No. 131’s main line return marks NIR half-century – The Railway Magazine
NORTHERN Ireland Railways (NIR) celebrated 50 years of providing train services with a special steam excursion from Belfast Great Victoria Street to Whitehead Excursion Station on April 1.
The charter was hauled by the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s recently restored GNR(I) ‘Q’ 4-4-0 No. 131.
The event marked the main line passenger debut of the locomotive which, in its heyday, was no stranger to Great Victoria Street station at the head of trains to Dublin, Derry and Clones.
The sell-out special carried members of the public, invited guests, and serving and retired NIR staff to mark the golden jubilee of a railway company that has now surpassed the 49 years of British Railways/British Rail existence, despite several initial decades of underinvestment, closure threats, and terrorist attacks during the ‘Troubles’. No. 131’s main line return marks NIR half-century – The Railway Magazine