John Speller's Web Pages Northern Counties Committee

John Speller's Web Pages - Irish Railways
Northern Counties Committee (Midland Railway of England) Untitled HBRHorizontal MR Horizontal Menu Untitled
The 5 ft. 3 in. gauge Belfast & Ballymena Railway opened on 11 April 1848 and subsequently grew into the Belfast & Northern Counties Railway, a system stretching from Belfast to Londonderry. For the locomotive history of the BNCR see Belfast & Northern Counties Railway Locomotives. The Midland Railway of England acquired the BNCR on 1 July 1903, and it was subsequently known as the Northern Counties Committee. The NCC became part of the LMS in 1923 and of British Railways in 1948. In 1949, however, it was transferred to the Ulster Transport Authority, which then had responsibility for all bus and rail transportation in Ireland. The system comprised 201 miles of 5 ft. 3 in. gauge lines and 64 miles of 3 ft. gauge lines. After 1903 locomotives were largely broad-gauge modifications of standard MR and LMS designs. They included broad gauge derivatives of Midland 2-P 4-4-0s ("Castle" or U2 Class), the Hughes "Crab" Class 2-6-0s ("W" Class) and the famous 2-6-4T "WT" or "Jeep" Class introduced in 1947. Unlike some of their LMS cousins, however, none of the NCC locomotives had taper boilers. Some of the "Jeeps" lasted until 1970, by which time they were the last steam locomotives in main line service in the British Isles.
Map of the Northern Counties Committee of the Midland Railway in 1906
NCC "WT" Class 2-6-4T No. 4 at Belfast in 1957. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons. This locomotive has happily been preserved
Preserved NCC "U2" Class 4-4-0 No. 74 "Dunluce Castle," built by the North British Locomotive Co. in 1924. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
The NCC's "North Atlantic Express," which ran from Belfast to Portrush, behind "W" Class 2-6-0
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