Railway Station

Originally a station on the Great Southern and Western Railway, Portlaoise Railway Station cost upwards of 5,000 to build. Designed by Sancton Wood and characteristically Gothic in style, it was made out of local limestone.

Portlaoise (Maryborough) Station opened in 1847 with the completion of the line from Dublin. It became a junction 20 years later in 1867 when the Waterford & Kilkenny Railway extended its line northwards through Abbeyleix, following the route of the Kilkenny Junction Railway. The railway from Waterford to Maryborough then became known as the Waterford & Central Ireland Railway.

The history of the other lines joining the Dublin-Cork mainline needs a little explanation. Maryborough was a busy railway junction. Up to 1940 it had three signal cabins, North, South and Conniberry Junction - where the Mountmellick Branch left the spur to the GS&WR station from the W&CIR line.

In 1866 a Bill was presented to Parliament for the construction of the Central Ireland Railway, from the Kilkenny Junction Railway at Maryborough, to Mullingar - a distance of 35 miles. The line was to be completed in three stages; firstly from Maryborough to Mountmellick, then to Geashill and lastly to Mullingar. Junctions were to be made at Maryborough with the GS&WR mainline to Cork, at Geashill with that company's Athlone branch, and finally the MGWR mainline at Mullingar.

It was hoped to capture MGWR traffic for cross-channel shipping through the port of Waterford, and this scheme had the backing of the GWR in Britain. However, because of opposition from the GS&WR, the scheme was cut short and only the Mountmellick section was built. The cost of the scheme was also considered excessive, so much so that the likely additonal traffic would not have justified the expense of building the line through to Mullingar

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