History of the West Cork Railway Line

  • Construction of Railway between 1851 & 1893
  • Opened 1849, then named Cork & Bandon Railway.
  • Name Change 1888 Cork, Bandon & South Coast Railway.
  • 1924 Part of Great Southern Railway.
  • 1945 Consolidated into C.I.E.

West Cork Railway line is a linking theme in the Model Village.The West Cork Line was one of the first to be opened outside of the main urban centres.
Clonakilty had been waiting several years for it’s rail connection & the line was finally constructed in 1886.

In 1961 a decision was taken by the then Government to close the entire West Cork Line because they believed it was uneconomical to run. Almost immediately bridges were demolished & the rail lines taken up & sold off to Nigeria who was constructing a railway at that time

Clonakilty Railway Station (1886-1961)

All the principal towns of West Cork, with the exception of Clonakilty were joined by rail to Cork by 1881. The “Clonakilty Extension Railway Company” was formed with Thomas Wright and T.J Canty as the chief promoters. The famous William Dargan was the contractor and work commenced in 1884. The Clonakilty Extension Railway Company operated up until 1924 when it amalgamated with the Great Southern Railway.

The line opened for public transport on August 2 8th 1886. Clonakilty Railway built up on the steep MacCurtain Hill. The Clonakilty locomotives came from Derry city. Two engines were bought for 750 pounds and 600 pounds, and were brought in Cork in June and stored in Glanmire Station. They were brought over to the Albert Quay Station (which was on the other side of the River Lee) on floats. In the great amalgamation of 1945, the station along with all the other Bandon Stations was taken over by the newly formed CLE.

The Stationmasters house is nearby which was built at the same time as the station. The goods shed lies across from the station. The station was finally closed in 1961 when the whole line was closed.

The line was closed due to a major rationalisation plan by CLE. The railway declined because of a new bus service, wider availability of private transport and the gradual deterioration of the line because of economic unprofitability.

Up until its closure in 1961, Clonakilty was one of the busiest terminus on the West Cork line. It was a major beet centre for West Cork and also in the fifties a mecca for GAA supporters.

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