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Our railway is closed

Due to the ongoing situation with Covid-19, we are closed to the public and all visitors for the rest of 2020. Sadly, this includes the popular Christmas and Halloween events. 

It is not possible to book any tickets at this time.

Please see our Covid-19 appeal page for more details.

 

"W.R. Anketell, Esq", chairman of the Belfast & Co. Down Railway in 1859, cheers on the "first train" into the town, with a fanfare from the Ballyduff Silver Band from Belfast, and his dear wife and railway staff in attendance.

“W.R. Anketell, Esq”, chairman of the Belfast & Co. Down Railway in 1859, cheers on the “first train” into the town, with a fanfare from the Ballyduff Silver Band from Belfast, and his dear wife and railway staff in attendance.

Today marks the 150th Anniversary of the Belfast & Co. Down Railway extending their line to Downpatrick.

To mark this significant anniversary the DCDR, successor to the old BCDR, re-staged a “Gala” official opening ceremony yesterday, Sunday 22nd March.

Living History interpreters Cameron and Hilary Robinson step into the shoes of Mr. and Mrs. William R. Anketell, who was the chairman of the BCDR in 1859 when the line to Downpatrick was completed.

Two special trains were run, reflecting the two trains that were run for the first time to the town on Wednesday, 23rd March 1859.

"W.R. Anketell, Esq" gives the signal for the train to leave for "Belfast" (a.k.a. Inch Abbey)

“W.R. Anketell, Esq” gives the signal for the train to leave for “Belfast” (a.k.a. Inch Abbey)

The DCDR was also pleased to show off its restored Belfast & Co. Down Railway carriage, No. 148, which had just come out of the workshops following some minor finishing work.

While slightly younger than 150 years, being only 112 years old, it is of a very similar style to the carriages that would have been used in 1857, adding that little hint of authenticity to the proceedings.

Commemorations this month will culminate with a celebratory dinner in the Slieve Donard Hotel, which was formerly owned by the railway company.

The event was previewed on BBC Radio Ulster’s Your Place and Mine programme, and then covered by BBC Good Morning Ulster on the day, as well as in the Irish News and News Letter papers.

 

You can listen to the Your Place and Mine report here:

 

You can listen to the Good Morning Ulster report here: