Drawing of the book cover Water Under the Railway Bridge by Bill Gerty

14 Trains

CHAPTER 14

TRAINS

Trains ran past our station six times each day except on cattle fair days when special trains were put on. The first train ran from Ballinamore to Belturbet around nine each morning and returned at eleven, then one at midday, one at four which returned at seven in the evening. Auntie Louie was the station halt master who issued all the tickets, was responsible for keeping books, stock of tickets, the waiting room, closing and opening the gates across the road. As the station was just a halt trains had to be flagged down, red flag to stop and green to carry on. There was also a lamp for night work using same colours. The cash for all tickets sold on a daily basis had to be put in a leather bag which had a brass plate on it with the name of the station, Killyran stamped on it. There was a book with all the daily tickets sold recorded in it and this was strapped together with the cash bag and sent daily to head station Ballinamore, it would be returned on the same day. As the trains only stopped when requested you had to take the cash bag and book out on the platform where the guard would be positioned between the guards van and the carriage, usually hanging on by one arm, you then had to approach the moving train and hand the guard the cash bag. The trains were supposed to slow down at this point but sometimes they forget and this became a hair raising experience, if you were not in the correct position (if there was one) there was a danger of being pulled into the train. Everything revolved around the train and the railway. For this work Auntie Louie got a rent free house and quite a bit of land about three or four acres in all and three shillings (old money) per week. People arrived for the trains carrying all sorts of things chickens, eggs, horse harness etc.. Some got their tickets and went into the waiting room while others just came in and sat down in our house. We always had to make sure that as far as possible no chickens, ducks, turkeys or any of our goats were near the line when a train approached, for this reason our two goats were tied on long ropes where their grazing area was changed on a daily basis when we milked them. At the back of the station we had a turf shed, goat house, chicken house, cow byre and pigsty. There was a big garden to the right of the house where we grew cabbage, onions, beetroot, strawberries etc., there were two apple trees and various fruit bushes. On the front of the house there were two gardens in one, we grew peas and beans only and in the other one we planted our early potatoes. A piece of land just below the station was called the Blackpiece, I think this was because of the colour of the soil. We used this land for hay making although we did grow wheat on it one season. On the downward side of the station there was some more land near the railway bridge over the Blackwater river this was also used for hay making, in all we could make enough hay to feed all our animals over the winter. As there were no trains on a Sunday we let our animals graze these areas up to the end of April. Ernest and me done all the garden work around the station, until Ernest got a job on the railway, then it was John's turn to work with me. Eddie helped when he could at that time he was still working on Goodwin's farm, later on he had a job on the railway but he had to live away from home, he done all the buying and selling of the animals. As the family grew Eddie was spending more and more time at home, the gardens around the house were not able to supply enough food so we had to grow a field of potatoes on Fees land also a field of oats. Our supply of turf also came from his peat bog.

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