Station Name: LONDONDERRY VICTORIA ROAD

[Source: Jim McBride & Paul Wright]

Date opened: 6.8.1900
Location: West side of Victoria Road
Company on opening: Donegal Railway
Date closed to passengers: 1.1.1955
Date closed completely: 23.9.1955
Company on closing: UTA
Present state: Extant
County: Derry
OS Grid Ref: C438159
Date of visit: 7.7.2016

Notes: Londonderry Victoria Road station was the eastern terminus of the Donegal Railway Company (DR) Strabane – Derry/Londonderry line which opened to goods on 1 August 1900 and to passengers on the 6 August 1900. By the mid-1890s the DR had a 75mile network of 3ft gauge railways but the closest they came to Derry/Londonderry was Strabane. Strabane was linked to Derry/Londonderry by the Great Northern Railway Ireland (GNRI) who had a line of the Irish standard gauge (5ft 3inch) that terminated at Londonderry Foyle Road on the west side (the city side) of the River Foyle. The fact that the DR had a different gauge meant that goods had to be transhipped at Strabane which added to costs. The DR had decided that it needed a line of its own and authorisation was obtained for a 14½ mile that ran to the south of the River Foyle.

Victoria Road station was located on the eastern bank of the River Foyle close to the Carlisle Bridge (replaced in 1933 by the Craigavon Bridge) which provided access to Derry/Londonderry.
The station consisted of a single-storey brick building which faced onto Victoria Road. To the rear of the building there was an enclosed circulating area followed by an island platform that had two faces. A canopy extended from the building to the mid-point of the platform.

Victoria Road also had a goods warehouse and an engine shed. A signal box located on the river side of the line just beyond the end of the platform controlled traffic movements at the station.
At the time of opening passenger services ran to and from Strabane where connections with other parts of the system were available.

On 1 May 1906 the DR was taken over by the GNRI and the Midland Railway (MR) who formed a joint company which they named as the County Donegal Railway Joint Committee (CDR). As the GNRI already had a wholly owned route between Strabane and Derry/Londonderry the former DR 3ft gauge line from Victoria Road to Strabane passed wholly to the MR. Train services however were operated by the CDR.

In 1922 Ireland was partitioned into two separate countries. County Donegal, where most of the CDR network was located, became part of the Irish Free State. County Tyrone and County Derry/Londonderry, through which the Strabane – Londonderry Victoria Road passed, became part of Northern Ireland. Whilst the partition caused operational difficulties for the CDR there was little effect on the MR section of line which lay wholly in Northern Ireland.



In 1923 the MR was absorbed into the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS) who operated their Irish lines as the Northern Counties Committee (NCC). Train services at Victoria Road continued to be operated by the CDR.

In April 1949 the LMS NCC was nationalised by the Northern Ireland Government and placed under the Ulster Transport Authority (UTA). The UTA was a notoriously anti-rail organisation that set about closing lines almost from the beginning (on 16 January 1950 it had closed almost the entire network of the Belfast & County Down Railway). The line between Londonderry Victoria Road and Strabane was an anomaly to the UTA (its only 3ft gauge line after 1950) and in 1954 it announced its intention to close the line.

The last scheduled passenger services ran on 31 December 1954 and Londonderry Victoria Road officially closed on 1 January 1955. It came back alive for one day, Thursday 30 June 1955, when an excursion train was run from Strabane.

Track lifting commenced in November 1955.

The station was extant in 2020 and being used as a bathroom supply shop.

CLICK HERE FOR A DETAILED HISTORY OF VICTORIA ROAD STATION

Tickets from Michael Stewart. Timetables from Chris Hind and Jim McBride. Route map by Alan Young

Sources:

  • 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:New Buildings, Desertone Halt, Cullion, Donemana, Ballyheather Halt, Ballymagorry and Stabane (CDR)

Click here to see the Donegal Railway Heritage Centre website

Londonderry Victoria Road station looking north along the platform in October 1953. Departing from the station is a service for Strabane. At the head of the train is CDR locomotive number 1 'Alice'. The station goods sidings are filled with wagons which shows that goods traffic was still buoyant at this time.
Copyright photo from the Colour Rail collection


Londonderry Victoria Road station shown on a Railway Clearing House map from 1915. The lines of the Midland Railway Northern Counties Committee are coloured green. The company had two stations at Londonderry, the other one being Waterside.

Londonderry Victoria Road station looking south-west on 24 June 1937. The 2.05pm service from Stranorlar had just arrived. At the head of the train is 'Class 5' 2-6-4T locomotive number 5 'Drumboe'. The proximity of the station to the River Foyle is clearly demonstrated.
P
hoto by H C Casseley

A view of Londonderry Victoria Road station looking north-east in June 1953. Waiting to depart for Strabane is a typical train of that era with CDR locomotive 'Foyle' at its head. Two coaches had been adequate for the numbers of passengers that travelled on the line for many years. Beyond the station the Craigavon Bridge can be seen. It provided a link between the Waterside district and the city of Derry/Londonderry.
Copyright photo
by Jim Jarvis from the Colour Rail collection

Londonderry Victoria Road station looking north-west on 7 July 2016.
P
hoto by Paul Wright

Click here to see more photos

 

 

 

[Source: Jim McBride & Paul Wright]




Last updated: Monday, 21-Sep-2020 21:32:37 CEST
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