Today we went to visit Clara Train Station. The station is located about 5 minutes walk from the centre of Clara town in Railway view estate.
When we arrived we met Eoin who works for Irish Rail. He is based in Tullamore but supervises Clara Train Station also.
The station was built on the 3rd of October 1859 when Ireland was under English rule and therefore was probably built by an English landlord.
The station used to be a station house. The station master and his family lived upstairs because it was a full time 24 hours a day job.
Clara station serves the Dublin to Galway route and the Dublin-Westport-Ballina route. These routes would be approximately 150 years old.
Today mainly passenger trains travel on the route. Freight trains sometimes pass through coming from Ballina but less often now than long ago. Eoin told us there used to be a cattle bank behind the fence on the platform, where the cows were transported by trains to and from Clara.
Around 100 people use Clara train station daily. A train holds around 400 passengers. Clara train station is 64 and ¾ miles away from Dublin, we know this because there is a mile marker on the track to inform the train driver and to allow easy location of the trains. Clara is 65 miles from Galway.
There is a bridge at Clara station to allow road traffic travel over the track. Alongside the bridge there is a water tower, which was built in 1860. Both are protected by law and cannot be damaged or destroyed. The water tower was used for steam engines long ago. We also saw a water pump which is no longer used. Steam engines were no longer used after the 1960s.
We also saw the Clara station track circuit block which is used to locate trains and to communicate with train drivers through different signals which are a little like our traffic lights, red for stop and green for go.
It takes 18 months training to become a qualified train driver and it costs €90,000 to train a single person. Eoin used to be a train driver but now works at the station.
Clara Youth Reach designed jigsaw pieces as part of a community project. These pieces of artwork are displayed at the station. Each jigsaw piece represents a different piece of Clara. The project was awarded for all the hard work the people of Youth Reach completed.
Clara train station is highly accessible. Along the platform there are raised pieces of concrete in the shape of bubbles which warn visually impaired people they are one metre away from the edge of the platform. There is also a yellow strip which everybody must stand behind at all times to ensure safety.
Inside the station the ticket desk has two different levels. The lower level is to accommodate wheelchair users. The desk also has high tech sound system for people who have hearing difficulties.
While we were visiting the station two trains arrived. One train was on the way to Dublin and arrived at the station at 10.25am. The next train arrived at 10.50am which was going to Galway. We were lucky to meet the train driver and two girls got to sit in the driver’s seat!
We had a brilliant visit to Clara Train Station!!!