John Speller's Web Pages Ulster Railway

John Speller's Web Pages - Irish Railways
Ulster Railway Untitled HBRHorizontal
The Ulster Railway began as a 6 ft. 2 in broad gauge line which opened from Belfast to Lisburn in 1839. By 1863 it had reached as far as Clones in County Monaghan. The Ulster railway (Belfast to Portadown line), Dublin and Drogheda Railway and Dublin and the Belfast Junction Railway (Drogheda to Portadown line, completed in 1852), together formed the main line between Dublin and Belfast. In 1876 the Ulster Railway merged with the Irish North Western Railway, and Northern Railway of Ireland, to form the Great Northern Railway (Ireland).

The 6 ft. 2 in. gauge began to cause problems in the early 1840s, when the Ulster Railway wished to extend its line to Armagh, while the Dublin & Drogheda line, which seemed destined to connect with it, was proposed as a 5 ft. 2 in. gauge line. Meanwhile the Dublin & Kingstown Railway, which also connected with the Dublin & Drogheda Railway, was 4 ft. 8 in. gauge. A Royal Commission was set up and Robert Stephenson was called in to give advice. Having ruled out Brunel's 7 ft. 0 in. gauge, Stephenson recommended a gauge between 5 ft. and 5 ft. 6 in. Major-General Pasley recommended splitting the difference and thus 5 ft. 3 in. became the standard Irish gauge. The Ulster Railway was converted to 5 ft. 3 in gauge in 1846.
Map of the Ulster Railway
Moira station on the Ulster Railway dates from 1841, making it the oldest railway station in Northern Ireland
Railway Bridge at Dunmurry on the Ulster Railway built in 1839. Image � Brian Shaw
Ulster Railway cast iron no trespassing sign
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