The railway station at Athlone serves the town of Athlone
in County Roscommom and County Westmeath.
The current station is situated at the junction of the
Dublin / Galway and the Dublin / Westport lines.
The mothballed Midland Great Western line
also runs into Athlone
but to a station on the other bank of the Shannon.
The Midland Great Western Railway arrived in Athlone in 1851,
and built its impressive station on the west bank of the River Shannon.
The station, which still stands, but out-of-use,
is a fine example of early Irish Railway architecture.
Designed by JS Mulvany (who also designed Dublin Broadstone station)
the first train ran into the station on 1 August 1851,
and the last on 13 January 1985.
The Great Southern and Western Railway arrived in Athlone a few years later
and built its station on the east bank of the River Shannon.
This station was designed by George Wilkinson and opened in 1859.
Both stations operated independently until they were merged in 1925.
Following the merger, the GS &WR station became a goods-only station,
and the M&GWR station took over all passenger services.
The M&GWR station closed on the 13 January 1985,
and all services were transferred to the GS&WR station,
which had been comprehensively renovated.
The WHITE BRIDGE x (Shannon Bridge)
This beautiful and graceful bridge, built in 1850,
spans the River Shannon.
In the centre is an opening span of 120 feet, which is now no longer used.
It is described in an official M&GWR guide thus:
”The construction is on the bowstring and lattice principle.
It is made entirely of iron, supported by twelve cylindrical piers,
and is 560 feet in extreme length, including two spans over roads
on either side of the River Shannon.
It consists of two spans including two of forty feet each,
the latter supported by a pier, formed by four cylinders,
supporting a swivel, which admits of the navigation of the adjacent opens."
The engineer GW Hemans and the contractors Fox and Henderson
incredibly built the bridge in under eighteen months.
The steel girders used in construction were shipped to Limerick,
and then delivered to the construction site by barge on the River Shannon.