Designed by John Skipton Mulvany, the structure was built between 1841 and 1850, with the addition of the colonnade in 1861. Broadstone Station is constructed of granite in a neo-Egyptian style.

In 1845 the Royal Canal was purchased by the Midland Great Western Railway Company (MGWR) with a view to using the land alongside the canal to construct a railway line to the west of Ireland. The line was constructed in stages and by 1848 reached Mullingar. Similarly Broadstone station was worked in tandem with opening in 1847 and final completion 1850.

With Galway projected to become the main port for transatlantic passenger traffic between Europe and North America, the MGWR successfully competed with its rival the Great Southern and Western Railway to reach it first in August 1851. A special fourth class was introduced by the MGWR for poor migrants from the west going to Britain for work. The line, which branched out to serve Sligo, Westport, Achill and Clifden, was also used to transport large numbers of cattle.

It was about this time that the majority of the houses in the area were constructed, as dwellings for workers on the railway. Most of the houses were built by the Artisan's Dwelling Company, which built many similar estates in Dublin and elsewhere, and houses of this type are now frequently described as Artisan cottages, regardless of their origin.

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