Notes: Londonderry station, located on the east bank of the River Foyle, opposite the historic City of Derry/Londonderry, was opened by Northern Ireland Railways (NIR) on 24 February 1980 as a replacement for the ex-Midland Railway Northern Counties Committee Londonderry Waterside station which had opened on 29 December 1852 (but was rebuilt between 1873 and 1875) as the western terminus of the Coleraine – Londonderry line. The line had become part of the London Midland & Scottish Railway in 1923 and was nationalised as part of the Ulster Transport Authority (UTA) in April 1949. In 1968 the UTA was abolished and NIR was formed.
In September 2018 platform 2 was taken out of use and its track was lifted so that works associated with recommissioning the Waterside station could go ahead. On 8 October 2019 the station was closed completely so that the remaining works could take place. The new facility at the old Waterside station opened for rail traffic on 21 October 2019. The 1980 Londonderry station was demolished over the two days of 5 and 6 December 2019. The site was then developed as a car park.
During the 1970s Londonderry Waterside station was bombed by the IRA on two occasions. The latter occasion occurred on 4 May 1978 when four bombs were exploded in the station causing extensive damage. The NIR took the decision to use the criminal damage compensation to build a new smaller station on land that lay to the west of the Waterside facility.
The 1980 station consisted of a simple brick built single storey building. The building was linked to a single island platform which had two faces. The west facing face was numbered as platform one and the east facing face as platform 2. Protection from the elements was provided by a canopy that extended from the building for about a quarter of the platform’s length.
A signal box was located inside the station building, which controlled the lines into both platforms plus five sidings, referred to as ‘Goods Sidings’. Three of the sidings were actually inside the old Waterside station. The sidings were used by goods services that ran to the Republic of Ireland.
In 1980 passenger services ran to Belfast Central via Crumlin and Lisburn. The journey to Belfast on the fast trains took 2 hours 7minutes.
Goods services to the Republic of Ireland had ceased by June 1983 but fertiliser traffic continued to operate on a season basis up until about 1996.
On 28 November 1994 the Cross Harbour line opened at Belfast, providing a direct link across the city, and on 15 October 2001 NIR reopened the 15 mile Antrim – Bleach Green Junction line (which had been closed in 1980) and from that date services from Londonderry ran via that line to Belfast Great Victoria Street (via Belfast Central). This route was shorter than the route via Lisburn but the journey time between Londonderry and Belfast Central was not much faster at 2 hours 3 minutes (but there were more stops).
In 2010 the idea of creating a new station for Derry/Londonderry was mooted and as the original Waterside station was still standing, and listed, consideration was given to using it to create a modern transport hub. In 2016 NIR confirmed that it was going to create a new facility within the Waterside station.
CLICK HERE FOR A DETAILED HISTORY OF LONDONDERRY STATION
Timetables from and route map by Alan Young
To see the other disused
stations on the Londonderry and Coleraine railway click on the station
name: Magilligan Halt