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Ros Davies' Co. Down, Northern Ireland Family History Research Site
© Rosalind Davies 2001
Permission granted to reprint research for non-profit use only

Railways in Co. Down

See John Little's Facebook page about the Belfast & Co.Down Railway- https://www.facebook.com/RemnantsOfTheBCDR

BCDR  Coat of ArmsGNR emblem

Click here to see a map of the railway lines for Belfast & County Down Railway
Click here to see a map of the railway lines for the Great North Railway Company.

Co. Down embraced the idea of railway travel whole-heartedly. Funds were raised, different routes proposed, squabbles over where the lines should be. Several bankruptcies and amalgamations were all part of the overall trend to establish a vast and profitable network. Special railway excursions were organised to lure the tourist to resorts like Newcastle & Warrenpoint and special itineraries published for cycling enthusiasts. Thrre is an article about Downpatrick & Newry Railway in Lecale Miscellany 1992 p70-73

The railways were finally abandoned around 1950 and replaced with a bus service. Most lines were pulled up and recycled, some ending up in Sri Lanka. Some railway stations still survive and have been restored like the one in Downpatrick; other forgotten like the one in Ballyroney. (Photo available under Presbyterian church, Ballyroney in photo index)

Click here to read an account of the railway coming to Newcastle.
Click here to see photos of Ardglass, Ballyward, Banbridge , Castlewellan, Comber ,Katesbridge, Newcastle & Saintfield railway stations
Click here to view various railway timetables & excursion brochures

