A trip down a railway memory lane

A trip down a railway memory lane

The day of my 50th birthday is fast approaching and I continue with my trip down memory lane and recall some things that helped me fall in love with trains. 

Where I lived in Dublin was close to one of the mainline rail station out of Dublin to the West and South of Ireland. Places like Cork, Kerry, Galway, Mayo and Waterford were served by the train from Heuston Station and still are today. My second job after I left school would see me get a job on the trains. And as I loved trains this was probably the best job for me to start my working life. Meeting people every day and working on something I loved. 

I got to travel to Westport in Mayo most days before moving over to the Dublin – Belfast line for about a year and needed my career on the railways working relief shifts on Dublin to Galway, Waterford and Sligo. I got to travel on nearly every inch of track in Ireland over my 3 years working on the train and it was a wonderful experience. 

But my love of trains started well before my working life started. The railway being beside me helped and getting a Lima model railway set for Christmas one year certainly helped. I had pictures on my wall of trains and I vaguely remember train wallpaper in my bedroom too. 

We went on a family holiday to Wales and got to go on a steam train and of course the Isle of Man had all sorts of railway stuff, steam trains, vintage electric and horse drawn trams. I just loved tracks and it’s something I still notice as I drive from place to place. 

Last summer on our drive to Michigan from Atlanta, and even though the day was tinged with grief (more about this on Friday), I noticed railway tracks wherever I could. Detroit was great for that and driving around I got to see and get an idea of how busy it must have been as a rail kink years ago.  

Well my love of railways will now manifest itself into probably one of my life bucket list items, a model railway layout in our basement. I had a small layout back home but I had to leave all my railway stuff behind when I made the move to the USA in 2015. 

On the Tracks

As a young child growing up in Ireland, I was always fascinated by trains. I was lucky enough to live in Inchicore, a part of Dublin which even today is steeped in railroad history. I am not a historian but if anyone wants to read a bit of the history of where I grew up have a look at the following link.
Inchicore on Wiki

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Inchicore Village

Anyway, yet again I ramble off somewhere else other than what this post is about. There will be lots more about the town where I lived in later posts.

Back to the railway, as I lived in Inchicore, I was right beside the mainline West and South out of Dublin. Trains to Cork, Killarney, Waterford, Galway and Westport all left from Heuston and passed through Inchicore as they departed the city. I was also beside the Inchicore Railway works, which was a massive area of Inchicore and gave lots of employment to the area at one stage. Again, I am not a historian, so feel free to follow the link above which will help.

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Heuston Station

As a young man I got a job on the railways for 3 years before I joined the military and it was a tough decision to leave as I loved the trains and the job, but in 1987 Ireland, the Defence Forces offered full pensionable employment while the railway couldn’t.

Now here I am living in the USA and once again I find myself living right beside the railroad. The CSX line out of Atlanta runs right by the house and to hear the train horns every couple of hours is immense. As I grew up beside the tracks it’s easy to block out the sounds so a good night’s sleep isn’t interrupted. 

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CSX Freight Train

As I walk the dogs everyday down Peachtree Creek, I cross the tracks and nearly every day I get to see a huge CSX freight train pass by, these trains are about a mile long and in Ireland there is really nothing to compare. As someone who loves trains, the sounds of the wheels on the Tracks and the horn blowing from the engine always illicits a smile on my face. And the funny thing is, just as I typed that another train blows its horn as it approaches the level crossing.

I am possibly one of the few car drivers who is never disappointed when the lights start flashing red on the level crossing and the gates go down to signal a train is about to come across the road.

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CSX Engine

One of my dream trips will be to go across America by rail, taking in some of the most iconic rail trips available. But for now I have to be satisfied by hearing and seeing these fantastic machines daily.