Great Southern Railways

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Great Southern Railways
De Valera train, Kingsbridge, Dublin City, Co. Dublin. (37599109282).jpg
Special train at Kingsbridge (Heuston) in 1938
Dates of operation 1 January 1925–31 December 1944
Predecessor Midland Great Western Railway
Great Southern and Western Railway
Dublin and South Eastern Railway
Cork, Bandon and South Coast Railway
and others[1]:13-14
Successor CIÉ Railways Division (1945-1987)
Irish Rail (1987-present)
Track gauge

5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)

3 ft (914 mm)
Length 854 miles (1,374 km)[citation needed]

The Great Southern Railways Company (often Great Southern Railways, or GSR) was an Irish company that from 1925 until 1945 owned and operated all railways that lay wholly within the Irish Free State (the present-day Republic of Ireland).

The period was difficult with rising operating costs and static to failing income. The early part of the period was soon after infrastructure losses of the Irish Civil War. The Emergency or Second World War at the end of the period saw shortages of coal and raw materials with increased freight traffic and restricted passenger traffic.[1]:11-20

History[edit]

Formation[edit]

Provision for the creation of the company was made by the Railways Act 1924, which mandated the amalgamation (in the case of the four major railway companies) and absorption (of the 22 smaller companies) of all railways wholly within the Irish Free State. Only cross-border railways, most notably the Great Northern Railway (GNR), remained outside its control.[1]:13-14

The Great Southern and Western Railway Company, the Midland Great Western Railway Company of Ireland and the Cork, Bandon and South Coast Railway Company agreed to terms for amalgamation, forming the Great Southern Railway Company by way of the Railways (Great Southern) Preliminary Amalgamation Scheme of 12 November 1924 (SI no. 31 of that year).[1]:13-15

The Great Southern Railways Company was formed when the fourth major company, the Dublin and South Eastern Railway (DSER), joined these companies under the Great Southern Railways Amalgamation Scheme of 1 January 1925 (SI no. 1 of that year) and the Great Southern Railways Supplemental Amalgamation Scheme, also 1925. The DSER was substantially British owned and had wished to merge with the GNR but was overruled.[1]:13-15

The smaller companies were absorbed under several successive statutory instruments.[1]:13-15

List of companies amalgamated to form Great Southern Railway/Great Southern Railways
Company[2] Operator Gauge Route Miles Locomotives[1]:350 Notes
Argina Colliery Extension Railway CLR 3 ft (914 mm)    4   0 [3]
Athy Wolfhill Colliery Railway GSWR 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)   12   0
Athenry and Tuam Extension Railway GSWR 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)    17   0 [4]
Bantry Extension Railway (CBSCR) CBSCR 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)    11   0 Operated by Cork, Bandon and South Coast Railway
Ballinrobe and Claremorris Light Railway MGWR 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)    12   0 Nominally 12 miles
Baltimore Extension Railway CBSCR 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)    8   0
Castlecomer Railway GSWR 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)   12   0 Nominally 12 miles
Cavan and Leitrim Railway (CLR) CLR 3 ft (914 mm)   59   9
Clonakilty Extension Railway CBSCR 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)    9   0
Cork, Bandon and South Coast Railway (CBSCR) CBSCR 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)   94  20
Cork, Blackrock and Passage Railway (CPBR) CBPR 3 ft (914 mm)   16   4
Cork and Macroom Direct Railway (CMDR) CMDR 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)   24   5 CMDR tried to avoid joining GSR by physical independence[1]:174
Cork and Muskerry Light Railway (CMLR) CMLR 3 ft (914 mm)   11   7
Cork City Railways 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)    1   0 Tramway connecting docks, CBSCR and GSWR, mileage nominal[5]
Donoughmore Extension Light Railway CMLR 3 ft (914 mm)   8   0
Dublin and Kingstown Railway DSER 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)    6   0
Dublin and South Eastern Railway (DSER) DSER 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)  161  41 Route mileage may include closures and operational track
Fishguard & Rosslare Railways & Harbours Company GSWR 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)  104   0 50% joint GSR/Great Western Railway
Great Southern and Western Railway (GSWR) GSWR 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm) 1100 326 Route mileage may include closures and operational track
Loughrea and Attymon Light Railway MGWR 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)    9   0
Midland Great Western Railway (MGWR) MGWR 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)  538 139 Route mileage may include closures and operational track
South Clare Railway WCR 3 ft (914 mm)   0
Schull and Skibbereen Railway (SSR) SSR 3 ft (914 mm)    15   4 Company was West Carberry Tramways and Light Railways Co. Ltd.
Southern of Ireland Railway GSWR 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)   28   0 [6]:79
Timoleague and Courtmacsherry Light Railway (TCLR) TCLR 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)    9   2
Tralee and Dingle Light Railway (TDLR) TDLR 3 ft (914 mm)   38   8
Tralee and Fenit Railway GSWR 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)    7   0 Mileage nominal
West Clare Railway (WCR) WCR 3 ft (914 mm)   27  11
Waterford and Tramore Railway (WTR) WTR 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)    7   4

