Glenavy Railway

Proposed Railway

The following is an extract from the Belfast Newsletter dated 31st October 1845 and appears with permission of the Belfast Newsletter.

This extract refers to the Prospectus of the Dublin and Antrim Junction Railway which was at this time provisionally registered.

The Capital was £200,000, in 800 shares of £25 each. Deposit, £2 12s 6d per share.

The Provisional Committee in Ireland included The Rev. Ross Jebb, Rector of Glenavy, Crumlin and Tullyrusk, Glenavy, James Whitla, Esq., J.P., Gobrana, Crumlin, Rev. W. Geo. Macartney, Rector of Killead, Crumlin, J L Gaussen Esq., M.D. Crumlin, John Moore, Esq, Glendarragh, James Macauley Esq., Ben Neagh, Crumlin.

It is rather an extraordinary circumstance, that, when almost every town of note in Ireland has been offered a communication with Dublin metropolis by the shortest way, the only mode offered to the people of the towns of Antrim, Ballymena, and the surrounding country, is a circuitous route by Carrickfergus and Belfast, being no less journey of twenty-four miles round about.

The same observation applies to the towns of Crumlin, Glenavy, Ballinderry, and all the rich, agricultural, and populas country South of Antrim. All persons acquainted with this part of the country feel the necessity of some remedy for this great inconvenience.

It is therefore, proposed to make a Railway from the most convenient point on the Ulster Railway, and to run to the town of Antrim, joining the Belfast and Ballymena Railway at that place. The line from Portadown will be 26 miles.

The following calculation will show the extent of public accommodation to be derived from the project now proposed.

Goods or passengers, coming from Dublin to Antrim, will go on the Junction Line to Portadown.

Distance from Portadown, by Belfast and Ballymena Lines to Antrim, 52 miles.

Distance from Portadown to Antrim, by the Line now proposed, 26 miles.

Saving in distance, 26 miles.

As for Crumlin, and the adjacent country, the case is much stronger; the unnecessary circuit is even much greater.
This line, which will run by the East side of Lough Neagh, almost on a level, offers peculiar advantages to Shareholders, the County being very populous and the expense of construction will be moderate. It passes through the country selected by the first English settlers, and which presents features of surpassing beauty, the inhabitants orderly, well educated, and prosperous; the produce of the country is most abundant; but the means of conveying it to the markets of Antrim, Lurgan, Moira, or Belfast, are lamentably deficient.

Besided the supplying of a deficiency, and filling up of a chasm in a direct line of Railway from Dublin to Ballymena, and the surrounding country, by the East side of Lough Neagh, this Railway is a junction, in the most correct sense of the word; it will embrace all the traffic and carriage of passengers between Dublin, and any place North of Lurgan, and situate near the East side of Lough Neagh, including Aghalee, Ballinderry, Glenavy, Crumlin, Antrim, Randalstown, Ballymena and Ballymoney.

It is the only Railway accommodation of any kind offered to the rich and important agricultural and manufacturing country of Ballinderry, and all the circuit between Lurgan and Antrim, a district fully entitled, and well able, to pay for such accommodation…..

Glenavy Railway

Glenavy Railway Station many years ago

Glenavy Railway Station many years ago

A close up - on the railway platform at Glenavy Station

A close up – on the railway platform at Glenavy Station

Dublin and Antrim Junction Railway

The following is an extract from The Belfast Morning News May 30th 1866.

The Dublin and Antrim Junction Railway.

To the editor of the Belfast Morning News.

Sir – As the Dublin and Antrim junction Railway has lately been before the public on two or three occasions and people at a distance cannot be expected to know much of the capabilities or requirements of the district through which the line will pass, I hope you will kindly permit me o bring under their notice a few facts respecting the traffic of the district, the immense increase that has taken place during the last few years, and the probability of a still greater increase for the future. The line commences about two miles from Lisburn, at the junction of the Banbridge and Ulster lines, and runs through Magheragall, Ballinderry, Glenavy, Crumlin, and Killead to Antrim, where it joins the Northern Counties line – thus bringing the district through which it passes into immediate communication by rail with Belfast, Dublin, and Londonderry; connecting the two great linen districts of Ulster – Banbridge and Ballymena; and forming the direct route from Dublin and the South to all the Northern and central parts of County Antrim and the Causeway.

1. As to passenger traffic – a few years ago, and long since I came to Crumlin to reside, the entire passenger traffic of the district was only able to support, and that badly, a single one-horse car, which ran from Crumlin to Belfast once a week – on Friday; while the mail from Lurgan to Antrim and back was carried in something like an inverted salt-box, on which the driver sat perched with the bags under him. Now we have a mail-car, carrying four passengers, running from Lurgan to Antrim and back – morning and evening; we have a three-horse van and two or three cars running on four days of the week from Crumlin to Belfast and back; we have a van and one or two cars running regularly from Glenavy to Lisburn, and thence to Belfast; we have several cars running from Ballinderry, through Magheragall, on two or three days in the week, to Lisburn and thence by rail to Belfast; and we have three or four cars running from different parts of Killead to Belfast, by the Crumlin Road. I do not know what number of passengers usually travel by these different routes to Belfast; but with respect to the direct route from Crumlin, I know that on both the last occasions on which I went to Belfast the van and cars were unable to accommodate all the passengers, and some had to be left behind – On Saturday last it required the three horse van and four cars to bring the passengers from Belfast; and this morning the van and three cars were crowded when leaving Crumlin for Belfast.

