Great Southern and Western Railway

click for 7K .jpg image of coat of arms Coat of Arms. Source: D.Parker

History: Summary

The Great Southern and Western Railway [1846] was sanctioned in 1844, had its first trains running in 1846 and reached Cork in 1849. It bought the Cork and Youghal Railway [1854] in 1866, absorbed the Cork and Limerick Direct Railway [1860] in 1871, bought the Castleisland Railway [1872] in 1879. Absorbed two railways which had yet to build, the Dublin and Baltinglass Junction Railway and the Killorglin Railway in 1881. Bought the Kanturk and Newmarket Railway [1889] in 1892 and the Clara and Banagher [1890], formerly the Midland Counties and Shannon Junction Railway [1884]. Absorbed the Waterford, Dungarvan and Lismore Railway [1878] plus Waterford and Wexford Railway [1882] in 1898, the Waterford and Central Ireland Railway and the Mithchelstown and Fermoy Railway [1891] in 1900, and Waterford Limerick and Western Railway in 1901. Completed the Drumcondra and North Dublin Link in 1901. The company owned hotels at Killarney (opened 11/7/1854), Carragh Lake, Kenmare, Waterville and Parknasilla, smaller commercial hotels at Limerick Jct. (1856-1927), Cork (1894-1930) and Kingsbridge (mid 1870s-1914), and small unlicensed hotels at Killarney and Parknasilla. It had refreshment rooms at Limerick Jct. (1852) with the number up to a dozen by 1901. Breakfast, lunch and tea baskets were also provided. With the Midland and Great Western Railway and Cork, Bandon and South Coast Railway, became Great Southern Railway in 1924.

Rolling stock: During initial decade all locos supplied by private builders. When its own works in Inchicore got into production in 1852, it supplied most of the company needs. 90% of the 400 locos between 1852 and 1924 came from Inchicore. 200 cattle wagons from Oldbury and Metropolitan in 1876.
Works: Inchicore (covered 30 acres in 1876 with 1200 men employed). The Cork and Youghal works at Midleton was closed in 1877.
Livery: Standard livery for passenger stock was purple lake of a dark shade with lines of yellow and vermillion. Lettering was gold with red shading. In the early 1900s some coaches had upper cream panels. The crest, incorporating the arms of Dublin, Cork, Kilkenny and Limerick, appeared on the side of all coaching stock. Wagons were painted black. Engines were black also in 1904. [Baker: post 1916] Locos dark grey (often quoted black) with red and white lining. Carriages claret (deep purple) with yellow and red lining, gold lettering and nos. with company crest in centre of lower panels. No indication of ownership on locos or tenders, brass numberplates. Wagons grey.
Staff: Loco superintendants or chief mechanical engineers were J. Dewrance 1844-1847 G.M. Miller 1847, A. MacDonnell 1864, J.A.F. Aspinall 1883, H.A. Ivatt 1886, R. Coey 1896, R.E.L. Maunsell 1911, E.A. Watson 1913, J.R. Bazin 1921-1924. Secretaries were William Taylor 1844, Daniel Molloy 1870, Francis B. Ormsby 1880, Robert Crawford 1911. General managers were G.Ilbery 1844, R.G.Colhoun 1888, C.H.Dent 1903, E.A.Neale 1913
Signalling: By 1892 almost all movements protected by the block system. Harper's double line instruments were used on the main line east (or north) of Ballybrophy and Preece's to the west: single lines were controlled by Webb-Thompson ETS instruments. [First employed ETS on Mitcheltown branch in 1891, next Naas-Tullow 3/8/91. Source: Railway & Telecommunications, Tom Wall IRRS601][JOM: + single engine in steam, train staff and ticket and Tyers in 1915 Kilmacthomas-Durrow in place of ETS].

Further reading: K.A. Murray and D.B. McNeill The Great Southern and Western Railway, R.N.Clements and J.M.Robbins The ABC of Irish Locomotives, J.O'Meara "The GSWR in 1915" JIRRS 1095.

Coat of Arms

click for 18K coa in .jpg format The coa in Malahide

Coat of arms

Rolling Stock railwayana (see supplementary page on GSWR rolling stock railwayana for full details)

Locomotive number plates:

click for 12K .jpg image of GSWR number plateGSWR 60 plate. Source: D.Cronin

See supplementary GSWR rolling stock railwayana page for additional number plate

Works & tenderplates:
click for 4K .jpg image of GSWR makers' plateGSWR 1905 makers' plate (full image 14K)

See supplementary GSWR rolling stock railwayana page for additional name and number plates

Wagon plates, etc.:

click for 7K .jpg image of GSWR axleboxGSWR axlebox 1

See supplementary GSWR rolling stock railwayana page for additional axleboxes, wagonplates, etc.

Lineside and station railwayana (see supplementary page on GSWR lineside railwayana for full details)

GSWR, wooden 300 cms, Mallow. (See supplementary GSWR lineside railwayana page for footbridge)

click for 8K .jpg image of footbridgeGSWR, wooden, Charleville. Source: D.Cronin

Bridge Restriction:

Bridge Numbers:


click for 11K .jpg image of GSWR gateAnother GSWR gate. Source:

GSWR 'No Thoroughfare'.

See supplementary GSWR lineside railwayana page and additional gate & trespass notices etc.

click for 4K .jpg image of GSWR TT headerGSWR TT header. Source: D.Cronin (full image 18K)

See supplementary GSWR lineside railwayana page for station name

click for 9K .jpg image of 1/4 GSWR milepostGSWR 1/4. Source: SRA600 (See supplementary GSWR lineside railwayana page for additional mileposts)



Single line signalling instrument, Mallow North

GSWR? signal/gate? LM&RS maker, Welch pattern burner.

See supplementary GSWR lineside railwayana page for lamps and signalling instrument

Mallow Nth. apparatus - Fry

Cutlery, china, ashtrays etc.:

click for 5K .jpg image of GSWR matGSWR mat. Source: D.Cronin
GSWR landmine type. (See supplementary GSWR lineside railwayana page for photo)
click for 10K .jpg image of GSWR postcardsGSWR official postcards. Source: SRA1296

blue ball Return to Index page, or go to GSWR subpage, GSWR rolling stock railwayana. blue ball

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Page posted 27/7/1997. Revised 25/9/04

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