The Giants Causeway and Bushmills Railway departs from outside Bushmills town centre on a 2-mile journey lasting 20 minutes from and to the Giants Causeway, along a trackbed of the former Giants Causeway Tram on the Causeway Coast. The diesel locomotive operates four times dailybetween 11 am and 2.30 pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Children especially love riding on the train. The Bushmills platform is located a short walk from Bushmills town centre, around 50m from the diamond heading along the Causeway Coast road towards Portrush. The old Bushmills Terminus can still be seen, now a private home. There is a free car park for the causeway and Bushmills railway users. The diesel-driven train provides a traditional mode of transportation near the Bushmills’ historic town, at the Bushmills Terminus and the beloved Giant’s Causeway station. The giant’s causeway and Bushmills railway journey along the stunning North Antrim coast in Northern Ireland is 2 miles long and offers fantastic views as it makes its way slowly over the magnificent coastal stretch past Portballintrea and Bushfoot Golf Course spectacular beach forms. This is a different and picturesque way to travel to the Giant’s Causeway. The Giant’s Causeway Journey The tram-type carriages, powered by three diesel engines, travel along the same route along the golden sandy beach as the original Bushmills Hydro Electric Tram and Giant’s Causeway track. This irish narrow gauge track was initially operated by the Portrush, Giant’s Causeway and Bush Valley Railway Tramway Company Ltd. The original tramway was built in 1883 and is the first long electric tramway globally! It ran until 1949 and had a history of more than 65 years. Facilities Car parking is available at the Bushmills platform, where the train to the Giant’s Causeway can be boarded. The Station has a picnic area and serves refreshments. Check the timetable and make sure you are at the station 10 minutes before the scheduled departure. The station has,, unfortunately,
lately been neglected. Although the hedges and grass in the area are overgrown and the Station could do with a revamp, the trip is still worth the experience.
As the service is operated by volunteers,, make sure your first call to check before arriving: (028) 20732844
You can use your train ticket at the Visitors Centre to get a discounted entrance fee when you arrive at Giants Causeway station.
Parking Address: Giant’s Causeway Station, Runkerry Road, BT57 8SZ
Bushmills Railway Giant’s Causeway History
The Causeway Tramway was re-opened in the spring of 2002. The rolling stock and locomotives which were used on the track were used initially at Shane’s Castle and included a Simplex’ T’class diesel locomotive named Rory, a Barclay 0-4-0WT “hane” named Larne and originally built in 1949 for Bord na Mona and a Peckett 0-4-0 WT named Tyrone made for the British Aluminium Company in 1904.
It is interesting to note that Shane was one of the three locomotives KKilmarnock’sAndrew Barclay built originally to be used by Bord na Mona at Clonast on the peat bog rail. It was designed specifically to burn peat.
Before the original Giant’s Causeway Tramway was initiated in 1883, costing and engineering surveys were done. Several meetings were held to determine whether it was feasible to construct a railway line along the coast between Ballycastle and Portrush. The idea was to link the commercial bauxite, coal, limestone, iron, basalt, and lignite industries along the north coast with Portrush’scommercial harbour.
The ambitious project was never implemented due to a lack of financial backing and doubts about the investment’s sufficient returns. Eventually, a narrow-gauge railway was constructed to run from Ballymoney to Ballycastle via Dervock and Armoy.
The Giants Causeway tramway came into being due to the enthusiasm and vision of Colonel William Traill of Ballyclough. He was a keen proponent of the railway and was well informed on technological developments.
This enthusiasm, together with the Siemens Company in 1879 revealing the first electric railway system at the Berlin Trade Fair, led to Siemens being appointed to incorporate this technology into the Tramway system at Giants Causeway. Colonel Traill installed water turbines for producing the necessary electrical power for the tram line and built the Walkmill Falls generating station. Although the generating station still exists, the equipment is no longer available.
Sir Macnaghten of Dundarave was strongly opposed to the railway being constructed, so much so that he diverted water from the river Bush above the Falls trying to decrease the flow. Despite this effort, the tramway opened in 1883 and was greeted as the first commercially operated “hydroelectric” powered tram system globally.
Midland Carriage and Wagons electric cars were initially used, and GEC and a Peckham car later replaced these. Although hydroelectric power was used, two Wilkinson steam locomotives were used to haul the carriages most of the time.
Its rail tracks originally stretched between Portrush and Bushmills, with the mile extension route to the Giants Causeway added later. An overhead electric wire replaced the live rail which ran next to the track in 1899. In 1916, steam haulage stopped, and the tramway operated for 65 years before finally being closed down in 1949.
Getting to The Giants Causeway From The Railway
The Giants Causeway is only a short walk to the UNESCO world heritage site from the giant’s causeway station end of the Giants Causeway and Bushmills railway. You will see the signs pointing towards a path leading to the world heritage site famous stone columns and giant’s causeway visitor experience.