Belfast and County Down Railway

Belfast, United Kingdom

Belfast and County Down Railway

The Belfast and County Down Railway (BCDR) was an Irish gauge (1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)) railway in Ireland (later Northern Ireland) linking Belfast with County Down. It was built in the 19th century and absorbed into the Ulster Transport Authority in 1948. All but the line between Belfast and Bangor was closed in the 1950s, although some of it has been restored near Downpatrick by a heritage line, the Downpatrick and County Down Railway.

The company was incorporated on 26 June 1846 with the first section of line from Belfast to Holywood opening for traffic on 2 August 1848. The line was further extended to Bangor by the Belfast, Holywood and Bangor Railway (BHBR), opening on 1 May 1865, and acquired by the BCDR in 1884. The line to Downpatrick was opened on 25 March 1859. The line from Downpatrick to Newcastle was built by the Downpatrick, Dundrum and Newcastle Railway, opening on 25 March 1869 and absorbed by BCDR on 14 July 1884. The railway's first chief engineer was Sir John Macneill, who was responsible for allowing the railway to cross the marshy River Quoile.

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