We paid a visit to the Downpatrick & Co. Down Railway on Sunday and managed to have a good look around as well as a ride on the train. Of course, the weather for an afternoon in July left much to be desired, but there was plenty to do to keep us (and the kids) busy until the train came along.
Inside, the terminal building is a fairly authentic looking railway station, complete with ticket booth and shop. The upstairs is given to a photographic display and a small model railway. On the day we visited, one of the volunteers was allowing the children to operate the controls of the trains.
When you walk onto the platform at Downpatrick, you’re presented with a quaint picture of a vintage railway line over which the Down Catherdal is just visible.
A barrow of old luggage rests to the side of the door, and a buffet car now serves as a tea room, where you can nip in for a quick cuppa.
Of course, you really wanted to hear about the trains. I can’t claim to be an expert, but the steam trains and their carriages are in fine order, thanks to the care and attention of the railway volunteers.
It’s a real blast to hop aboard this old fashioned steam engine and sit in one of the private compartments. The windows are secured by leather straps that secure onto a hook on the window ledge. Of course, leaving the window down during the journey is almost guaranteed to get you a face full of smoke at some point.
Our journey took us from Downpatrick over to Inch Abbey, a journey time of around 10 minutes. When the train stops, you have an excellent opportunity to stretch your legs and watch the engine as it hitches to the other end of the carriages to begin the return journey.
More Information About Downpatrick Railway
To find out more about the Downpatrick and Co. Down Railway, your first port of call should be their website. It’s written in warm and inviting language, and everything about it shows the passion of the volunteers for the upkeep of these engines.
Our first experience on the Downpatrick Railway was at Halloween, and true to form, the railway runs a number of special events on feast days and can also cater to private hire of the engines.