Tuesday, January 02, 2024

The last train from Limerick!

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

The green land of Ireland was once described as one huge golf course criss crossed by railway lines. A bit of an exaggeration but it did once have a more extensive network of lines than it has now. Some of them served quite rural sparsely populated areas, often on lonely branch lines that saw, in a number of cases, only one train each way per day.

Stations could be some distance from the area they were meant to serve and their names quite unusual. There was Horse & Jockey in Co Tipperary, Meeting House Halt in Co Antrim, Narrow Water in Co Down, Oola in Co Limerick and Tubbercurry in Co Sligo to name a few.

By the late 1960’s nearly all the rural stations with their unusual names and their few or only one train a day had gone but there remained one route that still had its daily train in the timetable. Each weekday morning at 9.50 am an engine, two coaches and a guards van set out from Ballina in Co Mayo for Limerick, returning in the afternoon at 3.50 pm. I was able to make two journeys on the Limerick afternoon departure. The first being as one of a handful of passengers from Limerick who upon arriving at the Co Galway station of Gort found themselves invaded by secondary school children. They were polite, well behaved and in talking to them had a knowledge of Bible stories. Among the passengers were also two friendly ladies in their sixties who had disembarked from a transatlantic liner. at Cobh near Cork that morning. I was able to obtain an official pass to ride in the cab on my next journey on this daily train. A cab ride is a unique experience and gives one a completely different view of  travelling by rail as you know what lies ahead along the line. 

All photos courtesy of Unsplash

One train a day, so the traveller had to ride it at the time stated in the railway timetable, no other choice. There was no choice. If you arrive at Limerick station early you had to wait. If you arrived after 3.50pm then you have missed it. One opportunity each day to travel by train up the west coast of Ireland and it depended on the potential traveller entirely to be there for it. There are many occasions in life that only give us one opportunity. If we do not act then we have lost the chance to achieve whatever is before us.

Have you ever had the opportunity to get right with God?  Have you ever heard the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ preached, that you are a sinner  and that Christ died on the cross at Calvary as the supreme sacrifice for your sin? Have you ever heard a preacher appeal for his congregation to repent and put their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour? What has been your response? Not for me or some other time, or even all right for those who need it maybe. If any of these are your reaction, then you are like any who miss the one train a day. Ah! you may exclaim, there is always tomorrow. Yes the train might be there but not you. The Bible says that we do not know what a day may bring, it is not guaranteed that any of us shall see tomorrow. That is why the scripture says, “behold now is the accepted time” You cannot wait a moment longer, I appeal to you with all my heart, do not miss this opportunity, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved’ so you can know for sure what lies ahead in this life and the next.


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