Great Northern Railway of Ireland

by John Hinson

Monagham Street signal box
Photograph 12/58, from the collection of Dr. J W F Scrimgeour

As the Armagh to Warrenpoint line passes through Newry, it crosses numerous level crossings. Depicted here is Monaghan Street, but visible further down the line are two more - at either end of Edward Street station. Monaghan Street box was located between Newry South (at Edward Street) and King Street; It was not a block post.

King Street was the junction where the Warrenpoint and Grrenore lines diverged, and just beyond the junction were the other two stations serving Newry - Dublin Bridge on the Warrenpoint line and Bridge Street towards Greenore.

The picture is taken from the footplate of a steam locomotive running tender first, but a diesel service waits in the other platform at the station. The latter cannot be due to depart yet, as the Monaghan Street crossing keeper has not cleared his signal for that train.

Notice that the arms of that signal appear to be of differing lengths. The shorter arm of the lower (distant) arm may signify that it applies to a crossing and not a block post.

The architecture of this cabin is broadly similar to Belfast North, although in this example the decorative curved upper corners to the windows are more visible.

The Goraghwood - Warrentpoint line closed in 1965 leaving Newry as by by far the largest town in Ireland without rail services of any kind. The former Bessbrook station on the main Dublin - Belfast line was re-opened in 1984 and named Newry.

The trackbed from Goraghwood to Newry (Edward Street) has been preserved and may yet re-open at some stage in the future. The line onwards to Warrenpoint has been almost entirely obliterated by a combination of shopping centres, a dual carriageway and other developments.

Incidentally there was also an electric tramway from Edward Street to Bessbrook which passed under the Craigmore viaduct not far from the present Newry station.

Compiled from notes by Dr. J W F Scrimgeour and Tony Gray

About the photographs

Comments about this article should be addressed to John Hinson