In addition to all this, there is an immense increase in the number of private conveyance running from the district to Belfast by the five leading roads which converge there:- the Ballinderry and brook hill Road, via Lisburn; the Glenavy Road, via Lisburn;the Stoneyford and Castlerobin Road; the new Hannahstown Road; and the Great Crumlin Road, via Ballysillan.

2. As to goods traffic, – It is only necessary for an unprejudiced man to witness the enormous strings of carts which pass between Belfast and Crumlin Mills, and Glenconway Mills (near Glenavy) and Belfast, to enable him to form some opinion of what the traffic must be when the district is opened up. I am informed that these two concerns alone – Glenconway and Crumlin Mills – have generally fifty horses and carts constantly employed, and sometimes far more, in carrying flour, bran, &c., between the mills and Belfast, Ballymena, Antrim, Lisburn, Lurgan. Portadown, &c. And now that the enterprising proprietor – James Hunter Esq of Dunmurry – has erected a steam engine in connection with each of these concerns, and will thus be able to drive them by both water and steam power, we may expect an immense increase in the amount of business done by them, especially when the railway is finished, and will afford increased facilities for the conveyance of both the raw material and the manufactured article. Indeed, I am perfectly satisfied that only for the railway being proposed and in progress Mr. Hunter would never have thought of putting up steam in connection with his works, as the mere cost of carriage of coal would be a serious drawback if dependent on horses and carts. Our railway line has, therefore, already done some good; it has encouraged enterprise, promoted industry, and helped to develop the resources of the district; for I look on these two tall chimneys rising up amidst the lovely scenery of our rich agricultural country as the most hopeful and the brightest prospect we have in the neighbourhood.

Already toe-owing, I have no doubt, to the same cause – Glenend Mills have been taken, and are being rapidly put into order, by another gentleman, Mr Brooke; and Waterside Mills, in Killead, are also about to be rebuilt, and driven, I understand by both steam and water. When the mere prospect of the railway has stimulated enterprise in this manner, what will its completion not do? When such things are done in the green tree, what may be expected in the dry? There is not a mill site in the neighbourhood which will not be occupied and at work. The goods traffic between Belfast and Crumlin, which is probably ten times as great as it was a few years ago, will be immensely increased; and the same may be said of Ballinderry and Glenavy, and all along the line. Crumlin is the centre of as rich an agricultural district as in Ulster, and its natural market. But how could we expect Belfast merchants to come back and purchase grain, pork, or butter at our weekly market when they have no means of removing their goods but by carmen’s carts! Under such circumstances we could not compete with Antrim and the surrounding markets.

The coal traffic of the district alone would be immense if the railway were completer, while at present the poor householders are very badly supplied, owing to the greatly increased cost of heavy cartage over the mountain from Belfast; and our undertaking will thus bring comfort into many a poor man’s home. Then we have facilities and inducements for excursion parties and picnics which few country districts lying so near Belfast possess. Glenoak, Glendarragh, Langford Lodge, and Rams’ Island are all open to any respectable parties, and are well worth a visit. Indeed I hardly know how a day could be more pleasantly and beautifully spent than in visiting the grounds of Langford Lodge, sailing to Rams’ Island on the waters of our lovely inland sea – Britain’s noblest lake – and inspecting the old round tower and other curiosities and beauties of the island itself; while the historian and antiquarian can gratify his taste and enjoy himself by visiting, and spending a day at, sweet Portmore Lake, or rambling among the ruins of the old castle of Portmore, where Jeremy Taylor lived and wrote, and the ivy coloured gables of the old church in which he preached. In addition to this, where could more beautiful sites for villas be found than along this railway line, overlooking Lough Neagh, with its wide-spreading silver waters, wooded shores, and lovely island; taking in at one view five of Ulster’s finest counties – Antrim, Derry, Down, Tyrone, and Armagh; and with facilities for fishing not to be surpassed. Perhaps in the empire?

The entire traffic to which I have referred is a local traffic, the whole of which must necessarily flow not only over our own line, but also over one or other of the two lines which it is connected – the Northern Counties and the Ulster; so that, in the end, the Dublin and Antrim Railway will be a valuable feeder to one or both of these lines – With regard to the more distant traffic likely to flow over our line of railway – such as that between Banbridge and Ballymena, between Dublin and the Causeway &c. &c – and its benefit which our own railway, as well as the adjoining ones, will receive from this source, parties at a distance can form an opinion, perhaps, as well as I can; but I am satisfied that it will be much greater than most people at present imagine. Facilities for travel increase intercourse and communication, and the very fact that tourists can go direct from Dublin to the Causeway without having to travel across Belfast, and thus lose, perhaps, three or four hours both going and returning – occupying, in fact, two days instead of one – will cause thousands to visit the Causeway who never thought of it before, and thus benefit all the neighbouring railways. I would repeat here what I have said before: that I believe the shareholders of the Dublin and Antrim Railway, when they took their shares, thought more of opening up the country than of the dividends which they might obtain. I believe pounds, shillings, and pence should have their weight, but that they should not be the only principle that would actuate people in this world, though some men appear scarcely to have an idea beyond then; and I am satisfied that, while this railway will promote enterprise, encourage industry, bring comfort to many a poor man’s door, and develop the resources of the country, it will also pay a much larger dividend (if it be judiciously managed) than most people now expect; and the shareholder may thus find, as has frequently been found before, that, while they are benefiting others, they will benefit themselves also.

