50th anniversary of Derry Road train closure

This photograph from the 1960s shows the Great Northern Railway Station at Foyle Road in Derry.

This photograph from the 1960s shows the Great Northern Railway Station at Foyle Road in Derry.

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A commemorative event to mark the 50th anniversary of the closure of the Derry - Strabane train line will be held at the Central Library, Foyle Street later this month.

The free event will be staged on Monday, 16th February between 10am and 6pm.

Valentine’s Day will mark the 50th anniversary of the closure of the railway line from Portadown via Dungannon, Omagh and Strabane to Foyle Road in Derry or the ‘Derry Road’ as it was known.

The highlight of the exhibition will be the screening of the BBC film ‘Farewell The Derry Road’ throughout the day, covering the last days of the line, which had operated for over 100 years since it opened to Derry in 1847.

Much of the archive film footage was taken by former railway employee and railway enthusiast Fred Cooper, and there will also be artefacts from the North West of Ireland Railway Society and photos, including some from the Derry Journal archives.

Some former railwaymen such as ex GNR fireman George Sweeney (78) will be in attendance and all ex-railwaymen and their families are welcome to share memories.

People are being encouraged to bring along old photos of the line or any railway artefacts connected to the Derry Road to the exhibition.

A spokesman for the event said this was the last closure of a main line railway route in the north and it left the North West economically isolated with poor transport links.

He added: “Today in 2015, 50 years later the North-West of Ireland is one of the most extensive inhabited areas of Western Europe without any form of railway service.”