar. Today 2800-series railcars in the latest green and silver paint work the Nenagh Branch. Exposed with a Canon EOS-7D with 100mm lens.
Exposed with Lumix LX7.
Exposed with Lumix LX7.

On the downside, you must know where the station is in the village. I don’t think there was any sign off the Motorway or in the town itself giving any hint of an active railway station there. It’s a real pity too. The Nenagh Branch is one of those throwbacks to another age. Unsung, unloved, and largely ignored, it soldiers on in a world that time forgot.

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Tomorrow: Old Budd Cars Never Rust.