I have not listed all of the half yearly meetings of the various railway companies but if you are interested in reading these just email me for more details. This is a chronology of articles in the Down Recorder newspaper that report the coming of the railways to Co. Down .
These articles can be obtained rom the Library Information Service in Ballynahinch. seelb.localstudies@ni-libraries.net.
12 Oct 1844 Railway meeting in Newry
26 Oct 1844 Prospectus of the Newry & Enniskillen Railway
23 Nov 1844 Dublin & Belfast Junction Railway with a branch from Drogheda to Kells application to parliament
15 Feb 1845 Proposed railway from Belfast to Newry*
15 Feb 1845 Proposals for establishing the lines; letters from John Fraser to Marquis of Downshire; their advantages & effects*
8 Mar 1845 Preliminary meeting held in Downpatrick courthouse to discuss Co. Down railways
5 Apr 1845 Illustrated advertisement calling meeting in Downpatrick re Co. Down railways
3 May 1845 Prospectus of the Belfast and Co. Down Railway
21 Jun 1845 Prospectus for Great Co. Down, Belfast, Newry & Warrenpoint railway
28 Jun 1845 Newry, Banbridge & Belfast Junction Railway; meeting at Banbridge
28 Jun 1845 Great Co. Down railway; attack by "Northern Whig": newspaper
5 Jul 1845 Prospectuses & provisional committees; Great Co. Down, Belfast, Newry & Warrenpoint Railway; also Newry, Banbridge and Belfast Junction Railway
12 Jul 1845 Letters re Co. Down Railway; Irish Railway Gazette; Scottish Railway Gazette & London Mining Journal
19 Jul 1845 article form London Iron Times re Great Co Down Railway
23 Aug 1845 Railway meeting in Dromore to promote the line through Loughbrickland, Banbridge, Dromore and Hillsborough & joining the Ulster Railway near Lisburn
6 Sep 1845 Great Co. Down Railway committee meeting in Castlewellan to review 'disgraceful resolutions' passed by shareholders of Belfast & Co. Down, Newry, Banbridge & Belfast Junction companies
13 Sep 1845 Extract of article from Scottish Railway Gazette re Great Co. Down Railway
13 Sep 1845 Belfast & Co. Down Railway- correspondence
20 Sep 1845 Atmospheric railway between Belfast & Holywood
20 Sep 1845 leading article from Banner of Ulster newspaper re railways
27 Sep 1845 amalgamation of Great Co. Down Railway with Dublin & Belfast Junction Railway
25 Oct 1845 Great Co. Down Railway co. reply to an article in Times newspaper by their 8 Nov enemies
8 Nov 1845 Letter of refutation to editor of Times from John Keown of Great Co. Down Railway Co.
15 Nov 1845 Notice of application to parliament from Great Co. Down Railway, Belfast, Newry & Warrenpoint Railway also Dublin & Belfast Junction & Navan Branch line & Newry, Warrenpoint & Rostrevor Railways
15 Nov 1845 Belfast & Holywood Atmospheric railway- parliamentary notice
20 Dec 1845 Great Co. Down Railway- claims for Killough harbour
21 Feb 1846 Amalgamation of all competing companies; I have this small article
21 Feb 1846 Downpatrick & Portadown railway- newly projected
1 Aug 1846 first ordinary general meeting of the Belfast & Co. Down Railway
8 Aug 1846 meeting held in Downpatrick to decide whether to dissolve Great Co. Down Railway Co.
20 Mar 1847 Newry & Enniskillen Railway Act amendment
11 Aug 1849 Ulster Railway timetable
1 Sep 1849 Belfast & Co. Down Railway ( BCDR)- 7th ordinary general meeting
15 Sep 1849 Closed up road on the Ardglass line now open
2 Mar 1850 Newry, Warrenpoint & Rostrevor Railway-8th ordinary meeting
11 May 1850 Opening of Co. Down Railway Co. to Comber & Newtownards
25 Jan 1851 Belfast & Co. Down Railway Act
26 Jul 1851 Ulster railways article
31 Jan 1852 extension of railway from Comber to Downpatrick
31 Jan 1852 & 6 Mar 1852 Ulster & Midland Junction Railway article
6 Mar 1852 extension from Comber to Downpatrick abandoned
13 Nov 1852 railway from Banbridge to Scarva
13 Nov 1852 notice- Newry to Enniskillen railway
2 Jul 1853 railway from Downpatrick to Belfast
16 Jul 1853 Downpatrick, Belfast and Dublin Railway; notice
20 Aug 1853 Co. Down Railway Co.; report of directors
27 Aug 1853 notice of commencement; Downpatrick, Belfast to Dublin line
17 Sep 1853 Banbridge Junction Railway Company- article
24 Sep 1853 Prospectus for Downpatrick, Belfast & Dublin Railway
26 Nov 1853 railway extensions to Donaghadee
