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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 6:50 pm 
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THE RAILWAY THAT NEVER WAS
By Jack Crawford.

Before me lie the plans and projections of the Newry, Warrenspoint and Rosstrevor Railway drawn by John Godwin, engineer, in 1845, and lithographed by McBriar, of Belfast. “The Irish Railway Gazette” of the period hints that the line will never extend from Warrenpoint to Rostrevor owing to the cost of construction, and also opines that the link – up with the lovely little village will not pay. It as quite right in its forecast. The branch from Warrenpoint to Newry opened on May 28th 1849, and my father (then aged 5) got a free ride to the City of the Yews on that memorable day. The line was built by that famous contractor Dargan. By the way, it is of some interest to note the archaic form of spelling in the words Warrenspoint and Rosstrevor. It is naturally difficult to describe in words that which a good map so graphically presents at a glance, but a few salient features of the project may be worth recording in this imperfect manner, and may broadly indicate the direction the line was to take from Warrenpoint to Rostrevor. The Newry and Enniskillen Railway were to be joined at at Lisdrumliska in the Parish of Newry. Lisdrumliska adjoins Dromalane, whose name will eternally be associated with that of the great Irish patriot, John Mitchell. The junction was to be made some distance short of the old distillery. The line was then to cross the canal and the Newry River (Clanrye), reaching the site of the present Abattoir. From this point it was to continue in the same direction as it does now. Opposite the Golf Pavilion (that now stands in the Links at Warrenpoint) was to be the point where the line was to branch off to Rostrevor.
Incidentally, the loop on the shore road opposite the Big Wall of Narrow-Water Demesne is twice intersected by the railway, as the road had to be diverted inshore from its old littoral route. The former highway can still be traced in the little wood near the oyster beds. At Narrow –Water, near the ferry, there was originally a bathing slip with a house attached. There was also a school house and, nearer Warrenpoint, a mill, whose demolition I clearly recall.
A short branch is shown on the map carrying the line to Warrenpoint Quay; this branch crosses the old patent slip.
The Rostrevor extension was to traverse the public road from Newry by a bridge (30ft. span, 13 ft. headway) and then was to cut the corner of The Meeting- House Field. The street to the Meeting-House from the Newry Road was also to be crossed by another bridge (30ft. span, 18 ft. headway), and Charlotte Street spanned by still another bridge (30 ft. span, 18ft. headway).
Duke Street was to be raised 7 feet and crossed on the level. The line was then to continue between the ancient fort of Rathturret and Glebe House (now occupied by The Alexian Brothers), crossing the road between the Back Avenue of The Glebe House and the old Gravel Pit. A bridge, (120 ft. span, 18 ft. headway) was to bring the line from the Parish of Clonallon to the Parish of kilbroney, fording the Moygannon River. Arno’s Vale House was to the south. Drumsesk Road was to be traversed and the line brought across the Ghann River. The railway station in Rostrevor was to face the Warrenpoint-Rostrevor Road, and was to be built in the field beside the Ghann River. The terminus apparently was to come right up to the country road. The line is shown as meeting this highway at practically right angles. Thus the proposed station for Rostrevor was to stand at the foot of the hill. An Old Hall is marked practically opposite the proposed terminus, but situated on the other side of the main road. A coast pole and a corn-mill are also indicated on the map.
The line from Warrenpoint to Rostrevor would indeed have presented many financial problems to the promoters, as its engineering difficulties were much greater than those obtaining in the Newry-Warrenpoint sections.
From 1845 to 1850, there was a “railway mania” in these islands. George Hudson, the “Railway King,” M.P. for Sunderland, was heard all over the country as the man to whom speculators of all classes from dukes to footmen, appealed and craved that they might obtain shares in some of the enormous enterprises which had apparently yielded him a colossal fortune.
That, however, is another story; but, though Rathfriland can never boast of a harbour master, Rostrevor, with a bit more financial backing, might easily have had its stationmaster. John Ruskin would we know, rather see that fair country side of green woodlands, flashing streams, distant grey – blue hills and softly – tinted emerald fields unspoiled by any such scheme as that chosen by John Godwin in the year 1845.
The echoes of Kilbroney have yet to be awakened by the whistle of the railway engine. That, however, is no great tragedy.


This article was taken from ‘Mourne Rambles’ by Sean (Jack) Crawford published in 1994.
A Cuisle na nGael Supplement supported by a N.I.V.T. Community Arts Award 1994.

With kind permission of Mrs. Madge Conway, Warrenpoint who has the copyright.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 7:54 pm 
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Dukestreet - very interesting.
I would like to see the route that was intended for
this endeavour on a map.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 10:14 pm 
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Dukestreet : My mother remembered as a child being taken to Rostrevor on the horse drawn tram which ran on rails and followed the road route terminating at the ice rink near Rostrevor quay. My grandfather worked for Fisher & LeFanu Company, building the railway extention from Castlewellan to Newcastle and on my father's birth certificate his father's occupation was given as Engine Driver.


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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2016 5:20 pm 
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Location: Warrenpoint
and 7 years later we find a map showing the extension that never was :D

This was on display in the Museum last week as part of the recently closed "small world" Transport exhibition.

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