Small industrial railways

Ticket Punch, Armagh County Museum collectionA combination of necessity, opportunity and a degree of ingenuity led to the development of three ‘narrow gauge’ lines within the County.

The Bessbrook and Newry Tramway 1885-1948
The Bessbrook Spinning Company’s tramway travelled the three mile route from the ‘model’ village to Newry.  Coal and raw materials were transported to Bessbrook, with finished goods taken in the opposite direction.

The Glenanne and Loughgilly Tramway 1897-1919
George Gray and Sons, owners of Glenanne mill, developed this line to carry their high-quality linen to Loughgilly station. This tramway was the only horse-drawn rail network in the County to regularly carry passengers.

The Annaghmore Turf Railway 1901- mid 1960s
Exploiting deposits around Annaghmore, the ‘turf railway’ carried peat for processing to Maghery. A horse-drawn line between 1901-1907, it was later electrified using power from peat-fired generators.  Although the railway closed in the 1960s, a section has been restored at Peatlands Park where visitors once again can catch the turf train.

Did you know?

  • The Bessbrook and Newry Tramway had special wheels which allowed the trams to run on road or rail.
  • As the rails were just 22 inches apart, horses pulling the Glenanne and Loughgilly trams trotted on the road alongside the track rather than between the rails.
  • The Annaghmore Turf Railway engines pushed rather than pulled the wagons along the line.