Belfast and Ballymena Railway

Introduction

This railway remains mostly open. Today it carries commuter trains and forms the portion of the lines from Londonderry and Larne Harbour into Belfast.

Its original course was from Belfast [York Road] to Carrickfergus [1st], then to Ballymena [1st] via a reversal and from that portion a ranch to Randalstown [1st] which was intended to be the springboard for a route to Londonderry.





Dates

  /  /1845Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Incorporated.
12/04/1848Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Opened from Belfast [York Road] to Carrickfergus [1st], Ballymena [1st] and Randalstown. A single track network built by William Dargan. The Randalstown branch was meant to meet the never built Dublin, Belfast and Coleraine Junction Railway.
  /  /1854Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Belfast [York Road] renamed Belfast York Road.
  /  /1855Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Makes a connection to the Belfast Harbour Commissioners railways via Dufferin Dock Junction.
04/12/1855Ballymena, Ballymoney, Coleraine and Portrush Junction Railway
Opened from a new Ballymena station (just north of the Belfast and Ballymena Railway terminus Ballymena [1st] which closed) to Coleraine and Portrush.
  /  /1860Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Renamed Belfast and Northern Counties Railway.
  /  /1862Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Doubled from Belfast York Road to Greencastle.
  /  /1863Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Doubled from Greencastle to Carrickfergus Junction.
  /  /1872Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Doubled from Ballyclare and Doagh to Dunadry.
  /  /1875Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Belfast York Road rebuilt (formerly only one platform).
  /  /1875Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Doubled from Carrickfergus Junction to Ballyclare and Doagh.
  /  /1875Ballymena, Cushendall and Red Bay Railway
Carries iron ore from Cargan to Ballymena on the Belfast and Ballymena Railway.
  /  /1877Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Doubled from Dunadry to Cookstown Junction.
  /  /1878Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Doubled from Cookstown Junction to Ballymena.
  /  /1878Belfast and Ballymena Railway
South to west curve authorised from Jordanstown to Mossley to save on reversing at Carrickfergus. Not built.
  /  /1884Ballyclare Branch (Belfast and Northern Counties Railway)
Opened from Kingsbog Junction (Belfast and Ballymena Railway) to Ballyclare [BNCR].
  /  /1894Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Carrickfergus Junction renamed Greenisland.
  /  /1894Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Tramway laid into Belfast York Road.
  /  /1897Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Doubled from Greensland to Carrickfergus.
  /  /1897Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Belfast York Road station at largest size.
  /  /1905Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Street tramway into Belfast York Road electrified.
  /  /1926Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Belfast York Road resignalled with colour lights.
  /  /1928Belfast and Ballymena Railway
South to west curve authorised from Whiteabbey to Mossley to save on reversing at Carrickfergus.
  /  /1931Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Construction of south to west curve authorised from Whiteabbey to Mossley begins.
17/01/1934Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Double track curve opened from Bleach Green Junction, Whiteabbey, to cross Valentine^s Glen Viaduct (concrete) to Mossley. Mossley to Carrickfergus Junction singled.
  /  /1941Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Belfast York Road badly damaged during bombing of World War Two. Partly repaired.
09/09/1961Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Through coaches from Larne Harbour to Londonderry Waterside [2nd] withdrawn. Mossley to Greenisland falls out of passenger use.
01/10/1963Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Mossley to Greenisland closed. (Retained for a time as long siding approached from the east?)
  /  /1966Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Near Belfast York Road spoil is delivered by rail, from a new third track, on the east side of the line to form the motorway. The workshops are relocated from the east side of the line to the west.
  /05/1970Belfast and Ballymena Railway
After delivery of spoil using 7,600 for the motorway formation the operation ceases. The steam hauled service ends.
  /  /1975Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Belfast York Road rebuilt.
  /  /1978Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Bleach Green Junction to Antrim falls out of use with the diversion of the Londonderry trains.
01/09/1980Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Bleach Green Junction to Antrim re-opened with stations at Monktown, Mossley and Templepatrick.
21/02/1981Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Regular passenger trains using Bleach Green Junction to Antrim withdrawn.
  /  /1990Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Antrim to Ballymena singled.
  /  /1992Belfast and Ballymena Railway
Antrim to Ballymena restored in anticipation of the diversion of Londonderry trains via Whiteabbey, to be introduced with the opening of the Cross Harbour Link. Loops prepared at Kingsmoss and Templepatrick, and north of Antrim at Magherabeg.
17/10/1992Cross Harbour Link
Yorkgate opened as a temporary terminus for the former Belfast and Ballymena Railway while the link to the Belfast Central Railway is under construction. Belfast York Road closed.
28/11/1994Cross Harbour Link
Opens to link Yorkgate, temporary terminus of the former Belfast and Ballymena Railway, to the new Lagan Junction on the Belfast Central Railway. The line is largely on viaducts and is single track with a passing loop at Donegall Quay [Belfast], site of a planned station. Londonderry trains cease running via Crumlin and return to the route via Whiteabbey. The viaduct, 4,675ft, is named for William Dargan.

Portions of line and locations

This line is divided into a number of portions.

Belfast to Carrickfergus

Belfast [York Road] to Carrickfergus [1st].

Scene in the yards at Belfast York Road on 26 August 1965. ...
K A Gray 26/08/1965
Former Sligo, Leitrim and Northern Counties Railway 0-6-4T No 26 Lough Melvin in a siding at Belfast York Road shed in the summer of 1965, the ...
K A Gray 26/08/1965
The yards at York Road, Belfast, on 26 August 1965 with Jeep 2-6-4T No 4 nearest the camera. ...
K A Gray 26/08/1965
Scene in the yard at Belfast York Road on 26 August 1965. ...
K A Gray 26/08/1965
View south at a leafy Jordanstown station in 2004. ...
Ewan Crawford 18/10/2004


Greenisland to Ballymena

Greenisland to Ballymena [1st].

Antrim station, seen from Translink Northern Ireland Railways diesel unit no. 3002 arriving with the ex-12.55 service from Great Victoria Street ...
David Bosher 30/07/2018
Antrim station, looking towards Belfast from the level crossing on 9th July 2018.
...
Douglas Blades 09/07/2018
Londonderry service entering Antrim. In the background the (Bleach Green) line to Belfast passes under a roadbridge and to the right is the unused ...
Ewan Crawford 18/10/2004


Randalstown Branch

Cookstown Junction to Randalstown [1st]. This was a branch intended to meet the never built Dublin, Belfast and Coleraine Junction Railway, but instead it was extended to Cookstown and the terminus replaced by another station.