Harcourt Street railway line

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Harcourt Street line
Harcourt St.jpeg
Harcourt Street terminus on the right, by George Wilkinson, 1858-59.
Type Commuter rail, Inter-city rail
Heavy rail
System CIÉ Railways Division
Status Now taken over by LUAS
Locale Ireland
Termini Harcourt Street
Bray Daly
Stations 10
Opened 10 July 1854
Closed 31 December 1958
Owner CIÉ Railways Division
Operator(s) CIÉ Railways Division
Character Tertiary
Rolling stock CIÉ 2600 Class
Line length 12.5-mile (20 km)
Number of tracks Double track
Track gauge 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) Irish gauge
Electrification Not electrified
Route map
Harcourt Street 1958
Ranelagh & Rathmines 1958
Milltown 1958
River Dodder
Dundrum 1958
Stillorgan 1958
Foxrock 1958
Carrickmines 1958
Loughlinstown River
Shankill 1958
Dublin-Rosslare railway line to Dublin
Woodbrook 1960
Bray Daly
Dublin-Rosslare railway line to Rosslare

The Harcourt Street railway line (Irish: Seanlíne Iarnróid Shráid Fhearchair) ran from Harcourt Street in Dublin through the southern suburbs to Bray.


Following the success of the Dublin and Kingstown Railway (D&KR), which opened on 17 December 1834, proposals for a second commuter railway were put forward. These plans proposed the building of a 12.5-mile (20 km) railway from Bray Daly, which opened on 10 July 1854 to initially terminate at Harcourt Road. (Harcourt Street Station was not built until 1859). The building of the line was done by two railway companies: The Dublin, Wicklow and Wexford Railway (DW&WR), who built the line from Dundrum to Bray and the Dublin, Dundrum and Rathfarnham Railway (DD&RR), who were to build the line from Harcourt Street to Dundrum. The latter failed to do so, and the 'Dublin & Wicklow Railway' took over the line works.

On 14 February 1900, a train from Enniscorthy failed to stop and went through the buffers and the wall of the station,[1] sending debris over Hatch Street. Nobody was killed, though the driver, William Hyland, had his right arm amputated at the scene. Another serious accident occurred on 23 December 1957 when two trains collided in thick fog just south of Dundrum station. The first train had slowed to a walking pace because of a cow on the line. The second train was allowed into the same section of a track due to an error by a signalman. Its driving cab was completely destroyed in the collision and the driver, Andrew Larkin, was killed instantly.[2]

In the 1950s, diesel gradually replaced steam in an effort to improve journey times as many passengers had by then forsaken the line due to a rapid and significant increase in private car ownership. CIE were also rapidly expanding their then new bus services in and around the railway.


The line, in red, in 1887

The 12.5-mile (20 km) route ran south, initially from a temporary terminus on Harcourt Road, serving the intermediate stations of Dundrum, Stillorgan, Carrickmines and Shankill. The new Harcourt Street station opened on 7 February 1859, along with a temporary platform at Foxrock.

Further new stations followed; Milltown (1860), Foxrock (1861), Rathmines & Ranelagh (1896, renamed Ranelagh in 1921). It joined the Westland Row line at Shanganagh Junction continuing to Woodbrook Halt (1910), which served the cricket ground on Sir Stanley Cochrane's estate. The Woodbrook Golf Club and Cricket Grounds later used this halt between 1920 and 1960. In October 2015, it was proposed to reopen Woodbrook as a station on the DART line between Shankill and Bray. In March 2017, it was announced that Woodbrook station will eventually be built.

One of the major engineering feats on the line was the Milltown Viaduct, or Nine Arches, which still stands today over the River Dodder.

Decision to close[edit]

The closed station, after having been sold in 1959 for £67,500

Following the Beddy Report of 1957, CIÉ began to realise that in an effort to save money, all the non-profitable rural railway branch lines would have to close. The Harcourt Street line was one of these unprofitable railway lines and so the decision to close the line was ultimately reached. In October 1958, CIÉ gave notice of the closure in the local papers. Many objections were raised by local people but to no avail. The last train, CIÉ 2600 Class AEC railcar number 2652, left Harcourt Street at 4:25pm on 31 December 1958. One interesting event that occurred was that when this train began crossing The Nine Arches Viaduct between Milltown and Dundrum, the staff of the nearby laundry turned out in force and blew sirens as the train crossed the viaduct for the last time. Following the closure, many of the stations were sold by public auction. The tracks were lifted between 1 January 1959 and September 1960.


The new William Dargan bridge at Dundrum

The route was preserved after closure, allowing for a potential future reopening. The route corridor remained mostly in-situ until the 2000s. The section between the Grand Canal crossing and the old Stillorgan station was chosen for use by the Luas light rail system whose Green Line opened in 2004. The line crosses Dundrum on the new William Dargan cable-stayed bridge.

An extension of the Luas to Cherrywood opened for passenger service on Saturday 16 October 2010, using most of the old railway alignment.[3][4][5] The route leaves the old alignment after Sandyford Depot to Central Park stop, crosses the M50 motorway and runs down Ballyogan Road with stops at Glencairn, The Gallops, Leopardstown Valley and Ballyogan Wood. It then crosses the M50 again, re-joining the original alignment at Racecourse (future) stop, west of Glenamuck Road. Continuing along the alignment it passes by the original Carrickmines station to Carrickmines stop and Brennanstown (future) stop. The Carrickmines stop incorporates Park and Ride facilities. The RPA has announced that the Brennanstown stop will not be opened due to lack of local development.[6] Beyond Brennanstown the route crosses open countryside, diverging slightly from, but paralleling the old alignment to Laughanstown stop, Cherrywood stop and ending at Bride’s Glen stop, adjacent to Dell.

The final extension to Fassaroe[7][8] will continue on the old alignment to Loughlinstown, just 1mile (1.5 km) short of the old Shanganagh Junction, before finally leaving the old route by turning south and paralleling the M11.

Visible remains[edit]

Several bridges, stations and much of the alignment have survived. These include the Harcourt Street Station, Dundrum, Stillorgan, Carrickmines and Shankill stations, Woodbrook Halt, the Nine Arches and Bride's Glen viaducts. No trace of Foxrock station remains as the building was demolished in 1991, other than the original passenger entrance to Leopardstown Racecourse beside the golf club main gates.


  • Mile posts on the Dublin - Wexford railway line, south of Shanganagh Junction, are still measured from Harcourt Street.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Home". Harcourt Street Train Crash. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. 
  2. ^ Department of Industry and Commerce, Dublin (12 March 1958). "Report of Inquiry into Accident on Railway System of Coras Iompair Eirann near Dundrum, Co. Dublin, on 23rd December 1957" (PDF). Railways Archive. 
  3. ^ "About Luas Line B1". Luas. Archived from the original on 25 January 2008. 
  4. ^ "Line B1 simple maps". Luas. Archived from the original on 29 March 2007. 
  5. ^ "Line B1 Railway Order, Environmental Impact Statement & detailed maps". Luas. Archived from the original on 22 January 2008. 
  6. ^ Gartland, Fiona (14 November 2009). "Luas trams will not stop at new Brennanstown station". Irish Times. 
  7. ^ "About Luas Line B2". Luas. Archived from the original on 12 January 2008. 
  8. ^ "Luas Line B2 map". Luas. Archived from the original on 5 January 2008. 

External links[edit]