Drogheda Independent

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Bettystowns own train station

The Dublin and Drogheda Railway, the brainchild of Thomas Brodigan of Piltown House, began operation in March 1844.

Brodigan was a gentleman of considerable wealth and property, with a strong desire to improve the economic condition of the district and its people.

He farmed his own 300 acres in the 1820s, and had considerable success in growing tobacco.

At this time the failure of the textile industries of Balbriggan and Drogheda, were his greatest concern and he blamed the poor transport facilities for this state of affairs.

His solution was the construction of a railway, along the coast and he published a pamphlet advocating his reasons for this route.

An opposition group wanted the route to go inland from Dublin, through Ashbourne to Navan and eventually to Armagh.

An eminent engineer of the day, William Cubitt, was engaged to survey the two routes.

He declared in favour of the coastal route and construction of the line, started in 1838, where thousands of men were employed.

This was Brodigan’s wish for employment and prosperity and the line was opened on March 15, 1844, by the Lord Lieutenant, who travelled by special train to Drogheda.

Here, we are told, the train was greeted by ‘cheering crowds, volleys of guns and the pealing of joy bells’.

Laytown and Bettystown Stations, served the Drogheda people who wished to enjoy the beautiful strands of the adjacent coast, but as Laytown was directly upon the seashore, and Bettystown stood a mile from the strand, the directors of the Dublin and Drogheda, soon decided that the latter might well be closed down.

This was, accordingly done in October 1847 and even some people who now reside in the area, do not know that such a station ever existed.

Bettystown Station was situated off the Piltown Road, on the right hand side of the road which leads from the present modern Narrow Way houses, to Bettystown via Triton Lodge, a one-time narrow country lane, which now has new houses all the way, on both sides.

The station access road is still there, covered in dense under-growth and willow trees.

Its extent can be seen and measured from the nearby cornfield, as it leads up to a large triangular space beside ‘the permanent way’.

This must have been the forecourt at the entrance to the station.

Up on the line, there is no trace of buildings of any kind.

Nothing more was heard of the station until April 1942, when because of the wartime petrol shortage, Drogheda businessmen could not use their cars to go to the Golf Club in Bettystown.

Drogheda Chamber of Commerce and others, approached the GNR, in the hope of reopening the station.

The company was adamant that they could not do any building.

They were only restricted to repairs and maintenance.

Such is the story of a small wayside station which served its purpose for a short three years, was then closed down and forgotten.

It was suddenly remembered in a time of need and is partially remembered in the folklore of the area.