Downpatrick & County Down Railway

Downpatrick & County Down Railway

RSPI Avonside 0-6-0ST No.3 'R H Smyth' crossing the River

(Pictures: © Copyright Wilson Adams and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.)

The D&CDR is based in the Northern Irish town of Downpatrick.

The line opened in 1985, and was originally part of the Belfast & Co. Down Railway est. in 1848, which operated for 100 years until 1948!

There were six main routes to this line, the Mainline, Bangor Branch, Donaghadee Branch, Ardglass Branch, Castlewellan Branch and the Central line!

The D&CDR today runs for approx. 3 miles on two separate routes.

Similar to the Bodmin and Wenford Railway in Cornwall the D&CDR stars at a central Station, and then forks out in two directions, each roughly 1 1/2 miles in length!

The Railway has been relaid in the original gauge of 5′ 3″, “Irish Standard Gauge”, than the more common 4′ 8 1/2″ which is the Standard gauge around the world.

The Station houses a waiting Room and gift Shop.

There is also the Beautifully restored Signal Box, which can be visited.

At the Northern Terminus of the Line at Inch Abbey, passengers can alight and visit the ruins. On the other route King Magnus’s Halt, built in 2003 after the discovery of a Viking burial mound of King Magnus.

A rarity on Preserved railways in the British Isles is a Triangle, the D&CDR are one of only two Railways to have a Triangle of Track, the other being the West Somerset Railway at Norton Fitzwarren! This is located at the Loop, where the trains can take the Alternative routes.


Operating Dates: See Website

Operational Locomotives:

  • Avonside 0-6-0ST No.3 R H Smyth (On Loan from the RSPI)
  • GSWR 0-6-0T No.90 (On Loan from Irish Rail)(Currently undergoing minor repairs at Whitehead)
  • Orenstein and Koppel 0-4-0T No.3 ( Sister Loco No.1 is also at the line, undergoing Restoration!)
  • CIE Maybach Diesel Hydraulic Locomotives E432 & E421
  • CIE Diesel Hydraulic G-Class G613
  • BR Leyland-BREL Railbus RB3


Avonside rounding the curve into Downpatrick Station

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