The heyday of Newry, Dundalk & Greenore Railway


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One of the most important chapters in the history of rail and sea communications between Great Britain and the Carlingford area was the Dundalk, Newry and Greenore Railway, which closed seventy years ago. The railway was designed in the 1860s to connect Dundalk and Newry to the London and North Western Railway port at Greenore, from where a ferry service operated to Holyhead.

1900s map showing the route (in red) of the Newry, Dundalk and Greenore railway.  The line ran along the northern and southern shores of the Colley Peninsula and converged on Greenore.  Collection of the Newry and Morne museum
1900s map showing the route (in red) of the Newry, Dundalk and Greenore railway. The line ran along the northern and southern shores of the Colley Peninsula and converged on Greenore. Collection of the Newry et Morne museum

The development of the railway was a long process. Initially, two schematics had been prepared; one by the Newry and Greenore Company and the other by the Dundalk and Greenore Railway Company with a rivalry between the two factions. The articles of incorporation of the two companies received Royal Assent on 28e July 1863 and the Dundalk and Greenore Railway Act authorize the formation of the company.

Passenger tickets issued for the Newry, Dundalk & Greenore Railway.  The railroad was a popular and convenient way to travel around the Cooley Peninsula.  Collection of the Newry and Morne museum
Passenger tickets issued for the Newry, Dundalk & Greenore Railway. The railroad was a popular and convenient way to travel around the Cooley Peninsula. Collection of the Newry and Morne museum

In 1867, the Newry and Greenore Company collapsed and responsibility was taken over by the London and North Western Railway Company. From that point on, London and North Western’s control over the company gradually tightened. It was very unusual for an Irish railway to be wholly owned by British transport interests.

The first track was opened between Dundalk and Greenore in 1873. Construction began on the Newry to Greenore line in 1874. The line was considered to have occupied one of the most scenic locations of any railroad in Ireland, with the Carlingford Mountains to one side and great views north over Carlingford Lough to the Morne Mountains. The Newry line to Greenore was unique with stations at Omeath and Carlingford. Services began in 1876 with three mixed trains per day. Initially, trains started from Bridge Street station in Newry, but in 1880 trains were extended to Edward Street station.

Omeath Station was one of the rural stations along the railway route on the north side of the Cooley Peninsula.  Collection of the Newry and Morne museum
Omeath Station was one of the rural stations along the railway route on the north side of the Cooley Peninsula. Collection of the Newry and Morne museum

Although the company only had 26.75 miles of railroad tracks, it also had a port, hotel, golf course, bathing machines and even its own reservoir, water supply, water system. sewer and its electricity supply.

After World War I, the development of Greenore came to a halt. The partition in 1921 caused difficulties for the railway, especially since the new border crossed the route of the line. This led to the introduction of customs provisions along the Newry to Greenore route.

Passenger tickets issued for the Newry, Dundalk & Greenore Railway.  The railroad was a popular and convenient way to travel around the Cooley Peninsula.  Collection of the Newry et Morne museum
Passenger tickets issued for the Newry, Dundalk & Greenore Railway. The railroad was a popular and convenient way to travel around the Cooley Peninsula. Collection of the Newry and Morne museum

The railway became the property of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway in 1923, but an agreement was made in 1933 for the line to be operated by the Great Northern Railway. As the partition placed an international border across the Greenore – Newry line, it was neither absorbed by the Great Southern Railways in 1925 nor by the Ulster Transport Authority in 1948.

From 1923, the railway gradually declined. As a result, the decision was made to shut down the railway in 1951. However, it remained alive as a company for over five years, due to the legal complexities of divesting and dissolving a company. located partly in Northern Ireland and the Republic. In July 1957, the British Transport Commission Act formally dissolved the Dundalk, Newry and Greenore Railway Company.

Poster advertising the <a class=Isle of Man to Greenore crossings. The Greenore Railway, operated by the London and North Western Railway Company, linked Newry, Dundalk and the rural stations of the Cooley Peninsula to Greenore, making the port the main cross-Channel passenger embarkation point in the Carlingford area. Collection of the Newry et Morne museum” title=”Poster advertising the Isle of Man to Greenore crossings. The Greenore Railway, operated by the London and North Western Railway Company, linked Newry, Dundalk and the rural stations of the Cooley Peninsula to Greenore, making the port the main cross-Channel passenger embarkation point in the Carlingford area. Collection of the Newry and Morne museum”/>
Poster advertising the Isle of Man to Greenore crossings. The Greenore Railway, operated by the London and North Western Railway Company, linked Newry, Dundalk and the rural stations of the Cooley Peninsula to Greenore, making the port the main cross-Channel passenger embarkation point in the Carlingford area. Collection of the Newry and Morne museum

The Newry et Morne museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please call 0330 137 4422 for more information.

by Noëlle Murtagh

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