The Paddy Mallon – Great Northern Railway (Ireland) Collection

Repository: Louth County Archives Service

Identity Statement

TitleThe Paddy Mallon - Great Northern Railway (Ireland) Collection
Archive ReferenceIE LHA PP00206/
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1836-1969, c1983-1984
Extent Medium5 archival boxes; 4 oversize items; 4 map boxes of rolled drawings; 4 audio tapes (c. 4 hours 20 minutes). Total of 374 items, 26 copies.


Creator(s): Mallon, Paddy (1920-2002); Great Northern Railway (Ireland)

  • Administrative History ↴

    The Great Northern Railway of Ireland (GNR(I)) was founded in 1876 through the merger of the North Western Railway, Northern Railway of Ireland, and Ulster Railway. It operated mainline services between Belfast and Dublin via its hub at Dundalk, between Dundalk and Derry via Portadown and Omagh, and Dundalk and Enniskillen, with an extensive branch network in between. Most of the company’s engines were constructed at its works in Dundalk, which employed almost 1,000 people from the 1870s up to the 1940s. The partition of Ireland in 1921 and greater use of road transport led to a downturn in rail traffic and profitability throughout Ireland. In 1953 GNR(I) was jointly nationalised by the governments of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and administered through the Great Northern Railway (Ireland) Board (GNRIB). In 1958 it was decided to dissolve the GNRIB and divide its assets between the Ulster Transport Authority and Córas Iompar Éireann, and both of these authorities closed the bulk of the GNR(I) railway network, to the extent that only the Dublin to Belfast line is still in use. Paddy Mallon (1920 - 2002) was born in Dublin Street, Dundalk. He served his time in the Dundalk Engineering Works of GNR(I), an apprenticeship of strict discipline during the Economic War. He rose through the ranks to become senior fitter and finally, foreman of the Erecting Shop, where he oversaw the overhaul of the fleet. He held a keen interest in steam locomotion and in particular the GNR(I) locomotives 'Slieve Gullion' and 'Merlin'.
  • Archival History ↴

    This collection was accumulated by the late Paddy Mallon (1920-2002), of Ard Easmuinn in Dundalk, who worked at the GNR(I) works at Dundalk from the mid-1930s to the early 1960s, achieving the position of foreman of the erecting shops at the Works. The collection was donated to Louth County Archives Service by his daughter, Margaret Mallon, in August 2006. Please note that other archives regarding the GNR may be held by the Irish Railway Record Society (IRRS). The IRRS advise that researchers should write to the IRRS Headquarters, Heuston Station, Dublin 8, Ireland with genealogy queries. See The following is taken from a notice in the ‘Paddy Mallon Room’ in the Museum at Clarke Station, Dundalk: ‘Paddy Mallon was the essential Dundalk man, steeped in the railways which made the town famous, and the Great Northern Railway of Ireland in particular. Born in Dublin Street in 1920, he served his time in the Dundalk Works of the GNR(I), an apprenticeship of strict discipline in the hard times of the Economic War of the 1930’s and a railway undertaking which for all its fine engineering traditions and innovative record, was facing a struggle to make ends meet. It was in to this environment Paddy Mallon spent his formative years, and from early on his natural talent and inquiring mind displayed a flair for engineering and an ability to address difficult problems and solve them. Regarded as one of the country’s foremost authorities on steam locomotion, Paddy rose through the ranks to become senior fitter and finally, foreman of the Erecting Shop where he witnessed the delivery of the final GNR(I) express passenger locomotives, the VS Compounds, and superintended the regular overhauling and outshopping of the fleet to a standard which made the company famous....'
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Mallon, Paddy (1920-2002); Great Northern Railway (Ireland) ↴

    The bulk of collection (PP00206/005) consists mainly of material relating to the engineering works of the GNR(I) at Dundalk. There are many diagrams and drawings of steam engines and technical reports on the rolling stock of the company, mostly dating from c.1890 to the 1920s. PP00206/001 contains several bound volumes of GNR(I) rolling stock, most likely compiled by George T Glover, chief locomotive engineer for GNR(I) from 1912 to 1933. There are also several maps of GNR(I) rail services. The collection also includes six GNR(I) engineers office letter index books (PP00206/002) and press cuttings, mainly from engineering journals (PP00206/003). There is some audio material from the 1980s, in the form of two formal radio interviews and a long taped conversation about the Dundalk works and the GNR(I) in general.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

  • Accruals ↴

    No further accruals are expected
  • Arrangement ↴

    The collection was received in no particular organic order. It was therefore arranged according to type at sub-fonds level, as described in the level headings, and thereafter chronologically within the sub-fonds.

    Sub-Fonds 1: PP00206/001/001 – 012
    Bound volumes of railway engineering diagrams, 1866 – 1969
    12 items, 4 copies

    Sub-Fonds 2: PP00206/002/001 – 008
    GNR(I) Engineers Office, letter index books, 1930 – 1932, 1940 – 1942, 1946 – 1947
    8 items

    Sub-Fonds 3: PP00206/003/001 – 004
    Press cuttings from engineering magazines, 1870 – 1948
    25 items

    Sub-Fonds 4: PP00206/004/001 – 009
    Printed specifications for GNR(I) engines, 1911 – 1931
    9 items

    Sub-Fonds 5: PP00206/005/001 – 074
    Loose items. Many engineering drawings and specifications, correspondence, accounts, material relating to the dissolution of the GNR(I), 1883 – 1969
    227 items, 2 copies

    Sub-Fonds 6: PP00206/006/001 – 004
    Drawings, originally rolled, 1836 – 1953. Divided into four sub-sub fonds:
    Sub-sub fonds 1: PP00206/006/001/001-005
    Maps from the Ordnance Survey, 1836 – 1868
    Sub-sub fonds 2: PP00206/006/002/001-007
    Maps and plans of railway lines and stations, and of railway derailments, 1908 – 1939
    Sub-sub fonds 3: PP00206/006/003/001-016
    Engineering and architectural drawings, diagrams and blueprints, 1862 – 1953
    Sub-sub fonds 4: PP00206/006/004/001-002
    Publicity material, 1913 – 1917, no date
    90 items, 20 copies

    Sub Fonds 7: PP00206/007/001-003
    Audio material, recorded conversations and interviews, mainly with the retired railway worker Tommy Teggard, c.1983 – 1984
    3 items

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions The collection is not restricted and is open to all users, by appointment.
Conditions Governing ReproductionItems may be subject to copyright.
Creation Dates1836-1969, c1983-1984
Extent Medium5 archival boxes; 4 oversize items; 4 map boxes of rolled drawings; 4 audio tapes (c. 4 hours 20 minutes). Total of 374 items, 26 copies.
Material Language ScriptEnglish
Characteristics Tech ReqPaper. Fair - good condition. Careful handling required.
Finding Aids Descriptive list can be found on on-line archive catalogue available at Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

Originals InformationLouth County Archives Service
Copies InformationSome digitised documents may occasionally be found on

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteKevin Forkan
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description, 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000.
Date of Descriptions39264