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Visitor Information

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Next Running Days....

Summer 2014

 

The Downpatrick & County Down Railway offers a number of exciting events for your enjoyment, or just to keep the kids (and big kids) busy! Doors open for all events (unless otherwise indicated) at 2.00pm and finish at 5.00pm. These pages will tell when our next train is, where we are, what there is to see and all you need to know to plan your trip to the Railway.

If you need more information, then please drop us a line via the Contacts page.

~ 2014 Train Services ~

All public trains for 2014 are listed here, and run to a standard timetable between 2pm till 5pm unless otherwise indicated. Tours of Downpatrick Station may be available on Saturdays.

Trains run to Inch Abbey only on most operating days, with the exception of some special event days
where trains may operate on both lines.

St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day 'Shamrock Specials'

16th & 17th March
Trains run 1200-1700 on 17th

Park n'Ride from Inch straight into the town's street carnival and join in the town's commemorations of the Patron Saint of Ireland.

Find out more...
Easter Eggspress

The Easter Eggspress

Saturday 19th, Sunday 20th & Monday 21st
2-5pm

Have an Easter break with a difference! Take the train from Downpatrick to Inch Abbey and the children ge
t an Easter Eggs!

 

May Day Train

May Day & Bank Holiday Specials

Monday May 5th and Monday May 26th
2-5pm

A chance to escape the hubbub of work this Bank Holiday

Summer Trains

Summer Trains

WEEKENDS FROM
Saturday June 21st
~ to~
Sunday 14th September
inc. Monday Bank Holiday 25th August


Enjoy a nostalgic trip into the past these summer months every Saturday and Sunday and meet the Monk who guards the legacy of Inch Abbey

Halloween Ghost Trains


Halloween Ghost Trains

Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th 3-6pm
Spooky Night train on Friday 31st 6-9pm.


Dare you travel out to the Haunted Graveyard where the Ghost rise from the dead? And meet Merlin the Magician on board his haunted Ghost Train!
Children receive a present, if they can get past the Ghosts...

Find out more...
BBC Newsline - BBC1 NI
Windows Media - Real Player
UTV Six Tonight - ITV
The very first Ghost Train
Windows Media - Real Player
Lapland Express


The Lapland Express

WEEKENDS FROM:
29th and 30th
November
6th and 7th
December
13th and 14th
December
20th and 21st December

Meet Santa Claus on board his steam train and have a one-to-one meeting with him. Children's entry dependent on being good throughout the year.

Find out more...
BBC Newsline - BBC1 NI
16th November, 2006

Windows Media - Real Player
Rick Nugent - U105
22nd December 2007

Windows Media - Real Player


Mince Pie Specials

Saturday 27th December


Relax after the hubbub of Christmas with a Mince Pie as you journey through the Co. Down countryside on a classic diesel train

 

 


Timetables

Below is a standard timetable for Easter, May Day and Summer Trains
Please note that St. Patrick's Day, Halloween and Christmas trains do not operate to this timetable

Downpatrick
DEP
1400
1445
1530
1615
1700
Inch Abbey
ARR
1410
1455
1540
1625
1710
fj
Inch Abbey
DEP
1420
1505
1550
1635
1720
Downpatrick
ARR
1430
1515
1600
1645
1730

 

Additional services may operate on certain days during peak times as appropriate.
Whilst every effort will be made to maintain the services shown, the DCDR reserves the right to cancel, alter or suspend any train without notice and accepts no liability for any loss, inconvenience or delay thereby caused.

All trains are steam hauled but may be substituted by a heritage diesel train, where necessary, at any time.



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Virtual Tour

Click on the images below to take a virtual tour of the Railway Station Foyer, Station Platform, and the Signal Cabin and Inch Abbey courtesy of Virtual Visit NI

This content requires Adobe Flash Player and a browser with JavaScript enabled.

 

Take a look around where you get your tickets.
The vintage steam train awaits at the platform
The Signal Cabin, moved brick by brick from Ballyclare, and hopefully soon to be fully operational.
Inch Abbey Your destination - Inch Abbey, a ruined 12th Century Cistercian monastery

 


Where We Take You

Nestling under the shadow of the picturesque Down Cathedral, the railway currently operates through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty over approximately two miles of a restored section of the former Belfast and County Down Railway main line to Belfast out of Downpatrick to Inch Abbey, a ruined 12th Century Cistercian Abbey, with a further one mile built along the old Newcastle route to a Viking King's Grave, completing a triangle of track, which is hoped will be extended to the hamlet of Ballydugan three miles south of Downpatrick.

In addition to guided tours of the exhibitions and workshops, on running days visitors can experience the delights of traditional railway travel. Steam locomotives from the 1920s and 30s, or diesels from the 60s will take the passengers in 50 - 100 year old carriages from Downpatrick to the tranquil ruins of Inch Abbey. Real enthusiasts can have an exhilarating time by booking a day's experience on the footplate, driving diesel, as well as firing and driving a steam locomotive.

Visitors may choose to take a tour of the station and worksheds, Signal Cabin, etc., to see the behind-the-scenes work going on outside of the train running days. There's also a buffet carriage parked at the platform for teas, coffees and buns, in the station there is a shop with railway themed stock, and upstairs there's a small photo exhibition and a Thomas the Tank engine model railway layout for the kids.

Our lines are illustrated in the map below:

Map of DCDR lines


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What to See on Your Visit

Downpatrick Cathedral from the Loop Platform
Downpatrick Cathedral from the Loop Platform
Flooded Downpatrick Marshes at sunset from the train
Flooded Downpatrick Marshes at sunset from the train, with the Mournes on the horizon
Inch Abbey
Inch Abbey

The railway is located in beautiful countryside, the Downpatrick Marshes, which presents the viewer with totally different aspects at each season of the year. The best views of Downpatrick cathedral, the Church of the Holy Trinity can only be obtained from the railway.

St. Patrick, Ireland's patron saint, is reputed to be buried beside the cathedral, which is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. The cathedral occupies the site of an abbey founded by the Norman knight Sir John de Courcy, in the 12th century. It, in its turn, was built on the site of a much older fortified settlement, some of which has been excavated by archaelogists in recent years. It is likely that this hill has been a settlement site for a couple of thousand years, at least.

The view south-west from close to the site of the burial mound of the Viking king Magnus Barefoot. Until the building of a barrage across the river Quoile, this area was tidal, and even et the water table is very close to the surface, resulting in extensive flooding during the winter months. The railway at this point, in fact, runs along the edge of an ancient shoreline.

The word 'Quoile' is an Irish word meaning 'wooded' (Scottish gaelic 'Kyle') and the river banks between Downpatrick and Strangford Lough (Viking 'Strong Fjord', referring to the lough's very strong currents) still support extensive woodland. The Vikings used this river as a route inland for their longships.

The line's northern terminus is close to the spectacular ruins of the 12th century Inch Abbey. The word 'Inch' is an anglicisation of the Irish word 'Inish' meaning 'island', and in fact the monastery's site was once an island set in the tidal marshes near the mouth of the river Quoile. For a fuller description of Inch Abbey and its history, click on the link below.

History of Inch Abbey


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Steam in the Heart of Down
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