by jdurney on July 13, 2012


SATURDAY, JUNE 13, 1885.


On Tuesday General Hutchinson, on behalf of the Board of Trade, inspected the new line between Sallins and Baltinglass. The occasion was one of very considerable interest, not merely from a purely commercial point of view, but because the extension is one that opens up a most beautiful and picturesque country. The line is twenty four and a half miles in length, is built by the well-known contractor, Mr. R. Worthington, J.P., and the cost is about £120,000. From Sallins to Naas the line is double. When the Prince of Wales visited Punchestown he travelled over portion of the way; and racing men, to say nothing of the general public, are bound to appreciate the advantages which that part of the branch presents. At Naas there is a very pretty and substantial station of black limestone and granite dressings. Nothing could be much better than the way in which it has been arranged. The waiting room, the booking-office, &c., are all neat, well-lighted and airy; and here, as at the other stations, a good store of stone completes a really admirable set of buildings. The station-master’s residences are in each case capital specimens of work, both as far as design is concerned and as regards the substantial and workmanlike way in which they have been built. At Naas and at Harristown they are of brick, and at Dunlavin, Collinstown and Baltinglass the material is stone. Harristown station is six miles from Naas, Dunlavin is the next and there are about five and a-half miles between that and Baltinglass. The original contract included twenty-five bridges, but it was subsequently found necessary to erect no fewer than twenty-nine additional, in order fully to accommodate the country people passing to and from the different districts intersected by the line. It is not an exaggeration to say that these fifty-four bridges have been very well contrived, and that they may challenge criticism, so far as their form and general treatment are concerned. They are all either of iron or stone. The ironwork is by Courtney, Stephens, and Bailey and one need scarcely add that they are of good workmanship. The Liffey bridge is not only the most elaborate of all, but it is the most remarkable, from the fact that it happens to cross the river at a point of the most singularly picturesque beauty, and one that to travellers is certain to be the centre of a great amount of admiration. This bridge is nearly 309 feet long. There are five spans or arches 46 feet each, reaching about 40 feet above the river bed. It is all built of stone. It cost about £10,000, and the Ballyknocken quarries supplied the granite. It should be mentioned that at each station there is a large cattle-loading dock and cattle pens to meet the requirements of fairs. The work was carried out under Mr. Kenneth Bailey, Chief Engineer of the Great Southern and Western Railway, and Mr. Benjamin Fleming, C.E. The contractor’s engineer is Mr. Thompson, who was assisted by Mr. Everett and Mr. Fletcher. The work was commenced just two years and six months ago. It has given a great amount of employment, the average number of men employed being about 1,263. The contract was something under £100,000 for building the line. This, however, did not include the twenty-nine additional bridges already alluded to, nor, of course, the rails and sleepers. Some of the cuttings, especially those between Harristown and Dunlavin, and between Naas and Harristown — were difficult enough. It may be mentioned incidentally that the hedges of “quick fence” have been supplied by Mr. William Shepherd, of Dundrum, whose contract gave the opportunity for affording a considerable amount of employment, and has been most satisfactorily carried out.
General Hutchinson was accompanied by Mr. Bailey, C.E.; Mr. J. M. Burke, assistant engineer; Mr. J. A. Aspinall, locomotive engineer; Mr. Robt. Worthington, J.P., contractor; Mr. Samuel Worthington, contractor. Mr. Ilberry, Mr. Thompson, and other gentlemen. The inspector very carefully examined the line, stopping at various portions of it, and in nearly every case availing himself of the opportunity of expressing his satisfaction at the way in which the work was carried out. If an unprofessional opinion may be ventured on the subject, it is no exaggeration to say that a more admirably constructed line is not to be found in the country. It certainly looked most perfect, and presented every evidence of having had careful and skilful judgement exercised in the completion of even the most trifling details. The line will be opened on the 15th instant.
The extension to Tullow is proceeding apace. It will be ten miles of a single line, and will be finished in about ten months.


An article from the Kildare Observer of 13 June 1885 on the Sallins and Baltinglass extension rail line

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