Buses and hotels[edit]

From 1929, when it acquired a stake in the Irish Omnibus Company, the company also ran bus services. These operations became the responsibility from 1 January 1934 of the Great Southern Railways Omnibus Department. In 1990 the hotel group was transferred from Córas Iompair Éireann to Aer Rianta where it remained until 2006. The hotel group formed by the company, Great Southern Hotels, continued to bear the company's name until its privatisation in 2006. Only the Sligo hotel continues to use the Great Southern name as of 2016.

Rosslare[edit]

CIÉ previously maintained a full online list of the twenty five companies which constituted the Great Southern Railways in 1925.[2] This is not entirely accurate, as it includes the Fishguard & Rosslare Railways & Harbours Company which still exists today, although GSR took over 50% of its shares upon its creation, the other 50% being held by the UK Great Western Railway. The respective shareholdings in the company, now essentially a shelf company, are held today by Iarnród Éireann and Stena Line. [1]

Transfer to CIÉ[edit]

The Transport Act 1944 dissolved the Company and transferred its assets, together with those of the Dublin United Transport Company to Córas Iompair Éireann, from 1 January 1945.

Route Network[edit]

In 1925 the total route network was 2,181 miles (3,510 km) and by 1944 this has only reduced slightly to 2,042 miles (3,286 km). The stretch of line that was double track had reduced from 438 miles (705 km) to 276 miles (444 km) in the same period.[1]:343

Locomotives and Rolling Stock[edit]

Locomotives[edit]

A wide variety of locomotives and rolling stock was inherited from the constituent companies. 1925 records show 526 broad and 41 narrow gauge steam locomotives remaining inherited from the originating companies.[1]:350 Locomotives were renumbered into the GSR class number scheme whereby the lowest numbered engine in the class was used as the class identity. There was a parallel Inchicore scheme that used a letter to indicate the axle layout and a number to designate different groups within the class.

When the GSR passed into CIÉ at the end of 1944 the total number of broad gauge steam locomotives was about 475 of which 58 had been built by GSR. About 28 narrow gauge steam locomotives remained.[1]:350

Rolling Stock[edit]

The total number of passenger vehicles including post office, parcel, and brakes vans was 1670 in 1925, reducing to 1337 by 1944.[1]:343

Railcars[edit]

The GSR introduced four Sentinel steam railcars in 1928 with the power unit similar to the GSR Class 280, operating range of over 150 miles (240 km) and a passenger capacity for 55. All were withdrawn in the early 1940s. A subsequent order from Claytons in 1928 were less successful and withdrawn in 1932, a model exists in the Fry railway collection. Four Drewry petrol powered railcars of which two were narrow gauge were also introduced around 1927, with all four also being withdrawn by the mid 1940s.[1]:298—307,380. The innovative Drumm Battery Train was successfully operated on the DublinBray route from 1932.

Senior People[edit]

General Manager
Chief Mechanical Engineer/Locomotive Superintendent[7]
  • J. R. Bazin (1925—1929)
  • W. H. Morton (1930—1932)
  • A. W. Harty (1932—1937)
  • Edgar Craven Bredin (1937—1942)
  • J. M. Ginnetty (1942—1944)
  • C.F. Tindall (1944)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Clements, Jeremy & McMahon, Michael (2008). Locomotives of the GSR. Newtownards: Colourpoint Books. ISBN 978-1-906578-26-8.
  2. ^ a b "LIST OF RAILWAY COMPANIES WHICH WERE ABSORBED WITH THE GREAT SOUTHERN RAILWAYS IN 1925". Córas Iompair Éireann. Archived from the original on 10 April 2013.
  3. ^ "New railway line for Cavan". RTÉ. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  4. ^ "Athenry and Tuam Extension to Claremorris Railway". Grace's Guide to British Industrial History. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  5. ^ Langford, John (June 2008). "CORK CITY RAILWAYS". Irish Railway Record Society (166). Archived from the original on 30 November 2017.
  6. ^ Casserley, H. C. (1974). Outline of Irish Railway History (PDF). David & Charles. ISBN 0715363778. Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 April 2018.
  7. ^ "Great Southern Railway(s)". Irish Railwayana. Retrieved 11 April 2018.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]