This week’s Virtual Museum post is a scene which has sadly disappeared from our countryside, the rural railway station. Drawn from our photographic collection, this picture of Hillsborough railway station captures a moment in time. The station, which was opened on 13th July 1863, was part of the Banbridge, Lisburn and Belfast railway line. Situated on the Culcavey Road, Hillsborough station was a two story red brick building with arched windows and ornate over-hanging eaves. It contained the ticket office, platform and Stationmaster’s house.
The station served the local area for over eight decades, including as a coroner’s court on at least one occasion. However, from 1950 Stormont ministers began closing a large part of Northern Ireland’s railway network in favour of investing in roads. The railways, which had proved so crucial to the war effort just a few years earlier, were now considered non-viable. Almost 80% of the Northern Irish railway system was shut down over the next decade and a half. Hillsborough station closed on 30th April 1956. Did you use the Hillsborough railway station in its final years? Do you remember any of our other rural railway lines? Get in touch and let us know.