Marking the first train journey across the River Shannon to the West of Ireland.

The first train to cross over the River Shannon left Athlone Railway Station on 21 July in 1851. The River Shannon Railway Bridge at Athlone was completed that year connecting Dublin to Galway. Designed by GW Hemans, the bridge is 542 feet in length and took 18 months to complete.

It was the glorious era of steam travel.

Marking the 150th anniversary of the first train journey connecting the East and West of Ireland, Minister for Public Enterprise Mary O'Rourke was on board a special train from Dublin to Galway. She was joined by old and new members of CIÉ staff who shared some of their memories. Retired train driver, John Burke, remembers his 27 years driving diesel trains. He recalls one journey from Galway to Dublin during the arms crisis when half the government were on the train. He was also on duty for a special journey during the papal visit.

Investment in the rail line means that the journey to Galway is now significantly faster than it was 150 years ago.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 23 July 2001. The reporter is Ciaran Mullooly.