Notes: Gortnagallon station was the western terminus of a 2¼ mile branch that opened in May 1942 to serve the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) Langford Lodge Base Air Depot Number 3. The site for the air base was selected in October 1941. The base was built by the British Ministry of Aircraft Production and it was staffed by the American Lockheed Aircraft Corporation who used civilian employees. Construction of the base was carried out between January and October 1942. Aircraft were assembled, tested and commissioned at the base.
The connecting railway line was built by the British Ministry of Aircraft Production and it connected to the Great Northern Railway Ireland (GNRI) Lisburn – Antrim branch at a point ¼ of a mile to the north of Crumlin station (at what became Siding Junction).
The station consisted of a wooden island platform with two faces. It was located on the northern side of the base close to Ardmore Road.
Trains were operated by the GNRI. As well as troop trains and goods workings there was also a timetabled passenger service which was put on so that workers could easily reach the base which was in an isolated location on the eastern bank of Lough Neagh. Only workers and military personnel from the base could use the trains which were heavily guarded by the USAAF.
The base was extended during the winter of 1943-44. In its final form the base had two concrete runways, 26 pan hard standings with 100 'fingers’ for aircraft storage, eight Robin and some 20 Butler hangars, plus a Lockheed-designed hangar.
By 1 January 1944 a total of 6,900 personnel worked on base: 2,913 locals, 2,883 Lockheed Aircraft Corporation and 1,104 US military.
On 7 August 1944 the USAAF vacated the base and it was taken over by the RAF in 1946. Passenger services to Gortnagallon station had ceased by October 1945 and the branch had been lifted by 11 April 1948 when Siding Junction was removed. The base closed completely as a military facility in 1953.
Tickets from Michael Stewart and route map by Alan Young
- Along UTA Lines, Ulsters Rail Network in the 1960s - Ian McLarnon Sinclair - Colourpoint 2009
- Johnson's Atlas & Gazetteer of the Railways of Ireland - Stephen Johnson - Midland Publishing 1997
See Also: Crumlin