G.A. Hume, M.D.
Crumlin, 28th May, 1866.

Dublin & Antrim Junction Railway Company

This is a copy of an early document associated with the Dublin & Antrim Railway Company, dated 1871. This is the year that the Antrim Line opened. Please note that some of the names and addresses are incorrectly spelt.



Half-yearly General Meeting of the Company




Those marked (a) hold the requisite number of Shares to qualify as Directors

a  Ashmore, Charles, Major-General,
Care of H.H. Boye, Esq.,
Commercial Buildings, Belfast
Addison, John, Ballinderry
Armstrong, John, Crumlin.
Addison, John K., Ballinderry
Alexander, Wm., Ballymather, Templepatrick.
Algie, Thomas, Clady Print Works, Ligoniel, Belfast
Armstrong, Shaw, Knockcairn, Dundrod near Crumlin.
Addison, William, North St., Belfast

Bickerstaffe, Rev. Roger, Killead, Crumlin.
Beatty, William, Ballinderry.
Bell, Thomas, Ballinderry.
Brown, Thomas, Fruitfield, Ballinderry
Browne, Wm. C. Ballinderry.
Birney, John, Oakley Park, Bright, Downpatrick
Best, Robert, Aghalee, Lurgan.
Byrne, James, Crumlin.
Bell, John, Glenfield, Crumlin.
Bristow, James, Northern Bank, Belfast
Bunting, Wm., Aghagallon, Aghalee, Lurgan.
Brown, Wm., do. do.
Bullick, Mrs, M.A., do. do.
Bell, Wm., Sayers, 46, Townsend St., Belfast
Brown, Samuel, Ballymather, Templepatrick.
Bell, S. Alex., Lurgan.
Bell, Edward, Crumlin.
Brown, James, Ballydonaghy, Crumlin.
Ballance, Saml., Ballypitmore, (Ballypitmave) Glenavy
Brown, Robert, Glenfield, Ballymena
a  Bower. John, 30, Upper Sackville St., Dublin.
Bancroft, Peter, Seaford, near Liverpool.
Black, Rev. Thomas. F. Glenavy
Blackburn, Adam, Lissue, Lisburn
Bradbury, John, Knocknerea, Ballinderry.
Barber, Andrew, British, Killead.

Connor, David, Ballinderry.
Cinnamond, Thomas, Templepatrick.
Crawford, Robert, Ballyrobin, Dunardy.
Cousins, Henry, Camlin.
Corken, Snowden, Ingram, near Lisburn
Cousins, Mrs. Margaret, Crumlin.
Canning, Rev. A.C., do.
Crawford, Benjamin, do.
a  Chaine, William, Ballycraigy, Antrim
Coates, Victor, Belfast.
Culbert, Jacob, Ballymaclose, Ballinderry.
Carroll, Thomas, Ballinderry.
Crawford, Alex., Ballymather, temple Patrick.
Crawford, Robert, Kilcross, Ligoniel. Belfast.
Chapman, Charles, Soldierstown, Moira,
Cummins, John, Aghanamoney, Upper Ballinderry
Crossin, James, Magheragall, Lisburn.
Campbell, Charles, Crumlin.

Dowglasse, George, Captain, Gobrana, Crumlin
Donaldson, Samuel, Crumlin.
a  Dargan, William, Dublin.
a  Dowling, Thomas, Southsea House, Threadneedle St., London.

English, Joseph, Crumlin.
Edens, Jas. Reid, Eden Lodge, Glenavy.
Ewart, James, Ballyellough, Lisburn.

Ferris, Alexander, Aghalee, Lurgan.
Fitzgerald, Valentine, Glenavy.
Frazer, Robert, Ballinderry.
Ferguson, John F., Belfast.
Falloon, Jermiah, Aghalee, Lurgan.
Falloon, Charles, Ballycairn, Aghalee.
Fleming, Jas., Aughnamullan, Crumlin.
Ferris, Jas., Landgrave, (Landgarve) Glenavy
Falloon, Stewart, Aghagallon, Lurgan.
Flanagan, John, Ballymave, Ballinderry.
Ferris, George, Glenavy.

Gibson, James, Upper Ballinderry.
Gregg, William, Lisburn.
Gilbert, Thomas, Crumlin.
Gilmore, John, 10 Upper Mount Street, Dublin
Gawley, Dorothy, Ballinderry.
Geddis, Longford, Furze Lodge, Glenavy.
Gilliland, Wm., Ballydonaghy, Crumlin
Gawley, William, Aghalee, Lurgan
a  Greene, and King, 83, Middle Abbey Street, Dublin

a  Hertford, Marquis of care of Dean Stannus, Lisburn
a  Hunter, James, Dunmurry.
Hall, John, Moffat Terrace, Holywood.
Hopes, John, Ballinderry.
Hume, Geo. Alex., M.D., Crumlin.
Hill, T.H., Ballinderry.
Hall, Thomas, do.
a  Henry, Fred. H. Lodge Park, Straffan.
Hopes, Edward, Ballinderry
Herdman, Samuel, Aughnamullan, Crumlin
Hill, Rev, Robert, Aghalee, Lurgan.
Houston, Thos., Ballydonaghy, Crumlin.
Hartley, William, 14, Waring Street, Belfast
Hamilton, W., Gortnagallon, Crumlin.
Hogg, William, Ballymena.
Higginson, Dolway, Ballymacravy, Lower Ballinderry,
Holmes, Elizabeth, Mullaghcarten, Lisburn.
a  Houghton, Vaughton Wm., 35, Waterloo Street, Birmingham

