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The line was authorised by the Derry Central Railway Act, 1877, and constructed from Macfin Junction (between Coleraine and Ballymoney) to Magherafelt, serving Maghera, Upperlands, Kilrea, Garvagh and Aghadowey. Although nominally independent, the line was funded by the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway.

It opened in 1880, was 29.25 miles (47.07 km) long, but was never a financial success.

In September 1901 it was taken over by the Northern Counties Committee for the sum of £85,000.[1]

In 1936 there were two trains a day from Belfast to Coleraine via this line and one other train from Magherafelt to Coleraine, consisting of 2 coaches and a 2-4-0 compound engine. The track had flat bottomed rails, followed the contour of the land and the only large structure was a lattice girder bridge over the River Bann near Macfin.[2]



  1. ^ The Industrial Archaeology of Northern Ireland. William Alan McCutcheon, Northern Ireland. Dept. of the Environment. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1984
  2. ^ Railway Magazine June 1936 p. 414