By Jimmy Rhatigan
TAKE a bow Iarnrod Éireann.
That has to be the message today, Wednesday, following our visit to the new look Thomastown Railway Station area.
Not too many moons ago, The Reporter visited what was then a rather gloomy facility on the periphery of the progressive County Kilkenny town.
The station area on Station Road has been transformed and is now an excellent and very safe facility for locals and visitors who may wish to travel by rail.
In the past, to be blunt, the bleak station area would hardly encourage people to abandon their cars to let Iarnrod Éireann do the driving from Thomastown to Dublin.
Among a series of top class improvements is a new pedestrian footpath along the access road to the station.
The road has also been widened and upgraded.
Since our visit, perimeter fencing has been erected around a small part of the car park adjacent to the bicycle stand.
A cigarette bin has been installed in the shelter area of the station which should mean little or no fag butt littering.
Since 2000, all new railway stations have generally been designed and constructed in accordance with accessibility standards/best international practice.
The Reporter has been told that work undertaken forms part of a refurbishment programme to make existing railway stations accessible.
A town which boasts a host of top class bars, restaurants, and various retail outfits, along with a selection of quality supermarkets and other fine stores, now has a railway station to be proud of.
As a neighbour of world famous, Mount Juliet, the town also boasts an internationally rated School of Food and a state of the art community hall, led by the fantastically committed Seamus Quigley.
Another piece has been added to a jigsaw that has continually been dressed to the nines by community-minded people in a vibrant Baile Mhic Andáin with ambitious festival events and imaginative river projects.