Ingram, Wm., S., Ballysissy, (Ballysessy), Ballinderry

Johnston, James, Glenavy.
Johnston, James, 17 Waring Street, Belfast
Johnston, Wm., Lurgiel, Ballinderry

Kennedy, Robert, Lisburn.
Knox, James, Portmore, Ballinderry
Kneeland, (Keyland) Daniel, Ballinderry
Kneeland, William, Ballinderry
Kirker, John, Kilcross, Ligoniel, Belfast.
Kirker, James do. do.
Kearns, Thomas, Aghalee, Lurgan.
Kearns, Wm., Ballypitmore, (Ballypitmave), Glenavy
Kenning, Wm., Aghalee, Lurgan

Lake, Gerald, Ballyquillan Cottage, Killead, Crumlin
Larmer, (Lorimer), John, Glenavy.
Lonsdale, Thomas, Aghagallon, Lurgan
Lavery, John do. do.
Larmour, Andrew, Glenavy.

Musgrave, Samuel, M.D., Lisburn
Moore, John, Moore-view, Ballymacmary, Crumlin
Manderson, John, Crumlin.
Megivern, James, Largey, Crumlin
Manderson, John, Jun., Ballymacmary, Crumlin
Magill, Rev. Wm., Dundrod, Crumlin.
Macoun, John., Lurgan.
Martin, Robert, Ballinderry
Montgomery, William, Boltnaconnel, Crumlin.
Montgomery, Alexander, Potterswalls, Antrim.
Morrow, Robert, Legacurry, Lisburn.
Magee, James, Ballydonaghy, Crumlin.
Maise, Robert, Moygariff, Ballinderry
Moore, James, Crookedstone, Killead, Crumlin.
Moore, J., Jun., Whiteside, Killead, Crumlin.
Mallon, Anthony, Logherdish, Ballinderry
Maconchy, John, Ballylackey, Ballinderry
a  Massereene, the Rt. Hon. Viscountess, Antrim Castle, Co. Antrim.
Montgomery, Wm., Henry, Soldierstown. Aghalee, Lurgan.
Morton, Robert, Ballymena.
Magowan, James, Aghalee, Aghagallon, Lurgan.
Morrison, Wm., Crookedstone, Killead, Crumlin.
Moore, Jane, Gortnagallon, Crumlin.
Mackay, Wm., 1, Lombard Street, Belfast
McKinstry, Geo., Aghadavy, Ballinderry
McDonald, Allen, Ballinderry
McConnell, Wm., Cherryvally, Crumlin
McCord, Robert, Ballinderry
McGarry, William, Aghnamoney, Upper Ballinderry
McKee, William Alexander, Gobrana, Crumlin
McCormick, Eliza, Belfast
McClure, Hugh, Lake-view, Crumlin
McErvil, Archibald, Crumlin
McKeveney, Thomas, Aghagallon, Lurgan
McAvoy, Bernard, Derryclare, Whitehall, Lurgan
McCoy, John, Ballinderry
McNice, John, Dundrod, Crumlin
a  McCormick, William, 10, Cambridge Terrace, Regent’s Park, London
McCreight, William, Ballyhill, Templepatrick
McGarry, Bennett, Kilcroy, Lisburn
McClure, George, Knockcairn, Dundrod, Crumlin
McCullough, Joseph, Dundrod, Crumlin
McCorry, Henry, Aghalee, Aghagallon, Lurgan
McDonald, Alexander, Haddickstown, Ballinderry
McCormick, Rev. Joseph, Ballinderry
McCord, William, Ahoghill, Ballymena
McClurg, Elizabeth & Nathaniel, Ballynadrentagh, Killead
McConkey, James, Ballyquillan, Killead
McCance, David, Clifden, Co. Down.
McLernon, Patrick

Nichol, Arthur, Ballyquillan, Killead
Neill, James, Ballyrobin, Dundrod, Crumlin
Nutt, William, Aughnamullan, Crumlin
Nelson, John, Ballytrummarry, do.
Nelson, William, Ballymena

Oakman, John, Glenavy
O’Hara, Charles, Killead, Crumlin
O’Hara, William, Whitehall, Aghagallon, Lurgan
a  O’Neill, Rev. W.C., Shane’s Castle, Antrim
O’Hara, John,Whitehall, Aghagallon, Lurgan
Oakman, Benjamin, Ballydonaghy, Crumlin
Oakman, Nicholas, – Messrs. Greer and Oakman, Belfast

a  Pakenham, Rev. Arthur H., Langford Lodge, Crumlin
Peel, Jonathan, Lurgiel, Ballinderry
Potts, John and Robert, Belfast
Peel, Joseph, Ballinderry
Peel, Jonathan, Legatiriff, Ballinderry
Peel, John, do.
Palmer, Arthur, Crumlin
Palmer, Maria, do.

