THE TRUST'S PLANS


  When the last train pulled out of Donaghadee at 9.15pm on Saturday  22nd April, 1950, so ended the town’s almost 90 year relationship with the Railway.   As the last train left the town for Belfast, one local resident, Mrs. Mary Ann Miskimmin of Ballyvester, who was in her ninety-seventh year, travelled by taxi with her daughter to Semple’s Bridge on the Killaughey Road, to watch it’s departure.   Almost 90 years earlier, as a seven year old girl, she stood with her father at Logan’s Arch to see the arrival of the first train on 3rd June, 1861.

The New Location can now be Revealed!


Following the decision to abandon the Saintfield - Crossgar - Ballynahinch project, the Trust, in co-operation with the Belfast & County Down Railway Company Limited, has been in discussion with Ards and North Down Borough Council.    As a result, the Council has offered the the use of a site at Bangor for the storage of rolling stock whilst negotiations continue regarding the former B.& C.D.R. track-bed between Donaghadee and Millisle Road Halt as the first phase of a new Heritage Steam Railway


THE INITIAL OBJECTIVES


Because of a few objections to the original plan, we have agreed to revise the plans, and rather than proceed with the whole of the first three-quarters of a mile from Donaghadee, the new plan will be for a static railway museum based at the former Millisle Road Halt.

  
Millisle Road Halt was the last station on the approach to Donaghadee, and was opened by the Belfast & County Down Railway on 1st February 1928.
  
The station had only the one platform, and was situated in the cutting between the Millisle Road bridge, and the stone footbridge that allows access between Norwyn Avenue and The Commons.

The platform was 447 feet long, excluding the ramps at each end, taking up practically the full distance between the two bridges, as shown in the photographs.
The station was capable of handling trains of up to 10 or 11 of the Belfast & County Down Railway’s 6-wheeled carriages.

Along with the rest of the line between Donaghadee and Belfast, the Halt saw its last train on 22nd April, 1950, and has lain dormant ever since, having become very heavily overgrown over the last 67 years.

  
PLANS FOR MILLISLE ROAD HALT
 
The revised plan for Millisle Road Halt envisages a static Heritage Railway Museum, with a possibility of providing short train rides, based on approximately the first 1,250 feet of the line from the Millisle Road towards Donaghadee.

This will include the 500 feet between the two bridges, and approximately a further 750-800 feet from the stone footbridge to the end of the cutting.

It is proposed to reinstate the platform to its original condition, and to erect a small waiting room and booking office as close as possible to the original shown in the photographs.
  
With the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund it is proposed to have our original Belfast & County Down Railway carriage, No. 18, restored and placed at the platform for permanent display.   A further three carriages are to be acquired and placed at the platform thereby creating a train of carriages at the platform.

One of these additional carriages will have the interior removed, and will have display cabinets installed to hold artefacts and photographs depicting the history of the Belfast & County Down Railway.   A second will also be used for display purposes, and, it is hoped, will include a model of the Belfast & County Down Railway at Donaghadee, but will also have a video screen and seating as in a cinema for the showing of films and Power Point programmes relating to the history of the railway.

A third such carriage will be used as a small café serving snacks and drinks, whilst it is hoped that this will also house a souvenir and bookshop.   If this proves to have insufficient space a further carriage may have to be acquired.

Because of the ‘County Down Railway’s links with the military, and the fact that many staff were killed during both the First and Second World Wars, we propose to have special exhibits in one of the carriages to highlight those links, and other links with the Army, the Royal Navy, and the Royal Air Force where possible.   This will include information on the three B.& C.D.R. Paddle Steamers that visited Donaghadee frequently during the summer months, and which served as minesweepers with the Royal Navy during the First World War.

Whereas the original plan was to create a museum that could allow us bring in engines and rolling stock that could be representative of other Irish railways, the emphasis of this new proposed museum will be to purely represent the history of the Belfast & County Down Railway, and will concentrate on photographs and artefacts from the Trust’s extensive collection.   The Trust already has an extensive library which it is intended to make available for research.

The objective will be to create a typical B.& C.D.R. rural station, which Millisle Road Halt clearly was, and to attempt to re-create the aura and atmosphere of the old Belfast & County Down Railway  which was quite unique.

Original style lamps and seating will be provided along the platform, and it is hoped that the overall concept will take visitors on a journey back in time.   Extending the line to the end of the cutting will allow visitors to get an impression of the aspect of the railway extending beyond the Halt towards Donaghadee, and will also allow for the operation of short train rides in due course.


