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16 October 2014
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Armagh Railway Disaster

Wednesday 12th June 1889 is a date committed to memory as one of Armagh's darkest days. It was on this day that the Armagh Railway Disaster occurred.

Armagh Railway Disaster train

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Armagh Railway Disaster

Wednesday 12th June 1889 is a date committed to memory as one of Armagh's darkest days. It was on this day that the Armagh Railway Disaster occurred. What started out as a fun filled day to Warrenpoint ended in 88 deaths and remains as a scar on the history of the city. The loss of young and old, from every walk of life, was not only mourned within the city and district, but on the national stage also.

The train was filled that fateful day with passengers on the Armagh Methodist Church Sunday School Excursion. In total there were approximately 1,200 passengers. The train was booked for the excursionists and set off from Armagh Station. Approximately 3 miles out of the city the engine and carriages reached a steep gradient and, due to the volume of passengers, stalled.

Engine No.86 which stalled on the hill, leading to the disaster.
Engine No.86 which stalled on the hill, leading to the disaster.

The decision was taken to divide the train and take the first 4 carriages on to another station. The engine would then come back and take the remaining 8 and rejoin the train. Stones were put under the wheel of the carriages and as the carriages were split, the rear carriage crushed the stones and started back downhill towards Armagh. They collided with the 10.35am passenger train resulting in 88 fatalities.

'The Armagh Railway Disaster - An Exhibition' recounts the historic events of that June day. The exhibition displays the details regarding the Armagh Railway Disaster in a way that is clear and accessible for everyone. Through the use of photographs, videos and stories, visitors will be informed and enlightened about this tragedy and its legacy. The exhibition also includes a water colour copy of one of the famous Allison photographs of the disaster scene. The colours in the painting have been researched to be an exact representation.

Mary Ferris of Radio Ulster's 'Your Place & Mine' went to see the exhibition and was guided around it by its co-ordinator, David McCullagh...

Click Here to listen...

This exhibition not only gives the historical facts, but also shares some personal stories of survivors that have been passed down through the generations. The exhibition, which is in the St. Patrick's Trian Centre, runs until October 31st 2003.

Armagh Railway Station
Armagh Railway Station

You can visit the Armagh District Council website at: www.armagh.gov.uk

Web Links

Armagh Rail Disaster in Fiction

New Book from Writer Anne Doughty

 

 


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