Quigley, George, Ballysissy, (Ballysessy) Ballinderry

a  Richardson, Joseph, Springfield House, Lisburn.
Richardson, Jonathan, Glenmore, Lisburn
Reford, Anthony, Blizard, Ballinderry
Rollins, John, jun., Aghalee, Lurgan
a  Richardson, James N., Lissue, Lisburn
Richardson, John Grubb, Moyallen House, Portadown

a  Stannus, The Very Rev. James, Lisburn
a  Stannus, Walter, T., Manor House, Lisburn
Stephenson, George, Aghalee, Lurgan
Shillington, Henry, Aghagallon, do.
Sefton, William, Ballykelly, Dundrod, Crumlin
Stephenson, George, Lisburn
Sloan, John, Lisburn
Suffern, Hugh, Crumlin
Suffern, William, do.
Sefton, James, Ballinderry
Sinclair, Robert, Dundrod, Crumlin
Sherlock, James, Farmhill, do.
Suffern, James, Boltnaconnell, do.
Suffern, Samuel, Aghnamullan, do.
Sherlock, Thomas, Ballydonaghy, Crumlin
a  Smith, G.K., The Castle, Belfast
Smith, John G., Meadowbank, Whiteabbey, Belfast

Tuft, John, Aghacarnan, Ballinderry
Thompson, Samuel, Conmore do.
Turtle, Lancelot, Aghalee, Lurgan
Turtle, William John, Ballinderry
Toland, Daniel, Crumlin
Thompson, William, Aghalee, Lurgan
Thompson, John, Lower Ballinderry
Taylor, John, Legatiriff, Ballinderry
Thompson, John, Upper Ballinderry
Thompson, Samuel, Aghalee, Lurgan
a  Tredwell, Francis Wm., Hednesford, Stafford
Thompson, Thomas, Ballinderry
Tisdal, Rev. Benj., do.
Turner, Robert, do.
Thompson, Joseph, Ballykennedy, Dundrod, Crumlin
Tutton, Thompson, Aghalee, Aghagallon, Lurgan
Thompson, Henry, 78, Ann Street, Belfast

Usher, John, Ballymacranny, Aghalee, Lurgan

Verner, James, Lisburn

Wright, William, Ballinderry
Wallace, Esther, Glenavy
Walkington, Thomas, Ballinderry
Wethered, Edward, Clontariff, Ballinderry
Wright, William, Barkenhill, (Brackenhill), Upper Ballinderry
Waring, Lucas, Lisburn
Whitfield, John Stewart, Crumlin
Wallace, Robert G., Ballymena
a  Whitehead, Bickerton, 206, Hagley Road, Birmingham

Young, Henry, Crumlin
Young, Robert, Ballymena

*   Shareholders are requested to advise the secretary of any alteration in their addresses.

New Branch Line

The following is an extract from the Belfast Newsletter dated November 14th 1871. Reproduced by kind permission of The Belfast Newsletter.

The new branch line of railway between Lisburn and Antrim was opened yesterday for traffic. It is some ten years since the Act of Parliament authorising its execution was first obtained, but, owing to various circumstances, the line has never been completed until the present. It is twenty miles in length, and will be of great advantage in opening up the thickly – populated county between the points of junction, and the no less important matter of accelerating the mail service between Dublin and Antrim, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Coleraine, &c. A display of fireworks took place in Crumlin in the evening.

Time Tables

The following is an extract from The Lisburn Standard Saturday, May 8th 1886.

Great Northern Railway (Ireland)
(Northern Division)


12th May, 1886.

A Special Train, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd
Class, will leave Belfast for
Antrim, at 8.30 o’clock a.m, calling at the
Intermediate Stations as under:-

Belfast, dep. 8.30
Lisburn, dep 8.55
Brookmount, dep 9.3
Ballinderry, dep 9.10
Glenavy, dep.9.17
Crumlin, dep 9.26
Aldergrove, dep 9.33
Antrim, arr. 9.50

A Return Special train will leave Antrim
At 3 o’clock p.m. for Belfast with passengers
And Live Stock, calling at the same Intermediate Stations.
The Ordinary fare will be charged.
Ordinary Passenger trains will leave Belfast
For Antrim at 9.0 o’clock a.m. and 12.30 p.m.
And leave Antrim for Belfast at 12.40 p.m.,
3.50 p.m., and 5.55 p.m.
Thomas Shaw
Manager’s Office, Belfast,
May, 1886
The following is an extract from The Lisburn Standard, Saturday, August 28th 1886.

(Northern Division)


On and after 1st September, the train
Now leaving Belfast at 9 o’clock a.m.
Will be changed to 8.50 a.m., and
Will call at Moira Station daily. The times of
Running will be altered to Antrim and Portadown, as follow:-

Belfast dep 8.50 a.m.
Dunmurry dep 8.57 a.m.
Lisburn arr 9.5 a.m.
Lisburn dep 9.8 a.m.
Brookmount dep 9.16 a.m.
Ballinderry dep 9.23 a.m.
Glenavy dep. 9.30 a.m.
Crumlin dep. 9.38 a.m.
Aldergrove dep 9.43 a.m.
Antrim arr 9.58 a.m.
Moira dep 9.18 a.m.
Lurgan dep. 9.30 a.m.
Portadown arr 9.47 a.m.


Thomas Shaw

Manager’s Office, Belfast
26th August, 1886

Richard Bell v Great Northern Railway Company

The following Extract is from the Lisburn Standard dated Saturday, July 3rd 1886

Lisburn Quarter Sessions

Today at eleven o’clock, the Quarter Sessions for this division of County Antrim were commenced in the new Courthouse, Railway Street, (Lisburn) before David Ross, Esq., County Court Judge for Antrim.

