|Successor(s)||Great Northern Railway (Ireland)|
|Area served||County Antrim, County Armagh, County Down, County Monaghan|
The Ulster Railway was a railway company operating in Ulster, Ireland. The company was incorporated in 1836 and merged with two other railway companies in 1876 to form the Great Northern Railway (Ireland).
The first 8 miles (13 kilometres) of line, between Belfast Great Victoria Street and Lisburn, County Antrim, were completed in August 1839 at a cost of £107,000. The line was extended in stages, opening to Lurgan in 1841, Portadown in 1842, and Armagh in 1848.
In 1836 a Railway Commission recommended that railways in Ireland be built to 6 ft 2 in (1,880 mm) broad gauge. The Ulster Railway complied with this recommendation but the Dublin and Drogheda Railway did not. In order for Dublin and Belfast to be linked without a break of gauge, in 1846 the UK Parliament passed an Act adopting a compromise gauge of 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm) for Ireland, to which the Ulster Railway's track was then re-laid.
The Dublin and the Belfast Junction Railway (D&BJct) between Drogheda and Portadown was completed in 1853. This connected the Dublin and Drogheda Railway (D&D) with the Ulster Railway, thus completing the main line between Dublin and Belfast.
The Ulster Railway operated three lines that remained in the ownership of separate companies: the Portadown, Dungannon and Omagh Junction Railway (PD&O), Banbridge, Lisburn and Belfast Railway (BLBR) and Dublin and Antrim Junction Railway (D&AJR). The PD&O reached Dungannon in 1858 and Omagh in 1861, and the contractor William Dargan sold the Ulster a 999 year lease on it in 1860. The BLBR opened between Knockmore Junction and Banbridge in 1863 and the D&AJR opened between Knockmore Junction and Antrim in 1871.
|The Ulster Railway|
Sources and further reading
- FitzGerald, J.D. (1995). The Derry Road. Colourpoint Transport. Gortrush: Colourpoint Press. p. 1. ISBN 1-898392-09-9.
- Hajducki, S. Maxwell (1974). A Railway Atlas of Ireland. Newton Abbott: David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-5167-2.
- McCutcheon, Alan (1969). Ireland. Railway History in Pictures 1. Newton Abbott: David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-4651-2.
- Patterson, E.M. (1986) . Great Northern Railway of Ireland. Oakwood Library of Railway History. Lingfield: Oakwood Press. ISBN 0-85361-343-5.
- 1843 Timetable for Belfast and Portadown, from Bradshaw's Railway Monthly