Notes: Ballyheather Halt was opened by the Donegal Railway (DR) in 1902. It was located on the DR Strabane – Londonderry Victoria Road line which had opened to goods on 1 August 1900 and to passengers on 6 August 1900. The 14½ mile line was of the 3ft gauge and it had been built to provide the DR with direct access to the city of Derry/Londonderry (from 1894 until the line opened the DR had to tranship goods onto the 5ft 3inch gauge Great Northern Railway Ireland [GNRI] route to Londonderry Foyle Road).
Located 10 miles from Victoria Road and 4½ from Strabane, the halt at Ballyheather was provided with a short single platform located on the west side of the line. A simple waiting shelter was provided which gave some protection from the weather.
On 1 May 1906 the DR was taken over jointly by the GNRI and the Midland Railway (MR) of England. The joint concern was called the County Donegal Railway Joint Committee (CDR). As the GNRI had a line of its own between Strabane and Derry/Londonderry the route through New Buildings (between Strabane and Derry/Londonderry) passed into the sole ownership of the MR. The station staff at Ballyheather and other intermediate stations became MR NCC employees. The train services however were operated by the CDR.
In December 1921 (following the Irish War of Independence) the island of Ireland was partitioned into two separate countries, The Irish Free State and Northern Ireland. Most of the CDR network was located within the Irish Free State but the NCC line through Ballyheather was located wholly within Northern Ireland.
In 1923 the MR was absorbed into the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS) who became the part owner of the CDR and the owner of the Strabane – Londonderry Victoria Road line. The LMS let their network in Northern Ireland operate as the Northern Counties Committee (NCC).
In April 1949 the former NCC network was purchased by the Northern Ireland government on behalf of the UTA for £2.67 million. Being part of the NCC network the Strabane – Londonderry Victoria Road line passed to the ownership of the UTA but it continued to be worked by the CDR. The UTA announced its intention to close the line between Londonderry Victoria Road and Strabane in October 1954. The last scheduled passenger trains ran from Ballyheather Halt on 31 December 1954.
CLICK HERE FOR A DETAILED HISTORY OF BALLYHEATHER HALT
Tickets from Michael Stewart. Timetables from Chris Hind and Jim McBride. Route map
by Alan Young
- Begley, J et al The County Donegal Railway - A Visitors Guide (County Donegal Railway Restoration Society, 1999)
- Bunch, M Michael Bunch's Donegal Railway Diary Part 1 1954-1955 (County Donegal Railway Restoration CLG, 2017)
- Bunch, M Michael Bunch's Donegal Railway Diary Part 1 1956-2018 (County Donegal Railway Restoration CLG, 2019)
- Johnson, S Johnson's Atlas & Gazetteer of The Railways of Ireland (Midland Publishing, 1997)
- Patterson, E M The County Donegal Railways - Revised Edition (Colourpoint,2014)
To see the other disused
stations on the Londonderry Victoria Road and Strabane railway click on the station
name: Londonderry Victoria Road, New Buildings, Desertone Halt, Cullion, Donemana, Ballymagorry and Strabane (CDR)
Click here to see the Donegal Railway Heritage Centre website