Action for the destruction of a stack of oats by sparks from a locomotive.

Richard Bell sued the Great Northern Railway Company for charges sustained by sparks from a locomotive destroying a stack of oats.

James Johnston, surveyor, was examined for the plaintiff, also John English, Daniel Mulholland, James Steel, and John McKeown.
Charles Mortimer was examined for the defendants. After a lengthened hearing, his Honour dismissed the case, on the ground that plaintiff failed to prove any negligence on the part of the defendants.

Mr. Young appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr. McLean for defendants.

Ballance v Great Northern Railway Company

The following extract is from The Lisburn Standard – Saturday, February 3rd, 1900.

This was a civil bill brought by Henry Balance, of Crewe, Glenavy, against the Great Northern Railway Company (Ireland), having an office at Lisburn, for £5 loss and damage sustained by plaintiff for that the defendants as common carriers and undertook and contracted for hir and reward on a day now past to provide a cattle waggon for the conveyance of a number of cattle from Ballinderry to Belfast, but neglected to provide, to plaintiff’s loss in the amount aforesaid.

Mr G.B. Wilkins appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr. James Quail (for Mr. Wellington Young) for the defendant Company.

Henry Balance, the plaintiff, said that on December 13th he gave the stationmaster an order to get a cattle truck for the first passenger train on morning of 15th. He did not receive any notice that the Company would not send a truck. On the morning he brought two fat cattle to the train named, and was met by the stationmaster who said he had been waiting for two hours for a special goods train which was to leave a truck at the station. He said he was very sorry. He lived three miles from the station and had to take the cattle back home, which injured the cattle considerably. He also lost 2s 6d a head which he had paid for the entrance fees of the cattle at Messrs. Robson’s show.

Mr. Quail said he had no question to ask. He said there was no comment.

Mr. Swarbrig, stationmaster, at Ballinderry said he received the order from Mr. Ballance and forwarded it to Dundalk. He had got trucks for Mr. Ballance before.

Mr. Quail said there was no obligation on the part of the Company. If Mr. Ballance had paid the money necessary there would have been a contract. These trucks were hard to get and they had to send to other parts of the line for them.

Mr. Wilkins submitted that there was a ontract, and, as in the case of Crouch v. the London and North Western Railway Company, the Railway Company as carriers were bound to carry.

His Honour said that as the Company did not notify the stationmaster that they could not supply a truck, then there was an acceptance of contract. In his opinion the Railway Company were clearly liable, but no damage was proved except mere speculation as to loss. There was a loss of 2/6 per head and injury by the cattle travelling on the roads. He would give a decree for £1.

Glenavy Railway Accident

The following extract is from The Lisburn Standard – Saturday January 24th 1903.

Railway accident at Glenavy

Dr. Adams, J.P., coroner for the North Division of Antrim, held an inquiry on Monday evening in the Boardroom of the County Antrim Infirmary, concerning the death of William Chambers, signalman at Glenavy Railway Station, who was accidentally run over by a goods train on the 17th inst. Mr Ivan H. Young appeared for the railway company, which was also represented by Mr. Campbell Wallace, district superintendent. Mr. Joseph Lockhart, solicitor, appeared for the next of kin and Sergeant O’Sullivan for the Crown.

William Sherlock, Stationmaster at Glenavy, was the first witness examined. He said the deceased was signalman, and he had no business to look after the train. The 10.10 goods train was in the station and was ready to start. Just as the train got in motion someone shouted that the cover on one of the wagons was not tied, and the deceased walked forward to make it right, walking along the platform with the train. Witness heard another shout, and noticed the waggon rise slightly. On looking what the matter was he saw Chambers lying inside the rails. Witness immediately got the train stopped, and afterwards sent for medical assistance.

To the Coroner – Chambers tied the cover voluntarily. To the Foreman – The signalman had been in the habit of leaving the box to assist in the loading and unloading of wagons.

Robert Armstrong, porter, deposed to seeing the deceased tying down the cover on the waggon. The train was going slowly at the time when the deceased fell between the platform and the waggon. The deceased was looking up at the time and did not see where he was going. It was witness who told the deceased that the covers were tied. Many a time the covers were tied down when the train was in motion. He was aware it was contrary to the rules, and he had previously been forbidden by the stationmaster to go near the train when it was moving. There was not much time on this particular morning, as the passenger train was due in five minutes, and they were hurrying the goods train away. When there was heavy work the deceased usually gave them a hand, and it was because of the hurry this morning that deceased helped them. The cover was hooked on by a chain.

Daniel Madden, guard of the goods train, was examined, and corroborated the evidence given by previous witness.

Robert Steele, farmer, said the deceased, in reaching up to tie the cover, set his foot on the edge of the waggon, and slipped off, falling down between the platform and the waggon.

John Maginess, weaver, Dromore gave evidence of identification, and said his brother in law (the deceased) when in the infirmary told him that he was tying on the cover when the rope broke and he fell down.

Dr. Mussen, Glenavy, and Dr. Munce, locum tenens for Dr. St. George in the Infirmary. Having described the nature of the deceased’s injuries, gave the opinion that death was due to shock consequent on the injuries.

The jury after deliberating for a short time in private, found that the deceased died from exhaustion and shock, due to the serious injuries caused by the wheels of wagons passing over his legs, and the jurors were of the opinion that if the Board of Trade regulations had been observed the accident would not have occurred. They further recommended that the railway company should take into consideration the claims of deceased’s wife and family.

