Waterford, Limerick and Western Railway

click for 3K .jpg image of WLWR coat of arms WLWR coa. Source: © Keldale Fine Art

History: Summary

Waterford and Limerick Railway [Incorporated 1845, Opened 9/5/1848 between Limerick and Tipperary [CEJF: with intermediate stations at Killonan, Pallas and Oola, Clonmel reached in April 1852, Fiddown a year after and Dunkitt in August 1853]. Waterford-Sallypark reached in 1854. [CEJF: The first train to run the full distance from Limerick was on 12/9/1854]] absorbed Limerick and Foynes (yet to build) in 1853 and Limerick and Ennis Railway in 1874, Athenry and Ennis Junction Railway plus Athenry and Tuam Railway in 1893(1894?). [CEJF: Worked the Limerick and Castleconnell Railway from 1858 and took it over in 1872. Worked the Waterford and Kilkenny Railway for a time, the Rathkeale and Newcastle Junction line, the Limerick and Kerry Railway and the Southern of Ireland Railway.] [KAM: The latter, the Southern of Ireland Railway, incorporated in 1865, with 28 miles of line between Thurles and Clonmel, opened in July 1880, was the last company to be absorbed into the GSR.] Became the Waterford, Limerick and Western Railway in 1896 after linking with Sligo via the Athenry and Tuam Extension to Claremorris Light Railway (independent unit absorbed by GSR in 1925) built 17 miles to Claremorris in 1894 and was further developed to join the MGWR at Colooney. Was the fourth largest railway in Ireland. Worked the Rathkeale and Newcastle Junction [1861] from 1867, the Limerick and Kerry [1873] from 1880, and the Tralee and Fenit [1880] from 1887. Route mileage in 1901 was 342 miles (only 32 double line). Operated boat services at Sallypark and Killaloe. [CEFJ: Having absorbed 11 different concerns it was] Absorbed by the GSWR on 1/1/1901.

Rolling stock: For opening six 2-2-2s from Stothert and Slaughter. Four engines taken over from contractor [CEJF: William Dargan]. First goods engines were 2 2-4-0s from Fairbairn in 1853. General duty 2-4-0s followed from Vulcan.When absorbed by the GSWR, 58 locomotives, mostly Dubs and Kitson with several Vulcan built, 159 coaches and 1350 wagons were transferred. Full details of locos and builders in CEJF. [CEJF: Earliest coaches, apart from some American style bogies, were 4 wheeler and later 6 wheelers and by 1900 composed the majority of passenger vehicles together with 4 bogie coaches (two with short corridors and toilet compartments). In 1900 there were 159 coaches, of which 60 were less than 10 years old. Many were electrically lighted and were converted bt the GSWR to gas.]
Works: Locomotive and carriage works in Limerick. No locos built there [CEJF: Works built a 0-4-2 in 1892, an 0-4-4 in 1894 and three 0-6-0s subsequently]. Maintained by GSWR after absorption. Used by CIE for wagon repairs.
Livery: Livery: Early liveries were colourful. Originally engines medium green, in 1870s changed to brown, lined light blue edged yellow, with brass nameplates, polished brass dome covers and copper chimney tops. In later years [CEJF: From 1889] passenger engines were crimson lake [CEJF: banded in black and] lined with gold, goods engines [CEJF: initially bore passenger livery but then] black lined red . The company's crest, displaying the arms of Waterford, Limerick, and Clonmel, quartered by a locomotive, appeared on the cab sides and tenders of selected locomotives. Coaching stock was the same lake colour as the passenger locomotives and wagons were black. 1904 (RM 10/1904, p.282) Loco and tender - lake, gold lining, goods - black with red panels and lining; coaches lake, lined gold; wagons black. [[CEJF: All locos were named and numbered.] Many ex-WLWR locos retained their original numberplates and round spectacle glasses with brass beading until the mid-1920s.
Staff: [CEJF:Chairmen were Earl of Glengall, Major Massey, John Connolly, William Malcomson for 12 years to 1872, Abraham Stephens, Thomas Synnot, Sir James Spaight and Percival Bernard.] The company had over a dozen loco superintendents, five before 1857. The first of note was M. Atcock 1861-1872. Others included T.Armitage for 18 months to 1877, H. Appleby 1882-1888 [CEJF: 1883-89], J.G. Robinson 1889-1900 (to Great Central Railway). First Secretary was W.S.Saunders 1845 [CEJF: drowned before opening] and last was J.J.Murphy. Others included J.F.Nicholl to, and M.J.Kennedy from, 1877.
Signalling: When compulsory, Tyer's on double lines, manual staffs on single lines. Signals originally red and white half disks. Used back to back signals (i.e. two arms for opposite directions on the same post) at level crossings. The Athenry & Ennis branch had a staff and ticket system in 1869. Staffs and tickets were: Gort-Athenry white triangular, white, Gort-Ennis blue square, blue.
Other: No gradient posts. Mileposts like little metal open notebooks spelling out 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4, without the number of miles. [CEJF: WLWR and GSWR stock used different kind of continuous brake and a second tube needed on WLWR vehicles after amalgamation. In early period, when line did not extend beyond Tipperary, a 4th class existed for passengers. Locos bore a round headboard with star for working to Sligo]

Further reading:H.C.Casserly Outline of Irish Railway History, K.A.Murray and D.B.McNeill The Great Southern and Western Railway, W.E.Shepherd "Athenry to Ennis" JIRRS 290, J.O'Meara "The Athenry and Tuam Railway" JIRRS 289, J.O'Neill "Waterford's five railways" JIRRS 1086, The Waterford and Limerick Railway, C.E.J.Fryer, 2000.

Coat of Arms

click for 8K .jpg image of WLWR coat of arms © Keldale Fine Art for orders

Official seal illustrated on p.72 of Fryer.

click for 10k WLWR monogram WLWR monogram. Source: © G. Hartley (scan RCJ)

click for 4K .jpg image of WLWR paintingMoore WLWR painting. Source: SRA397

Rolling Stock railwayana

Locomotive nameplates:

Works & tenderplates:

Carriage and wagon plates
click for 6K .jpg image of WLR axleboxWLR axlebox cover
click for 4K .jpg image of WLWR axleboxWLWR axlebox cover

Lineside and station railwayana


Bridge Restriction:

Bridge Numbers:



click for 7K .jpg image of WLWR station nameWLWR station name. Source: D.Cronin
DC remarks more likely WLWR than GSWR, the latter not being fond of enamel, except for bridge notices.
click for 5K .jpg image of WLWR fenderWLWR fender. Source: SRA397
click for 4K .jpg image of wlwr fender WLWR fender. Source: D. Cronin (Waterford exhibit)
click for 9K .jpg image of wlwr fender WLWR fender. Source: DC. (full image 56K)
Detail click for 10K .jpg image of wlwr detail. (full image 56K)
click for 2.5K .jpg image of SIR handbell Southern of Ireland Railway handbell. Source: TRA0507. (full image 11K)




Cutlery, china, ashtrays etc.:


click for 6.7K .jpg image of WLWR poster WLWR poster 1899. Source: ebay1208

click for 12K .jpg image of WLWR poster WLWR poster. Source: ebay409 (full image 30K).

click for 5.1K .jpg image of WLR TT. Waterford & Limerick timetable. Source: GCR709 (full image 8.3K).
click for 11K .jpg image of WLR share certificate Waterford and Limerick share certificate. Source: SRA915. (full image 22K).

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Page posted 27/7/1997. Revised 29/10/16

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