The train passing Mussenden Temple at Downhill Demesne
Michael Palin described the train journey between Derry~Londonderry and Coleraine as “one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the world”.
So hop onboard, relax and enjoy the views...
Whether you start your day in Derry or Coleraine, there’s lots to do at each destination and many things to see along the way. Taking the train means you’ll travel in comfort, avoid the hassle of traffic and parking and get plenty of time to view
the scenery. What’s more, if you purchase an integrated Translink bus and rail ticket, you can take the bus from Coleraine to visit the fantastic attractions and small towns and villages of The Causeway Coast. History, heritage, stunning scenery as well as plenty of great restaurants,
pubs and shops await you for a fun-filled day-trip.
Begins in Derry-Londonderry, The City of Culture 2013. It is an historic 6th century city with "a great riverside setting, fascinating historical sights and a determined air of optimism that has made it the powerhouse of the North’s Cultural revival" (Lonely Planet 2010). Meander through the bustling compact streets of the only completely Walled City in Ireland and listen to the echoes of almost 1500 years of history. While admiring this city’s spectacular riverscape your train journey will follow the River Foyle as you leave Derry and head into the lush green countryside. Your first stop is the small station of Bellarena.
Soon you will arrive at the golden sands of Benone Strand with the rolling waves of the Atlantic Ocean crashing onto the beach. The railway track runs alongside the sand, so you have spectacular views of one of the most unspoilt beaches in Ireland. On the opposite side of the track, you’ll pass the maritime cliffs at Downhill and the impressive Binevenagh Mountain. The sand dunes and the cliffs are home to a wide range of wildlife and unique habitats such as a range of birds including peregrine falcon.
Your next stop is the small John Lanyon designed station of Castlerock dating from 1875. This popular seaside village is an ideal stopping place for a beach picnic or exploration of the village and nearby National Trust properties. Your journey will then take you past the green manicured grass of peaceful Castlerock Golf Course.
The construction of the railway played an important role in the growth of Castlerock, after its arrival in 1853. Two tunnels, named Castlerock and Downhill, had to be cut and blasted, using 3,600lbs of gunpowder to remove rock at Portvantage - an event known as ‘The Great Blast’.
These are the longest railway tunnels in Ireland, measuring 668 and 307 yards respectively. In an attempt to further develop the village, the railway company put into operation a "Villa Tickets" scheme which ran from 1880 to approximately 1930. Under this scheme, anyone building a villa in Castlerock was entitled to free first class rail travel for a period of 10 years!
Your 45 minute "great railway journey" is almost over as the train runs alongside the River Bann as it sweeps into Coleraine. Soaked in history, in fact Mountsandel is regarded as being the earliest known settlement of man in Ireland, with charm and character, the town offers a unique mix of old and new. There is first class shopping and plenty to see and do.
Stop a while in Coleraine or hop on board one of our bus services to travel on to The Giant’s Causeway or one of the many pretty coastal towns and villages from Portstewart to Ballycastle.
The Causeway Coast is one of the most scenic regions in these islands and is home to some of Northern Ireland’s best known attractions including Bushmills Distillery, Dunluce Castle, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and of course The Giant’s Causeway. The Causeway is a World Heritage Site and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and home to a wealth of local history and legend. Explore the basalt stone columns left by volcanic eruptions 60 million years ago and search for distinctive stone formations fancifully named the Camel, Harp and Organ. Coastal towns include Portrush and Portstewart with award-winning beaches and a host of restaurants, pubs, ice cream parlours, craft and gift shops.
How to get there
You can travel between Derry~Londonderry and Coleraine by rail and transfer to The Giant’s Causeway and coastal towns by bus. Rail connections to Coleraine are also available from Belfast.
Return bus services from The Giant’s Causeway to Coleraine will allow you to hop on and off at coastal locations. Bus services 402, 172 and 177 serve The Causeway Coast. Return rail services to Derry~Londonderry and Belfast operate throughout the day.
What does it cost?
Choose which ticket best suits your needs:
Integrated Bus & Rail:
iLink is available for adults and children and is ideal if you travel by both bus and train to your destination on a regular basis. Translink Family & Friends Ticket – offers unlimited day travel on all bus & rail services. Valid Monday – Friday after 9.30am as well as every Saturday and Sunday with no time restrictions for up to 2 adults and 4 children for £22. (minimum of 1 adult and 1 child).
Additional children under 16 will be charged at £4.
1/3 off Day Returns – for travel after 9.30 am
Sunday Day Tracker – Unlimited Sunday day travel for £7 (child - £3.50)
Full timetables are available from www.translink.co.uk or by calling (028) 9066 6630