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Limerick Junction ( ) is an important railway station in County Tipperarymarker in Irelandmarker, originally named "Tipperary Junction". Tipperary Townmarker is about two miles away to the south-east, and Limerick Junction, with a cluster of pleasantly presented railway cottages and a pub, is a small hamlet. Because of its complex layout it has a special place in railway lore: it is the only remaining railway junction in Ireland where two lines cross at a near-90-degree angle. One route is the Dublinmarker-Corkmarker main line, while the other is the line from Limerickmarker to Waterfordmarker. Trains from all four locations are served, some connecting to Ennis in County Claremarker and Tralee in County Kerrymarker.

The layout consists of four platforms: two (platforms 1 and 3) alongside the Cork-Dublin main line, which passes in front of the station, and the other two, serving Limerick/Waterford trains, facing siding at the rear of the station. Platform 3 is rarely used and platform 4 is covered in rubble and is unlikely to see further use. Access to Platform 2 for trains from anywhere other than Limerick requires reversing. A train coming from Waterford must cross the Dublin-Cork main line towards Limerick, reversing along the curve used by trains arriving from Limerick. It can then stop at the Limerick bay. The cumbersome procedure of trains to Waterford passing the station before reversing into platform 4 was ended in 2007 and trains to Waterford as well as trains to Limerick now depart from platform 2. Other places in the Ireland that required some or all trains to reverse include:

  • Kilkennymarker
  • Killarney
  • Athenrymarker re-opened line from December 2009. Trains from Limerick to Galway presumably will reverse at Athenry


Until the 1960s trains on the main Dublin-Cork line, in both directions, also needed to reverse into the platforms if they were calling at the station, (as almost all did); the main lines passing one or two tracks away from the platform and the points being arranged that trains in both directions needed to stop on the main line and then reverse over points into the platform. The tracks were rearranged in the mid-1960s to overcome this. What had always perplexed (and made Limerick junction a centre of attention similar to the interest shown in the Listowel and Ballybunion monorail) is that there was always sufficient space for additional platforms, even to construct a "separate" (but linked) station on the Limerick to Waterford line,and certainly (as events proved) track alteration was feasible; the arrangement therefore seemed eccentric - certainly when main line trains between Cork and Dublin were required to reverse.

In 1967 a short curve was constructed just North of Limerick Junction allowing through main line trains between Limerick and Dublin without reversal at Ballybrophy or single (perhaps double) reversal around Limerick Junction itself. Trains using the direct curve cannot stop at Limerick Junction. Curiously not much use was made of this curve until recent timetables (2007) with a two hourly service direct between Limerick and Dublin. This direct service is to be largely withdrawn in November 2009 (http://www.irishrail.ie/your_journey/printed_timetable_pdfs/2010/Dublin%20Limerick%2010.pdf) when the number of through trains between Dublin and Limerick will be reduced to just three in each direction.

Through running (without reversal) from Limerick to Mallow and Cork is not possible due to the track layout and platform arrangement(see diagram below).

The station opened on 3 July 1848.

Gallery

Image:Limerick junction incomplete track diagram.png|The station at Limerick Junction is surrounded by track. Trains accessing the Waterford bay from Limerick or Waterford must reverse into the platform. Trains from Waterford also reverse back from "Keane's points", where the curve out from the station joins the line. The track layout here has been reduced to now only two platforms. The bay platform to the north is uesed for trains to Limerick and Waterford/Rosslare and the main line platform is uesed for Dubin to Cork Trains. The Waterford bay, which was located at the south end of the station is now lifted and the so has the line that ran behind the station. The scissor crossover which is located half way down the mainline platform is due to be lifted and the south loop of the mainline has now been disconnected.

Horse racing

Limerick Junction was also the name of the racecourse at the same location. In the 1980s it was renamed Tipperary Racecourse. The course is not conducive to winter racing because of the frequency of water-logging. Racing here is a major attraction during the summer months and large crowds are attracted to the venue, especially for the Thursday evening meetings.

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