Station Name: LISTOWEL

 

[Source: Roy Lambeth & Nick Catford]



Date opened: 20.12.1880
Location: West side of R552
Company on opening: Limerick and Kerry Railway
Date closed to passengers: 4.2.1963
Date closed completely: 11.6.1983
Company on closing: Córas Iompair Éireannl (CIE)
Present state: Station building extant and in private occupation. Platforms extant but the area between the platforms is partially infilled to form a road.
County: Co. Kerry
Date of visit: October 2006

Notes: After Limerick city had been connected to the Irish railway system in 1848, the onward link to Tralee was forged in three stages in the period 1858-80. Firstly, in 1858 the Limerick and Foynes Railway commenced operations via Ballingrane. This was followed some three years later by the Rathkeale and Newcastle Junction Railway from Newcastle to a junction with the Foynes line at Ballingrane; this opened on 1st January 1867.

In 1865 the Limerick and Kerry Railway was proposed and in the late 1870's the 43 mile line from Newcastle to Tralee was built. It was opened on 20th December 1880 with intermediate stations at Barnagh, Devon Road, Abbeyfeale, Kilmorna, Listowel, Lixnaw, Abbeydorney and Ardfert.

In 1902 the R.& N.J.R. and the L. & K.R. were absorbed into the Great Southern and Western Railway (G.S. & W.R.)

At its peak four passenger trains and one goods train operated daily to and from Limerick; however the early impetus failed to be maintained and after WW2 the future of the line looked bleak. In 1963 the passenger service was withdrawn although occasional passenger specials continued to use the line.

In 1972 goods trains ceased running through to Tralee and Newcastle reverted to its former role as terminus. After that, closure came in two stages. On 31st October 1975 the last revenue generating train entered Newcastle with one wagon of cement for a local firm. On 10th January 1977 freight services were withdrawn on the Listowel-Tralee section of the line.

Despite the campaign by the Limerick & Kerry Railway Society for the restoration of the line the axe finally fell in November 1987 with the issuing of an Abandonment order by the Board of C.I.E. Lifting of the track commenced in January 1988 and as the lifting progressed interest began to increase in the reuse of the track bed as a walkway and caravan trail.

Shannon Development undertook research on the feasibility of such an idea and commissioned a major study from Sustrans of Bristol. The study recommended the construction of the Great Southern Trail. All appeared to be going well when suddenly in the late spring of 1991 Shannon Development unexpectedly announced they hadn't the resources required to continue with the lead role in the project which was then shelved.

The line of the former railway is still owned by the CIE who have now allowed the Great Southern Trail to develop a number of walking sections along the route. Eventually it is hoped that the entire 53 mile line from Ballingrane Junction to Tralee will be accessible to the public. One of these is a two mile section of track to the west of Listowel Station

 

Listowel Station in 1988, shortly before the track was lifted



Listowel Station in October 2006
P
hoto by Roy Lambeth

Click on thumbnail to enlarge


 

 

 

[Source: Roy Lambeth & Nick Catford]


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