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Ballycastle Railway Station

Several years ago (in the days when few could afford a personal car), Ballycastle was part of a railway network that connected many of the local small towns and villages together.

NCC narrow gauge S Class No.43 arrives at Ballymoney with the 10:40am service from Ballycastle, 18th April 1948. Built by the NCC in 1920, the locomotive was a two cylinder von Borries compound, with one high-pressure cylinder on one side of the locomotive and  a slightly larger low-pressure cylinder on the other. No.43 survived until 1954.
This photograph appears courtesy of Stenlake Publishing and is taken from their book 'Lost Railways of Co. Antrim'  www.stenlake.co.uk'

Construction of the Ballycastle Railway started in December 1878, and it was hoped o have the line in readiness for the summer traffic of 1880. However the inspecting officer from the Board of Trade was unhappy with the cheap way the line had been built and didn't give permission for it to open until 18th October 1880, by which time the defects had been corrected.
From the start the line was always in financial difficulties, despite attempts at various economies. By 1922 the Railway Commission had become aware of Ballycastle Railway's difficulties and recommended it's absorption by the NCC. However a single loss at the end of 1923 spelled the end of the railway.

Armoy Station, facing Ballycastle, 20th May 1950.
This photograph appears courtesy of Stenlake Publishing and is taken from their book 'Lost Railways of Co. Antrim'  www.stenlake.co.uk'

At a meeting of the board on 21st January 1924 it was decided to close the line. On 8th February the shareholders consented to the closure and this happened on 24th March 1924.

But the closure was by no means the end of the story. The railway approached the Northern Ireland government for assistance, but they were not prepared to help as they had other matters to deal with. So the only other options available were to either try and sell the line as a going concern or sell it for scrap.

Ballycastle Station
This photograph appears courtesy of Stenlake Publishing and is taken from their book 'Lost Railways of Co. Antrim'  www.stenlake.co.uk'

The neighbouring Northern Counties Commission were approached and they offered 10,000. Obviously disappointed with the offer, the board asked for more and other shareholders lobbied the NCC to increase the offer, which eventually they did. So the Ballycastle Railway was sold to the LMS NCC for 12,500 on 4th May 1924.

NCC S Class No.43 takes on water at Ballycastle, 18th April 1948. Standing at the platform are carriages Nos. 352 & 353. These carriages were among four specially built  for the Ballymena and Larne boat trains in 1928. Complete with lavatories and corridor connections, they offered high er levels of comfort to any other narrow gauge carriages  in the country. They were transferred to Ballycastle line in 1933  after the boat trains were discontinued.
This photograph appears courtesy of Stenlake Publishing and is taken from their book 'Lost Railways of Co. Antrim'  www.stenlake.co.uk'

Services did not recommence immediately as the new owners had a backlog of maintenance to catch up with as well as re-equipping the line with rolling stock transferred from the NCC's other narrow gauge lines. The railway reopened on 11th August 1924, although legal title to the line did not come about until 7th August 1925.

NCC Q Class No. 106, ready to depart Ballycastle with the 1:20pm service to Ballymoney, 10th August 1930. Note the somersault signal which was a common feature of the NCC system.
This photograph appears courtesy of Stenlake Publishing and is taken from their book 'Lost Railways of Co. Antrim'  www.stenlake.co.uk'

The new owners managed to keep the line running economically to the extent that it was the last of the NCC narrow gauge lines to close. The end finally came on 3rd July 1950 when the Ulster Transport Authority closed the line completely.

Locomotive No.43 with coaches Nos.352 & 353 at Ballycastle, forming the 2:15pm service to Ballymoney, 18th April 1948. The line closed completely two years later.
This photograph appears courtesy of Stenlake Publishing and is taken from their book 'Lost Railways of Co. Antrim'  www.stenlake.co.uk'