Down, Northern Ireland Family History Research Site
Rosalind Davies 2001
Permission granted to reprint research for non-profit use only
Old photos of various railway stations in Co. Down
#30 engine arrives at Ardglass station with the usual van for
fish next to the buffers.
RM p 30; LM 1994 p19-21
This Railway Station served the whole district including the large
town of Rathfriland, 5 km away. The monthly fair in Rathfriland saw
droves of cattle and potatoes unloaded here. Baker's vans waited early
in the morning for the bread from Belfast. Three bus companies picked
up passengers mainly for Rathfriland. The line closed in 1955.
Rear of disused Ballyward Station & platform with The Cabin
in the distance.
The Scarva branch train arrives at Banbridge Station.RM p 47.
The pressure from the linen industry saw the opening of the railway
from Banbridge to Scarva in 1859. The raiway also brought coal from
the Newry Canal .By 1880 the line had extended to Ballyroney & Newcastle.
The Banbridge to Belfast line via Lisburn, Hillsborough & Dromore
opened in 1863. (OB p3,26).The station closed in 1957.
Castlewellan Railway Station c. 1890 (DR 27/3/1967R)
Comber Railway Station (TOOC p63-68 & ACOC p29,73) The first train
ran in 1850 with 5 trains a day to Belfast. Closed 1950
The Great Northern Railway- Katesbridge Railway Station with
the Newcastle bound train leaving the station.
RM p 67. The station was opened in Dec 1880 & closed May 1955.
Saintfield railway station for the BCDRailway with Mr. James
Black in the foreground.
All the trains from Belfast and Newcastle stopped here, the only exception
being the "Golfer's Express" which went straight to Newcastle.
There were 5 or 6 trains a day so it was easy for Saintfield people
to sent a day in Belfast or Newcastle or to change at Comber and catch
a train to the coast at Groomsport or Donaghadee.
The goods yard was as busy as the station for almost every night the
long goods trains stopped to uncouple some of its 40 or so wagons and
vans containing machinery, feeding stuffs and other supplies destined
for nearby shops or farms. There were also special trains for the annual
Sunday School picnic to Newcastle. It left at 11 am with about 400 children
and their parents on board and arrived in Newcastle about noon in time
for tea and corned-beef sandwiches, followed by Paris buns and buttered
currant bread, all made in advance by the few helpers who had gone ahead
on the early morning train.
On the days when the Co. Down Staghounds took place near Saintfield,
the incoming passenger trains often included several horseboxes bringing
some of the mounts and their grooms.
The signal box at the station was always a centre of attraction for
boys and sometimes the signalman would allow them inside to watch the
'tablet system' which ensured that two trains could never occupy the
same section of the single track line. The circular metal- tablet could
be released only by an electric signal sent by the signalman in Ballygowan
or Ballynahinch Junction, as appropriate and the train was not authorised
to leave Saintfield until the driver had received the tablet. On the
rare occasions when the electric mechanism failed to release the tablet,
it was necessary to send a porter with the train as far as the next
station and while acting in his temporary capacity as a human tablet,
he wore a broad red band marker "Pilot" round his peaked cap.
The manual operation of the mechanically controlled signals and points
demanded a considerable but well- judged effort on the part of the signalman
when 'pulling the levers.' The distant semaphore signals at Ballycloghan
and near the bridge at Rowallane must have been nearly a mile from the
signal box to which they were connected by long steel cables. In consequence,
to change the signal to the 'green' position demanded first a firm pull
on the lever for a second or two, so as to take up fully and then the
signalman had to go down to the track and give a tug on the cable in
question. The signalman took great pride in keeping the machinery in
the signal box and the tablet control instruments, scrupulously clean.
here to return to Railways of Co. Down articles
to return to a railway story in Newcastle
by Ros Davies