The Glenavy Railway Fatality

The following extract is from The Lisburn Herald – January 28th, 1905.

Dr. Adams, J.P., coroner, held an inquest on 20th inst., in the workhouse, Antrim, on the body of Robert Waddel, who died from injuries received on the railway line on the 19th inst. Robert Clinton, 14, Athol Street, Belfast, engine-driver for the Great Northern Railway said he was in charge of the 8.30 a.m. train from Belfast to Antrim on the 19th inst. About 1 ½ miles on the Crumlin side of Glenavy he noticed a man sitting on the outside of the line, who took no notice of the whistle. Witness applied the brake, but the stops of the carriages caught the deceased, knocking him over. The train was brought to a standstill at once, and the injured man brought to Antrim. Witness saw the man abut fifty yards ahead, and th train was going from thirty to thirty-five miles an hour at the time. The train was about 150 yards past the man when it stopped. Deceased was sitting with his back to the train, and the steam was immediately shut off when the witness saw him. Dr. Samuel gawn, said deceased was brought to hospital on a stretcher. He had a large lacerated wound on his left ear, and the bones of the skull and face were shattered and loose, the lower part of his brain being visible. The injuries received were the cause of death. The jury found in accordance with the medical evidence, and attached no blame to any person.

Presentation to Mr. W. Sherlock, Stationmaster at Glenavy

The following extract is from The Lisburn Herald – Saturday, April 21st, 1906.

A very interesting function took place at Glenavy on the 14th inst., when the popular stationmaster was presented by the subscribers and travellers from Glenavy with a splendid gold watch and chain as a token of their appreciation of his courtesy and attention to the travellers on the line during the ten years he has been stationmaster. The following were present on the occasion:-

Mr. John Laird,J.P., chairman; Mr. John McClure, hon. Treasurer; Mr. E.H.A. Branagh, hon. Secretary; Messrs. Thomas Sefton, W.H.H. Downer, Thomas Kerr, J. Johnston, and others. Dr. Mussen, J.P. sent an apology, being unable to be present. Mr. Laird said that Mr. Sherlock had been an ideal stationmaster, and. While he was most obliging and attentive to subscribers and passengers travelling on the line, he never forgot to consider and safe-guard the interest of his employers. Short complimentary speeches were made by Mr. McClure, Mr. Branagh, Mr. Kerr, and Mr. Sefton who handed Mr. Sherlock the watch and chain, after which Mr. Sherlock feelingly replied, stating that he would never forget the kindness of his friends at Glenavy, and that by continued attention to the wants of the passengers he hoped to retain the confidence of the public, while carefully looking after the interests of his employers.

Glenavy Railway Station

Railway Station, Glenavy, County Antrim

Railway Station, Glenavy, County Antrim

Pat outside the cabin with The Kenny family during the war years

Pat outside the cabin with The Kenny family during the war years

Tales of love and war at Glenavy Station

IN 1939 the Great Northern Railway was advertising an afternoon excursion to Portrush for the Grand Pageant on Wednesday July 5. The train was due to leave Lisburn at 2.15pm and Glenavy at 2.45pm and return later that evening from Portrush at 10pm for a third class return fare of 2 shillings and 6d, with children under fourteen being charged half fare.

The railways were an integral part of life here and we are told in April 1939 they meant the distribution of a £750,000 pay-roll annually spread over 5,194 employees.

Just months later, in the latter quarter of 1939, the trains on the Antrim Line would be operating in a different world with the start of the Second World War. People were going to have to adapt to the new restrictions and threats of enemy actions and the inhabitants of Glenavy and the surrounding area were no exception. Read more…

The changing fortunes of Glenavy railway station

Glenavy signal box on the morning of 12th July, 1902

Glenavy signal box on the morning of 12th July, 1902 as the Orangemen leave for their demonstration in Hillsborough

IT isn’t really that surprising that the 14 x 4 inch round ended Great Northern Railway cast iron station nameplate bearing the name “Glenavy” sold for £260 in an auction last year in England. Railway memorabilia is in demand by collectors worldwide.

Travelling by rail to Glenavy as a passenger is now impossible following the closure of the line to the public. I was told recently by a Northern Ireland Railways official that the line was kept open for operational reasons, which included the training of new drivers. Read more…

American military trains and strict GNR discipline

Tickets from the Antrim Line from the Ulster Transport Authority and GNR

Tickets from the Antrim Line from the Ulster Transport Authority and GNR

LEAVING Lisburn behind this week travel out to Knockmore and no-one better to have on board than my old friend, Lisburn man. Harry Mulholland. It is often said that in all of us there is a book, but in Harry’s case there are volumes. He has been no stranger to newspapers, radio and railway enthusiasts over the years due to his knowledge of the railway in the district. Read more…

GNR Envelope

A GNR envelope in possession of a local family

A GNR envelope in possession of a local family

Memorial at Lisburn Cemetery erected to the memory of Mercer Rice former station master at Lisburn

Memorial at Lisburn Cemetery erected to the memory of Mercer Rice former station master at Lisburn

Lisburn stationmaster held office for 55 years

IN 1900 Dunmurry born Mercer Rice was the stationmaster in Lisburn. He resided in the Stationmaster’s House – Railway House. It was reported that he had been appointed a station master at Dunmurry moving to Richill station in 1848, and at the age of twenty one found himself in charge of Lisburn station.