In the section of the cutting beyond the footbridge it should be possible to install double track, which would allow a siding for the possible storage of any additional vehicles, or to add interest to the short train rides.

This new proposal will be contained totally within the cutting area, and will not infringe on the privacy of any residents either above the cutting, or along Marine Drive.   No attempts will be made to extend the museum towards either Donaghadee or Newtownards without the express agreement of either the Council and/or of any residents who may still wish to object.
































​​​​MILLISLE ROAD HALT ON 31st JANUARY,1928 LOOKING TOWARDS DONAGHADEE.
THE FINISHING TOUCHES ARE BEING PUT TO THE STATION FOR OPENING THE NEXT DAY.

LOOKING IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION IN THE 1930'S.
4-4-2T No. 13 heads a Belfast bound train along the section of line between Donaghadee and Millisle Road Halt during the 1930's.
​MILLISLE ROAD HALT TODAY.
An Excursion train of 14 carriages from Belfast approaches Millisle Road Halt under the bridge at Millisle Road during the 1930's.

We hope to be in a position to announce a final agreement with the Council in the near future, and we will be requiring volunteers to help remove the 60+ years of growth in the cutting, and to help with the recreation of the Halt.

The future of the entire project is now in the hands of
Ards and North Down Borough Council.

Does the Council want a Railway Museum at Donaghadee, or will
the site of the former Millisle Road Halt remain as a piece of
​overgrown useless land?

​PLEASE JOIN US IF YOU WOULD BE INTERESTED IN HELPING
To undertake the development of a Heritage Steam Railway the Trust has registered a new company, The Belfast & County Down Company Limited.   This is a company limited by guarantee, and is registered with the Charity Commission in Northern Ireland.

Company Number: NI 610234.       Registered Charity Number: NIC 100563.

The B.& C.D.R. Company Limited will undertake the development and eventual operation of the Heritage Steam Railway, and will be supported by the Trust and its members.

The B.& C.D.R. Museum Trust will provide museum facilities, and will undertake the development and operation of a Museum to be based at Donaghadee.    The Trust will also undertake the publication of books etc., to promote interest in the history of Irish railways, and will support the company in every way possible.   

Trust members will have access to all aspects of the Museum and the Heritage Steam Railway, and are invited to get involved in the development of this new museum.
Download Membership Form
Help us to build our line by Sponsoring a Sleeper!
Download a Sleeper Sponsorship Form below.

In the event that we are unable to proceed with our plans all monies raised by this appeal will be refunded in full.
       Sleeper Appeal Form


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1 - Carriage displaying exhibits.
2 - Carriage displaying exhibits and models.
3 - Carriage serving snacks and drinks.
4 - Carriage 18 fully restored.
5 - Replica of original Ticket Office and Waiting Room.
6 - Access to platform from Millisle Road.

THE FOLLOWING DONAGHADEE TRADERS ARE FAVOURABLE TO THE PLANS FOR A RAILWAY MUSEUM IN THE TOWN


PLEASE GIVE THEM YOUR FULL SUPPORT

​BLUEDOT ANTIQUES
4 ​THE PARADE

PETALS & BUDS Floral Designers
​2 HIGH STREET

​BUY-WELL Clothing
​45 HIGH STREET
recaf&ate  Coffee Shop
25 NEW STREET
THE CO-OPERATIVE Grocery
20 ​NEW STREET
​J. WRIGHT  Butchers
​13 HIGH STREET
The Belfast & County Down Railway Company Limited has been chosen by the Co-op for inclusion as one of the local charities to benefit from the Co-op Community Fund.

We would ask all our members and friends  in the Donaghadee area to please designate us as their chosen beneficiary each time they make a purchase at the local Co-op.

The more people who designate the railway museum as their chosen charity, the greater the benefit the museum will receive.

Thank you sincerely for your support.


ROBIN'S NEST Gift Shop/Cafe
14 ​NEW STREET
J. DEVONPORT Butchers
​11 NEW STREET
BON APPETIT Bakery & Deli
9 ​NEW STREET

COUNTY HARDWARE
​8 NEW STREET
HELP COMPUTER STORE
​HIGH STREET
The YACHTSMAN INN
​13 NEW STREET
All photographs on our web site are copyright
​and should not be copied without prior permission.