[Source: Jim McBride & Paul Wright]

Date opened: 8.9.1864
Location: Partly lost under a drainage ditch.
Company on opening: Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway
Date closed to passengers: 6.9.1948
Date closed completely: 10.8.1953
Company on closing: Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway
Present state: Demolished
County: Donegal
OS Grid Ref: C234378
Date of visit: 7.2022 and 12.2022

Notes: Tooban Junction was opened as simply ‘Junction’ by the Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway (LLSR) in October 1864. The station was located on the company’s 8¼ mile single track 5ft 3inch line between Londonderry Graving Dock and Farland Point (opened on 31 December 1863) at the point where the 6 miles long Buncrana Branch (opened on September 6 1864) diverged from the main line.

As the line between Junction and Farland Point had been part of the original route opened in December 1863 it was initially considered to be part of the main line with the route to Buncrana being regarded as the branch. Within a very short time however this situation was reversed as the Buncrana line became much busier than the route to Farland Point.

The original station at Tooban Junction was in an isolated spot. It existed only for the purpose of interchange. It consisted of a short platform to the east of the actual junction.

On 17 April 1865 the company decided to work Farland Point branch by horses but this only persisted until 25 April 1865 when locomotive haulage resumed again.

In July 1866 the line between Junction and Farland Point was closed. Reopening was considered in 1867 but the plans came to nothing. Having no purpose following the closure of the line to Farland Point the station at Junction was closed. The track between Junction and Farland Point was finally lifted in 1877.  Due to the closure of the Farland branch the station at Burnfoot Junction was closed from 1868 to 1883.

In 1860 the Letterkenny Railway (LR) Company was first authorised to build an 18½ mile 3ft gauge line between Tooban Junction using the Farland branch as far as Burt Junction and from there to Letterkenny. The line was to be worked by the L&LSR and had originally been incorporated in 1860. After numerous financial problems (and six separate Acts) it finally opened on 3 June 1883 and the Junction station was reopened, initially as an interchange point between the 3ft and the 5ft 3inch lines. The L&LSR Company had realised that a change of gauge would be an inconvenience and they re-gauged the route between Buncrana and Graving Dock between 28 March 1885 and 30 March1885.

With the re-gauging of the line the platform at Junction took on its final form. Alterations were completed by April 1885.

The system was expanded in July 1901 when an extension was opened between Buncrana and Carndonagh and in March 1903 when a line was opened between Letterkenny and Burtonpoint.

The opening of these lines created almost 100 miles of 3ft gauge track which was operated by the L&LSR. These two lines were the only ones built under the Railways (Ireland) Act of 1896.

The station continued to act as an interchange point throughout its existence and had been renamed as Tooban Junction by 1910.

The Irish War of Independence and the Partition of Ireland by 1922 along with increased competition from road transport badly affected the L&LSR.
Decline began in 1935 with the withdrawal of all trains between Buncrana and Carndonagh and by 3 June 1940 passenger services had ceased to run on the Letterkenny line (although passengers could travel on goods trains). Buncrana trains had been very much reduced but saw an increase during the Second World War. However, they ended on 6 September 1948. Goods services continued to run to Letterkenny until August 8 1953 and to Buncrana on the same date, when the L&LSR ceased all its railway operations in favour of its own bus and road freight services instead.

After closure the track was lifted and the signal cabin at Tooban was demolished. By 2021 the site of Tooban Junction station had become overgrown woodland.


Tickets from Michael Stewart. Timetables from Joe Begley and route map by Alan Young


  • Bell D & Flanders S The Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway - A Visitors Guide (County Donegal Railways Restoration Society)
  • Flanders S, S Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway - An Irish Railway Pictorial (Midland Publishing, 1997)
  • Johnson, S Johnson's Atlas & Gazetteer of The Railways of Ireland (Midland Publishing, 1997)
  • Mahon, G Irish Railway Record Society Journals - 1954 to 1985 (Irish Railway Record Society)
Tooban Junction station looking east in June 1953. Regular passenger services had ceased by this time and in this view a special rail tour train for the 'Light Railway Transport League' is seen en-route to Buncrana. At the head of the train is L&LSR 4-6-2T locomotive number 10 which was built in 1904 by Kerr Stuart. This engine survived until closure of the system.
Copyright photo from Colour-Rail

Tooban Junction station shown on a 25-inch scale map from the 1890s. At this time the station the only connection between the Buncrana and Letterkenny lines was to the east of the platform. At the west end of the station serving the Letterkenny line there was a turntable which can clearly be seen. The original signal cabin of 1883 (located at the west end of the platform) is shown on the map. it was replaced in 1905 with a cabin that was located at the east end of the station.

A view looking east at Tooban Junction station in 1933. The photo gives a good overview of the station showing all of the facilities that existed in 1933. In the foreground to the left is a water tank that was adjacent to the Letterkenny line. Beyond the tank the west end connections of 1905 can be seen followed by the stations island platform. The large sheds to the right in the distance were used for customs inspections of goods traffic from April 1923. At the far end of the platform the Tooban Junction signal cabin can be seen.
Photo from the L&GRP collection curtesy of Joe Begley

Tooban Junction station looking east in 1950. The island platform of the station can be seen in the middle distance with the signal cabin at its far end. To the right of the platform is the shed which was used for customs checks of goods. The Buncrana line is to the left and the route to Letterkenny to the right. Connections, installed in 1905, between the lines can be seen in the foreground.
Photo from the Ernies Railway Archive collection

The site of Tooban Junction looking east in December 2022. To the left is the Burnfoot River which can be seen in the 1950 photo above. Much of the site of the station has been lost since closure due to the construction of a large drainage ditch which can be seen to the right.
Photo by John Mc Carron

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[Source: Jim McBride & Paul Wright]

Last updated: Monday, 02-Jan-2023 21:07:33 CET
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