It was claimed that at the time of his death he was the oldest railway official in active service in the United Kingdom.

Mercer died in retirement on the afternoon of February 28, 1905 at Thornfield, Lisburn, which was the residence of his son Robert. He was also a farmer and he had farms in the Knockmore area. Read more…


Looking back at the early days of rail travel in Lisburn

Station Master's House

Station Master’s House

IT is a blatant clue to any outsider visiting an unfamiliar town or city that a thoroughfare bearing the name “Railway Street” will signify that there must be a railway contained within. Lisburn is no exception.

In ‘Lisburn Miscellany’ penned by Fred Kee and published in 1976 he mentions that Jackson’s Lane is changed on the 1844 map to Railway Street. This was during the period the Ulster Railway was opening. The line to Portadown opened in 1842. Read more…

Station Master Honoured

The following extract is from a local newspaper, date and source presently unknown.

Mr. W. Sherlock Honoured.
50 years as station master.

Mr. Wm. Sherlock, who recently completed half-a-century of service as stationmaster of Glenavy, and whose sterling qualities and courteous disposition have won for him a host of friends, was the guest of honour at a happy little ceremony in glenavy, when he was made the recipient of a wallet of notes as a tangible expression of the good wishes of the inhabitants of the town and district on his retirement.

The proceedings were opened by Mr. Samuel Porter, Lisnataylor, Nutt’s Corner, who presided over a representative attendance.

Mr. John Allister, Glenavy, said during his long term of office the people of the neighbourhood had received nothing bu kindness and civility at the hands of Mr. Sherlock, who, in serving the G.N.R. Company faithfully, had at the same time served the public. He had now retired, and his many friends sincerely hoped that he would enjoy a well-earned rest. (Applause)

The presentation was then made by Mrs. D. McCullough, The Mills, who paid a graceful tribute to Mr. Sherlock’s work and worth.

In returning thanks, Mr. Sherlock said it was difficult to reply to the many kind things which had been said about himself. His long period of service had been well spent if only because it had enabled him to make so many friends. On more than one occasion he had been offered promotion, but had always refused, as he could not face the prospect of uprooting himself and his family from that district. (Applause)

Mr. Sherlock recalled that he had served under five general managers of the G.N.R. He attributed his present good health to the fact that in his early days he had gone in for athletics, winning prizes for sprinting and the long jump. There had been a number of changes since he first came to Glenavy, but oone thing that had not changed was the generosity of the people. He was proud that in his own little sphere they had crowned so many years of kindness and consideration for him by making that presentation. He knew that in his retirement he had their esteem and good wishes, and no man could ask for more than that. (Applause)

Glenavy Railway Station and Signal Box

Glenavy Railway Station and Signal Box

Early 20th century picture of Glenavy Railway Station and Signal box.

Note the man in semi-uniform with a rifle.

Photograph in possession of a friend

William Sherlock

William Sherlock,

Stationmaster at Glenavy

A Railway Bridge at Glenavy

A Railway Bridge at Glenavy

Photograph in the possession of a friend

Glenavy Railway Bridge

The Railway Bridge at Glenavy

The Railway Bridge at Glenavy, believed to have been taken in the vicinity of Glen Road in the early part of the 20th Century.
The train has just passed by

Great Northern Railway Pencil

A pencil from the Great Northern Railway in the possession of a local family

A pencil from the Great Northern Railway in the possession of a local family

More Support for Trains

The following is from The Ulster Star dated 18th February 1961 and appears with permission of the Ulster Star.

Letters to the Editor
More support for Trains

Dear Sir,

I was pleased to read the letter in last week’s issue by Legaterriff Passenger, and to note his disapproval and disgust at having to travel by bus instead of in a comfortable train. His suggestion about interested people getting together is timely, and I think the time has come when something must be done.

If the U.T.U. would give us as reasonable train service at a reduced fare and cut out a lot of unnecessary buses many of us would cease using our cars and go by train.

Before the UTA came into being travelling was a pleasure and the public were considered, but not so now. I shall be glad to make a canvass of this neighbourhood and discover the views of the residents regarding train versus bus.

Yours etc.,
Glenavy Passenger.

Marsden Family

The following extract is from the Ulster Star dated 1st February 1974 and appears with permission of the Ulster Star.

Samuel Marsden

Samuel Marsden

Trains in the family.

The Marsden family of Ballinderry certainly believe in keeping a family of tradition going. For more than a century now, at least one member of the family in each generation has worked “on the railway.”

This long family tradition began back in 1971, when the Antrim – Lisburn line originally opened. It was then that Mr. Samuel Marsden became the first signalman.

After his death, the post was taken over by his son Alex and later his grandsons followed in the family footsteps – Norman and John Marsden.

Great grandsons.

But the story doesn’t end there. Far from it, in fact. Because there are three of Samuel Marsden’s great grandsons working for Northern Ireland Railways – Terence, James and Patrick Marsden!

And with the re-opening of the Antrim line, it looks as though the family will have plenty to keep them going for a few more generations to come.

There were other members of the family who also kept the family “line” going – John, James and engine-drivers Sam, all sons of the tradition founder.

Original Railway Signs from Crumlin and Glenavy Stations

Two original railway signs that were at Crumlin and Glenavy stations. They are worth up to £300 each now!!!

Original railway sign that was at Crumlin station

Original railway sign that was at Crumlin station.

Glenavy Railway sign

Original railway sign that was at Glenavy station

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