Ros Davies' Co. 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

Ardglass station Ballyroney Station Ballyward station Banbridge station    
  Castlewellan Station Comber Station   Katesbridge station Saintfield



#30 engine arrives at Ardglass station with the usual van for fish next to the buffers.

Ardglass Railway Station
References; 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.

Ballyward Railway Station
References;RMp49;DR 8/2/2012 p43 ; MO 23/4/2014 p37




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.

Banbridge Railway Station




Castlewellan Railway Station c. 1890 (DR 27/3/1967R)

Castlewellan Railway Station



Comber Railway Station (TOOC p63-68 & ACOC p29,73) The first train ran in 1850 with 5 trains a day to Belfast. Closed 1950

Comber Railway Station




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.

Katesbridge Railway Station



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.

C.M. Minnis

Saintfield Railway Station

Other Railway Station photos available

Name of Station what's available References;
Ballynahinch b/w showing station, diesel electric engine OBLS p45-46
Ballynahinch Junction established 1858; c. 1914 with group of drivers & other works BIT p17, 19
Ballynahinch Junction 1930s with two locomotives at the platforms BIT p18 ; OBLS p47
Knock Station, east Belfast showing platform, loco and Campbell's Bridge ACC p72, 73
Newtownards b/w showing platform ON p23
Sydenham, Holywood b/w photo from 1920 showing platform & footbridge ACS p145
Tullymurry Station , Down near Downpatrick; b/w photo available MO 9/4/2014 p45


Click here to return to Railways of Co. Down articles
Click here to return to a railway story in Newcastle


by Ros Davies