Ballycastle Railway 1812 - 1924

Railway company

Construction of the Ballycastle Railway started in December 1878 and was planned to be ready for the summer traffic of 1880. However, the Board of Trade inspector did not give permission for it to open until 18 October 1880, by which time the defects had been corrected. It ran 16¼-miles from Ballymoney, on the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway (B&NCR), later Northern Counties Committee (NCC), main line to Derry, to Ballycastle.

From the start the line was in financial difficulties and by 1922 the Railway Commission recommended its absorption by the NCC. However, a single loss at the end of 1923 spelled the end of the railway. At a meeting of the board on 21 January 1924 it was decided to close the line. On 8 February the shareholders consented to the closure and it took place on 24 March 1924. The railway unsuccessfully approached the Government of Northern Ireland for assistance. The NCC were approached and they offered £10,000. The board asked for more and other shareholders lobbied the NCC to increase the offer. As a result the Ballycastle Railway was sold to the NCC for £12,500 on 4 May 1924. Services did not recommence immediately due to a maintenance backlog and re-equipping with rolling stock transferred from the NCC's other narrow gauge lines. It reopened on 11 August 1924, although legal title to the line was not finalised until 7 August 1925.