Railways 3: Sallins-Baltinglass-Tullow

The Railway to Tullow

The promotion of railway development in the Dublin, South Kildare and Carlow region began in 1861. In that year the Great Southern and Western Railway considered building a line from Carlow to Tullow and Newtownbarry (Bunclody). In 1864, an Act was passed for a railway line from the Great Southern and Western Railway at Sallins, to Baltinglass through Naas and Dunlavin. This plan did not materialise. A plan for a direct line from Dublin to Baltinglass did not come to fruition either. It was not until 1881 that the Great Southern and Western Railway revived the idea for a line from Sallins to Baltinglass.

The Great Southern and Western Railway Act was passed in 1881. A line from Sallins to Baltinglass was authorised and Robert Worthington of Dublin was the contractor. Work began in March 1883. It was completed as far as Baltinglass by September 1885.

Robert Worthington also extended the railway to Tullow. The line ran along the valley of the River Slaney. It commenced in the townland of Baltinglass West in the parish of Baltinglass and terminated in the townland of Tullowphelim in County Carlow.

The railway was scheduled to pass through the following townlands situated in County Carlow: Mountneill, Waterstown, Patrickswell, Rathvilly, Ballyoliver, Ballybit Big, Ballybit Little, and Tuckamine in the parish of Rathvilly, Broughillstown and Bough in the parish of Rahill; Ricketstown South, Rathdaniel, Raheenadaw in the parish of Kineagh and Kilmagarvogue, Tankardstown, Rathlyon, Butlersgrange and Tullowphelim.

Landowners along the route received payment for lands taken over by the railway. The arbitrator in charge of payments was George Posnett. The line to Tullow opened on June 1st, 1886. Rathvilly was the only intermediate station. The entire route from Sallins to Tullow featured intermediate stations at Naas, Harristown, Dunlavin, Colbinstown, Grangecon, Baltinglass and Rathvilly.

Regular passenger services were terminated on the line in January 1947. It was finally closed on April 1st 1959.

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