© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011
The use of the high-speed catamaran ferries on the Holyhead
- Dublin run in the 1990s made day trips to Ireland relatively
painless. We could leave home at an (almost) reasonable hour
in the morning, and be back by midnight - or so the theory
went. Anyway, this was one of those trips, so to speak.
Well, of course, it has changed enormously - but much of the
original fabric of the works is still there and still in use.
We used a Dublin-area day rover ticket which, for a very
reasonable price, permitted travel over a fair part of the
suburban network. Purchased on arrival at Dun Laoghaire, we
began our explorations with a trip southwards on the 1500v DC
"DART" route, to Killiney. The weather was hardly suitable for the
beach there (neither were we, if it comes to it) so after a couple
of snaps, we headed north again to Connolly. Illustrated here are
181 class no. 184 beside the turntable (!), NIR no. 111 "Great
Northern" on a Belfast train.
Time now to see what was going on at Heuston. "Not a lot" would
be a fair comment. "River" class no. 214 departed in a paraffin
haze, and "071" class no 079 arrived. Back to Connolly!
Staying just a little while at the latter - "River" class no. 213
passing southbound with a very short freight - we caught another
DART service as far as Howth Junction, where 219 hurried
through on a Belfast train, and 079 trundled southbound on a
Navan mines train.
Next destination was Skerries, potentially a reasonable spot for
a few photos. However, reconstruction work on the up platform
meant a cluttered background. So, after a southbound push-pull,
in the hands of "121" class no 124, and a northbound Navan
mines train (073), we headed northwards again, to
Balbriggan, at the northern limit of our ticket.
We saw a fair bit of activity here, at this pleasant
coastal location with its fine viaduct. "141" class no. 158
worked a local train, then NIR-liveried no 208 ran
through on a Belfast - Dublin service. A couple of scenes
of the viaduct follow - one of the Japanese-built
"Arrow" units, and another GM diesel (can't read the
number!). Lastly, another push-pull, this time in the
hands of no. 127.
Time to work our way south now - but not before one
more stop on the former GNR(I) main line - this time at
Donabate, where the buildings are more-or less intact
and original. Here we saw no. 208 on its way back to
the north, followed by 074 on a Navan mines train. And
lastly, no. 189 on the train that would haul us back to
Dublin, thence to Dun Laoghaire on the DART, then back
to Holyhead and the car journey home. A busy day - but
plenty to see, a bit different from the run-of-the-mill,
and excellent value.
An Irish Trip:
Video action from Heuston to Balbriggan