29 Jul 1854 BCDR Bill thrown out of House of Lords
7 Oct 1854 meeting of BCDR share holders
3 Feb 1855 BCDR; Bill of extension to Downpatrick and Ballynahinch & from Newtownards to Bangor & Donaghadee passed
3 Mar 1855
28 Feb 1857
BCDR; half yearly meeting
27 Oct 1855 BCDR; extension from Comber to Downpatrick in progress
14 & 21 Jun 1856 BCDR; work on Downpatrick terminus to proceed
5 Jul 1856 BCDR: Cutting at Hog Island
2 Aug 1856 Strike on BCDR: commenced at Comber, assembled at Tonaghnieve House; leader arrested
2 Aug 1856 Ulster Railway Company article
16 Aug 1856 Co. Down Railway; notice to purchase wood for sleepers
23 Aug 1856 advantaged of a railway from Belfast to Downpatrick
14 Feb 1857 railway to Downpatrick proceeding
8 Aug 1857 a meeting to promote Donaghadee to Port Patrick railway & sea voyage
5 Sep 1857 BCDR report
14 Nov 1857 Banbridge, Lisburn & Belfast Railway; notice of intending application to parliament
12 Dec 1857 BCDR; letter from original shareholder
20 Feb 1858 Bangor & Ballynahinch lines; letter from "A Shareholder"
8 & 15 May 1858 Banbridge, Lisburn & Belfast Junction Railway in House of Commons
5 Jun 1858 BCDR: extension from Comber to Saintfield and Ballynahinch
26 Jun 1858 & 3 Jul 1858 BCDR; experimental trip from Belfast to Ballynahinch
24 Jul 1858 BCDR; Comber to Ballynahinch extension
11 Sep 1858 BCDR; opening line to Ballynahinch
18 Sep 1858 Co Down Railway; irate letter from an inhabitant of Saintfield re fares & civility etc.
2 Oct 1858 Banbridge Junction Railway
30 Oct 1858 railway from Holywood to Bangor promoted
20 Nov 1858 Belfast & Bangor Railway prospectus
1 Jan 1859 extension of railway accommodation to Downpatrick
22 Jan 1859 BCDR; track, bridge and turntable being laid outside Downpatrick
26 Feb 1859 BCDR; also Newry, Warrenpoint & Rostrevor Ra Jun ilway Company; Banbridge, Lisburn & Belfast Railway
26 Mar 1859 + Downpatrick to Belfast Railway opened to the public
18 Jun 1859 outrage; stone placed on switch at Crossgar; men arrested
6 Aug 1859 Banbridge & Belfast Junction Railway article
24 Sep 1859 BCDR; alteration of trains, main & Holywood lines
14 Oct 1859+ Meeting for Downpatrick to Newry railway
12 Nov 1859 Banbridge Junction Railway lease
26 Nov 1859 serious accident on BCDR; several persons injured at Queen's Quay Belfast
14 Jan 1860 BCDR; Downpatrick terminus
21 Jan 1860 & 31 Mar 1860 & 14 Apr 1860 &
5 May 1860
proposed railway from Downpatrick to Newry
17 Mar 1860 & 7 Apr 1860 proposed line from Castlewellan to Banbridge
24 Mar 1860 Banbridge, Lisburn & Belfast Railway Company
26 May 1860 BCDR; alteration to timetables
2 Jun 1860+ accident on BCDR; carriages thrown off rails
30 Jun 1860 BCDR: special trains & cheap fares
11 Aug 1860 & 25 Aug 1860 & 1 & 8 Sep 1860 proposed line between Downpatrick & Newry
18 Aug 1860 prospectus for Downpatrick to Newry line
25 Aug 1860 BCDR; engineer's reports & director's reports
22 Sep 1860 station master at Downpatrick wanted after resignation of John R. McConnell
27 Oct 1860 Peter Kellly selected as station master at Downpatrick
10 Nov 1860 notices for Banbridge extension & Downpatrick to Newry junction railway
2 Feb 1861 completed railway between Downpatrick & Newry
9 Feb 1861 projected line between Killyleagh & Crossgar; also Newtownards to Donaghadee line
23 Feb 1861 BCDR; engineer's report of extension from Newtownards to Donaghadee line
30 Mar 1861 Castlewellan and Banbridge extension line
11 May 1861 railway from Crossgar to Killyleagh
18 May 1861 Banbridge extension Bill; Downpatrick & Newry Junction Bill
25 May 1861 & 29 Jun 1861 prospectus for Killyleagh & Crossgar line
8 Jun 1861 opening of Donaghadee Railway for public affairs
10 Aug 1861 pressure on Ulster railways
5 Oct 1861 first meeting of directors Downpatrick to Newry railway
17 May 1862 & 23 Aug 1862 Belfast, Banbridge & Lisburn Railway Co.
30 Aug 1862 report of the directors of BCDR
6 Sep 1862 Belfast, Holywood & Bangor Railway prospectus
4 Oct 1862 Donaghadee to Port Patrick (Scotland) route meeting
24 Jan 1863 Newry to Greenore in Co. Armagh railway proposed
28 Feb 1863 Dromore railway station article
26 Sep 1863 BCDR officer's uniforms; Samuel McClenaghan of Downpatrick obtains contract
3 Oct 1864 Holywood & Bangor railway; ceremony of laying foundation stone of Crawfordsburn viaduct
