The redevelopment of Portrush train station is one of the key regeneration initiatives for the town within a programme of works currently underway. Led by Translink, with funding from the Department for Communities and the Department for Infrastructure, the new Portrush station is set to provide modern facilities to cater for the growing numbers of passengers travelling by rail.
However, one element of the former station will remain, the signal box – installed shortly before the beginning of the 20th Century by the Belfast & Northern Counties Railway (BNCR).
First shown on the 1904 OS map at the end of the station platforms, the Portrush signal box is now a listed building (HB03/10/003B).
Listed due to its age, authenticity and historic importance, surviving in its original setting, the Portrush signal box was listed in April 2017. Whilst it is no longer in use, the signal box is one of the few remaining signal boxes in Northern Ireland to retain its hand-operated mechanical signal frame. It has however been refurbished and its original exposed red brickwork rendered over.
The early Portrush Station was the northern terminus of the Coleraine-Portrush branch line of the Belfast-Londonderry Railway, originally the main line between Ballymena and Portrush. It was built by William Dargan in 1853-55 for the Ballymena, Ballymoney, Coleraine & Portrush Junction Railway (BBCPJR). In 1861, the line was sold to the Belfast & Northern Counties Railway (BNCR).
In 1891, the BNCR began upgrading work on the Coleraine-Portrush line under the direction of its Chief Engineer, Berkeley Deane Wise with perhaps the most evident development of this work being the rebuilding of the Portrush station building. The new station opened in 1893. As part of the works, new signalling was also installed by BNCR, including a signal box which remains today.
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