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jhb171achill

The Ghost of Limerick Junction

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A third tale from my late friend, Billy, who joined the GSWR about 1917 and retired in the mid 1960s. He lived to be 103, dying just a few years ago. This concerns overnight turns at Limerick Junction, where there was a locomen's dorm - the remains of which are bricked up and still visible as a lean-to at the back of the loco shed there.

"I had empty wagons for a fair down towards Tipperary or Cahir, and I had to take them to the junction. We didn't get there till late, and I had a goods the following morning, so we (note: he plus driver; Billy was still a fireman then, so it's 1920s) stayed over in the dorm. Now it was haunted.

There was a man in Cork, his name was Harry, like Harry Potter! He was a very nervous man. If he was running late he would never try to make up time - just plodded along and held up every other train on the railway. He was due in too. Well, myself and Ned (note; his driver) were in this room, and there were three beds. Ned knew the ropes, so he says to me "just do what I do and we'll have a bit of fun". He told me there was a ghost but not to worry. I wasn't worried because when I joined in Tuam in 1918 they tried to scare me with ghost stories, moving my bucket of oily rags about and all that, but I had found out! Well, we bedded down. There were hard wooden planks as a floor. We left the middle bed alone and took the ones next the walls.

After a while yer man Harry comes tiptoeing in, thinking we're asleep. He had a candle. We heard him sit down on the bed as quietly as he could. He thought we were asleep. Ned starts snoring. I knew Ned was awake, so I made a snoring noise too. Next thing yer man blows out his candle and we hear the bed springs going as he gets into bed. Next thing I hear footsteps in the pitch black. I know it's Ned, leaning over his bed and moving his boots on the floor.

Yer man Harry, well he sits up like a bolt and he says "Lads!! Did yez hear that!" 

"What?" says Ned, "hear what?"

"NOISES!" sez yer man. "Noises, like feet marching!"

"There's no noises, ye eejit" said Ned, "you woke me up! Go back to sleep!"

Five minutes later I did the same thing. I reached under my bed. It's pitch dark, so nobody could see anything. I made my boot make noises like its walking. This time, Harry's up again "Lads! Lads! Ye must have heard that! There's FOOTSTEPS! I heard it!

Ned says to him "Will you ever shut up and go to sleep! There's no noises! You're IMAGINING IT!! I didn't hear anything!"

Harry gets up, drags the blanket with him, and goes off, running across the track, and there was a hard frost that night, and across the tracks to the Ladies Waiting Room, where there's still the embers of a fire. He slept on the floor. I heard that when he got back to Cork, he went to his foreman, pins him to the wall and says "if you EVER send me to the Junction overnight again, I'm resigning there and then!!!"

In those days, there wasn't much work, so nobody said that lightly. But I don't remember meeting him again..........."

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