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Remnants of Belfast's first railway station unearthed during Hub demolition works

Published 26/04/2016

Translink has uncovered historic remnants of Belfast's first ever railway station during demolition works for the Belfast Hub Regeneration Project.
Translink has uncovered historic remnants of Belfast's first ever railway station during demolition works for the Belfast Hub Regeneration Project.
Translink will now donate the salvage to Downpatrick and Co Down Railway for their own restoration project in which they aim to recreate a Victorian-style train shed at their heritage station building. Pictured on the Belfast Hub construction site are l-r Clive Bradberry, Translink Infrastructure Executive and Robert Gardiner, Vice Chairman, Downpatrick & Co Down Railway. Picture by Brian Morrison.
Translink has uncovered historic remnants of Belfast's first ever railway station during demolition works for the Belfast Hub Regeneration Project. The discovery of original cast iron columns and arches from the Great Northern Railway terminus at Great Victoria Street was made within large warehouse sheds situated on the main project construction site along the Grosvenor Road in Belfast city centre. Pictured on the Belfast Hub construction site are l-r Clive Bradberry, Translink Infrastructure Executive and Robert Gardiner, Vice Chairman, Downpatrick & Co Down Railway. Picture by Brian Morrison.
The discovery of original cast iron columns and arches from the Great Northern Railway terminus at Great Victoria Street was made within large warehouse sheds situated on the main project construction site along the Grosvenor Road in Belfast city centre. Pictured on the Belfast Hub construction site are l-r Clive Bradberry, Translink Infrastructure Executive and Robert Gardiner, Vice Chairman, Downpatrick & Co Down Railway. Picture by Brian Morrison.

Translink has uncovered historic remnants of Belfast's first ever railway station complex during demolition works.

The discovery of original cast iron columns and arches the same as those used in the Great Northern Railway terminus at Great Victoria Street was made within large warehouse sheds situated on site of the Belfast Hub Regeneration Project along the Grosvenor Road.

Originally the Good Sheds were used by freight trains from all over Ireland carrying produce such as cattle and stout.

Translink will now donate the salvage to Downpatrick and Co Down Railway for their own restoration project in which they aim to recreate a Victorian-style train shed at their heritage station building.

Translink Infrastructure Executive, Clive Bradberry, said: "This is an exciting historical find as we prepare to embark on construction work for the new Belfast Hub.

"These cast iron columns are one of the last remaining links to the old Great Northern Railway station that was demolished back in 1976 so we are surprised something so tangible from our railway’s past still remains in good condition today.

 “The Belfast Hub project has the potential to transform public transport in Northern Ireland, create new jobs, attract tourism and investment opportunities, reduce congestion and support the local economy.

" It will be a catalyst for regeneration of the station quarter and act as an important gateway giving a lasting impression of Belfast as a modern, confident and progressive city – it is therefore fitting that we are able to preserve heritage from the railway’s former glory days for future generations to enjoy.”

Robert Gardiner, Vice Chairman, Downpatrick & Co Down Railway, said the discovery will allow artefacts to be accessible to the public for the first time in years.

 "When we identified and examined these impressive cast iron stanchions and arches we realised they were the same type of castings used in the roof of the original Great Victoria Street railway station built back in the 1840s", he said

“By coincidence these are exactly the sort of items we need to help construct our planned train shed project in Downpatrick, which is a large canopy over the platform and railway tracks, once a common feature on Irish railway terminus buildings. To be able to incorporate elements of a genuine Great Northern Railway train shed is an amazing development.

"As well as preserving a unique relic from Belfast's first railway station thought to be long gone, this will allow these artefacts to be accessible to the public for the first time in years, boosting the tourism offering in Downpatrick and improving our facilities for our visitors by making Downpatrick Station bigger and better."

Belfast Hub construction work is due to commence in 2018 subject to planning and funding approvals. Click here for further information on The Belfast Hub

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