History of Heuston Transport

Heuston Station (Kingsbridge)

Heuston Station, formerly known as Kingsbridge station pre 1966 was built in 1846. It was intended to be the main terminus for the Great Southern and Western Railway. The first train to depart from Kingsbridge Station and travel to Carlow was packed with passengers. Attempts were made to connect the main termini Kingsbridge Station and Westland Row (now known as Pearse Station). This was later proven to be unsuccessful.

Back to Top

Early Steam

Steam locomotive – Picture courtesy of the Irish Railway Records Society

The first kind of vehicle used on Irish railways was the steam carriage. A steam carriage is simply an engine with a stage-coach body. Extra carriages could be added where needed. These steam carriages could be controlled from both the front and the back so that they wouldn’t have to be turned around for the return journey. Steam carriages were later known as rail motors. One of the more famous early steam carriages to grace the Great Southern and Western Railway was the 1857 Sprite which was designed by John Wakefield. It was intended to be used for departmental work on the railway however, it is unsure whether the Sprite ever terminated or departed from Kingsbridge Station.

The first known steam carriage that entered Kingsbridge station was the number 92 also nicknamed “the Cab”. This steam carriage was designed by Alexander McDonnell and began work in 1881 as a shuttle between Inchicore Works and Kingsbridge Station for their employees. The saloon was an all third class saloon which was entered from the rear. This steam carriage worked the Inchicore Works to Kingsbridge Station line until it was discontinued in 1945.

Back to Top

First Irish Rail Motor

GS&WR 100 Class at Kingsbridge – picture courtesy of the National Library Archives

The Great Southern and Western Railway introduced its first Irish rail motor which was designed by Robert Coey in 1904. This rail motor was known as no.1. It was originally used for the line between Goold’s Cross and Cashel Branch but was transferred to the Drumcondra link line which linked Amiens Street Station (now known as Connolly Station) and Kingsbridge Station.


This move turned out to be unsuccessful and was halted in 1912 however, the service returned briefly in 1998 as part of the renaissance of Dublin’s railways.</p

Back to Top

New Steam

GS&WR 700 Class – Picture courtesy of the Irish  Railway Records Society

Another rail motor that transported heavy goods from Kingsbridge Station to Cork yards was the GSR 201 class. This was a group of ten side tank locomotives designed by H.A. Ivatt in 1887. These locomotives were also known as J11 and were used up until the mid 1950’s. Other steam locomotives that terminated in Kingsbridge Station included the 700 class and the Sambo.

Back to Top

From Steam to Diesel

Between the years 1949 and 1960 a huge effort was made to try and introduce diesel locomotives and reduce the amount of steam locomotives on Irish railways. This was around the time CIÉ took over as the transport company in the Republic of Ireland. Around 80% of locomotives in Ireland were diesel by the end of 1960. Steam locomotives were pushed into the side-lines, only being used for transporting goods and other duties until the end of 1962 when steam locomotives were given the boot entirely in the Republic. This meant that only diesel locomotives would pass through Kingsbridge Station. This station would be renamed Heuston Station just four years later on the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Rising.

Back to Top