Communities come together to celebrate ‘The Great Northern Railway’

25th June 2019

Over the past 12 months, young and old alike across the Fermanagh and Omagh District have participated in events and activities focussed on recalling the rich history and heritage of the Great Northern Railway.

Through Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s ‘Railways to the West’ PEACE IV programme, over 100 young people and 80 adults took part in a range of activities celebrating the railway – which passed through villages in Mid and West Tyrone and Omagh on its journey from Portadown to Derry /Londonderry until its closure in 1965.

‘Railways to the West’ was one of 16 projects identified in the £2.8m Fermanagh and Omagh PEACE IV Local Action Plan with projects delivered across three key strands: Shared Spaces and Services, Children and Young People and Building Positive Relations at a Local Level.

As part of the history and heritage programme, 7-12 year olds enjoyed day trips to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum’s ‘Model Railway Day’, a fun day to W5, a journey to Coleraine by train from Derry /Londonderry and a final adventure day at Todds Leap Activity Centre while adults had the opportunity to participate in railway-themed events including an explorative talk entitled ‘The Derry Road Remembered’ by Charles Friel and a short drama production entitled ‘The Sugar Train’ by Omagh dramatist Bean McCaugherty.

The project also captured fascinating memories and stories from those who travelled, worked on or who have fond memories of the ‘Derry Road’ line which passed through Carrickmore, Beragh, Sixmilecross and Omagh to create a short film which is available to view on www.struleartscentre.co.uk.

A ‘focus group’ bringing together a number of people who participated in the ‘Railways to the West’ programme has also been established to keep the memory of the railway alive. A number of actions have been agreed by the group which it hopes will form the basis of future activity.

If you are interested in getting involved with this group or would like to be kept up to date on further activity please contact Tracey McCallan, Arts and Heritage Service, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council by emailing tracey.mccallan@fermanaghomagh.com or telephoning 0300 303 1777 (calls charged at local rate), text phone 028 8225 6216.

‘Railways to the West’ was delivered by Insight Solutions on behalf of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council. The project has been supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Match-funding for this project was provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department for Rural and Community Development in Ireland.