The Giants Causeway and Bushmills Railway is a restored railway, one of few steam railroad trains in Northern Ireland. It carries people from Bushmills to Giants Causeway and back. British steam trains are a popular attraction for families with children and not only. This one is no exception. It drives through scenic areas of the Antrim Coast and can be a highlight of a tour of the area especially if you have small children or want to take a brake from hectic sight seeing and do something slightly more relaxing.
HistorySteam railroad trains were known in Ireland from about 1834, the first train line in the Causeway area was launched in 1883 and was an extension of the Ballycastle to Ballymena railway. It had a three feet narrow gauge lines. The key person behind the construction of the line was William Traill, a train enthusiast who believed in the potential of a line along the coast. Much of the work was done by the German company Siemens, a leader in electric locomotives. The first trains to run the line were electric but soon steam railroad trains were doing most of the work. W. Traill built a generator at the Walkmill Falls for the specific purpose of supplying electricity for electric trains. The building still stands today though it no longer generates electricity. Though the first trains were electric, steam engines were soon doing the bulk of the work. The railway operated until 1949. The current operations were re-launched in 2002 and since then the railcars have been providing a pleasant train ride to locals and tourists alike.
A VisitThe train runs from Bushmills to Giants Causeway. There is a free parking area in Bushmills. There is a small charge for parking in Giants Causeway but it is refundable upon the purchase of a ticket. The reason for the charge is that Giants Causeway, Northern Ireland’s foremost attraction, is located only a few hundred yards away and to park there is not cheap. To prevent Causeway visitors parking at the Railway parking area the operators have introduced a charge. So if you are planning to use the Railway you can park here and the charge will be refunded. If you are not plan to use the Railway, don’t park here. Not only is it unfair on the Railway operators, but parking wardens make their way there and will give a parking ticket and a hefty fine to those parked without a ticket.
The ride itself is only two miles long and takes less than half an hour. Trains run daily in July and August and on special days at other times. Trains used today are mostly steam operated. Though the ride is short it does go through some of the most scenic part of Northern Ireland so it is worth a visit. If you take the train you will have a chance to go through some of the sand dunes on the coast, cross the river Bush and go past a popular golf course. Alongside the track there is a walkway and bicycle way. When it comes to steam engine train rides the Causeway and Bushmills railway is as good as most so plan to visit when you tour the Antrim coast.
Model TrainA recent addition to the Bushmills Railway is a model train line with a steam train that makes the Railway even more attractive.
For more information, running times and days visit the official website by clicking here
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