In its heyday, Mullingar was an important station on the old Midland Great Western Railway. Here, the large signal cabin controlled the junction between Sligo and Galway routes. There were goods yards and locomotive sheds. It was a busy place.
Today, it’s little more than a big station serving Irish Rail’s Sligo Line. Yet, vestiges of its former glory remain. While the double line junction at the Dublin-end of the station was removed in 2003, and the signal cabin ceased to function as a block post on the Sligo line in 2005, the cabin remains. So do the platforms for the old Galway Road.
The Galway road continues toward Athlone, but vanishes into the weeds after it leaves the station. It has been more than a decade since the last train traveled the line, and that was only the annual weed-spraying run.
Semaphores and other antique infrastructure dot the plant.
The arrival of locomotive 461 allowed me opportunity to photograph the signal cabin and the old Galway side of Mulligar Station.
For me this was a flashback. Not to the glory days of the Midland Great Western, but to the late 1990s early 2000s, when I first visited Mullingar. So much had changed since then, yet so much more remains at Mullingar than many other places on Irish Rail.
Here’s just a few photos from the many images I exposed on Sunday, March 23, 2014.
When photographing a special train, I like to make the first photograph of the day count as one of the best.
Railway Preservation Society Ireland operated locomotive 461 with an excursion from Dublin Connolly Station to Mullingar on the old Midland route.
This railway was built along the banks of the Royal Canal, and canal-side running characterizes the line.
Hugh Dempsey and I set out from Dublin about an hour ahead of the train, and selected this spot as one of the best.
The sun and clouds cooperated nicely. Yet, the extreme contrast of the scene require a bit of post-processing to control contrast. I made a variety of small changes to adjust the image, including both global and localized contrast adjustment.