5 Dec 1863 Discomforts of Crossgar railway station
8 Oct 1864 BCDR: refusal of 3rd class tickets to Downpatrick residents
22 & 29 Oct 1864 proposed railway from Comber to Greyabbey
12 Nov 1864 & 29 Apr 1865 Banbridge Extension railway; Dundrum to Newcastle notice
25 Feb 1865 BCDR directors report & Banbridge, Lisburn & Belfast Railway Co. 1/2 yearly report
13 May 1865 BCDR; special meeting to approve Bill for the sale of Holywood line
18 Nov 1865 prospectus for Downpatrick, Dundrum & Newcastle railway
17 Mar 1866 Downpatrick, Dundrum & Newcastle railway supplement with Newry to Co. Armagh line
5 & 26 May 1866 meeting for proposed Downpatrick, Dundrum & Newcastle railway
27 Oct 1866 Fatal accident on BCDR; Alexander Withers, station master killed at Ballynahinch Junction
13 Apr 1867 notice of Easter holidays excursion tickets
11 Jan 1868 Medical attendance of labourers of the Downpatrick, Dundrum & Newcastle railway
39 May 1868 Fatal accident. James Kenny killed on Downpatrick & Newcastle railway works, driving waggons
20 Mar 1869 Newry & Greenore Railway plant for auction; in liquidation
9 Oct 1869 new railways in Co. Down
8 Jan 1870 serious accident ; Edward Smith, son of Rathfriland clergyman, killed at Lisburn station
12 Nov 1870 Banbridge Extension railway; Castle Espie railway; parliamentary notices
4 Mar 1871 BCDR; 50th ordinary general meeting
20 May 1871 appalling accident on BCDR; collision near Knock; 2 killed; also collision on Belfast Jct railway at Goragh Wood
12 Aug 1871 Downpatrick, Dundrum & Newcastle railway; opening of Tullymurry station- notice
9 Dec 1871 accident ; Mary Ann McMurray run over at Cargagh near Crossgar
13 Apr 1872 young man threw himself onto rails at O'Neill's crossing in Magherascouse near Ballygowan station
25 Jul 1874 proposed abandonment of the Newry & Downpatrick railway
1 Aug 1874 working agreement between BCDR & Downpatrick, Dundrum & Newcastle Railway Co.
29 Aug 1874 Newry Warrenpoint & Rostrevor Railway Co. meeting
12 Sep 1874 BCDR- working agreement with Newcastle railway
14 Nov 1874 Banbridge extension railway; sale & dissolution of company
14 Nov 1874 improvements at Downpatrick railway terminus
30 Nov 1874 notice of abandonment of Newry to Downpatrick railway
20 Nov 1875 parliamentary notice on Belfast, Holywood & Bangor railway
18 Dec 1875 fatal accident on BCDR; farmer Robert Robinson of Tullymurry
15 Apr 1876 railway from Portaferry to Newtownards
28 Jul 1877+ serious accident on BCDR at Quoile Bridge
25 Jan 1879 railway accident at Newtownards. William Coulter of Carrowdore has arm torn off
31 Jan 1880 a novel narrow-gauge railway, Banbridge- Ballyroney- Castlewellan
13 Mar 1880 proposed new railway from Belfast to Strandtown and High Holywood
6 Nov 1880 Banbridge Extension Railway; new line Banbridge to Ballyroney almost completed
20 Nov 1880 Newry & Rathfriland railway;meeting of promoters
10 Sep 1881 wind up affairs of Downpatrick, Newcastle & Dundrum railway Co.
24 Sep 1881+ proposed narrow gauge railway from Belfast to Portaferry; would it be successful
20 May 1882 a novelty trip organised by BCDR & promoted as ' a trip around the Mourne Mountains'
27 May 1882 smart appearance of officers' uniforms supplied by John Fleming, Downshire Arcade, Irish St, Downpatrick
15 Jul 1882 accident on Downpatrick to Newcastle railway; William Shannon
12 Aug 1882 proposed tramway from Newtownards to Portafery instead of railway
16 Sep 1882 prospectus; Ards Railway Co.; narrow gauge line
23 Sep 1882 sad railway accident; Dr. Thompson of Lisburn killed
7 Oct 1882 Warrenpoint to Rostrevor tramway storm damage
13 Jan 1883 fatal accident on BCDR; death of John Quinliven, station master & postmaster at Bloomfield station
15 Sep 1883 Tramways Act; possibility to laying a line to Rathfriland & Castlewellan & from Downpatrick to Ardglass & Killough
13 Oct 1883 & 22 Dec 1883 possibility of a tramways line between Killyleagh and Comber
24 Nov 1883 accident on BCDR; Henry O'Hare killed at Tullymurry
1 Dec 1883 proposed tramway line between Killyleagh & Belfast
11 Apr 1885 meeting in Portaferry re Ards light rail
15 Aug 1885 new born infant left in railway carriage on BCDR
31 Jul 1886 & 14 Aug 1886 proposed tunnel between Donaghadee & Portpatrick in Scotland

 

by Ros Davies