Group visits and venue hire

From a small group visit to full-scale hire of the railway, find out how we can accommodate your needs.

Our railway is a popular place for arranged visits, from small groups to large scale train hire, and even hiring of the complete railway for some purposes.

It’s a great day out and is popular with all sorts of groups – from vintage car clubs to private birthday parties, from railway enthusiasts to women’s institute groups, we’ve hosted them all.

Trains can only run on Saturdays or Sundays. Due to the nature of our small, volunteer-run railway we are currently unable to offer weekday train running, but will be happy to accommodate you at weekends where possible. On weekdays, it may still be possible to visit the museum and station area.

For any charter, group or other private hire event, please read the terms and conditions at the bottom of this page.

Group visits

These are for smaller groups, where you can travel on one of our scheduled public trains.

If booked in advance, there is a 10% discount on the fare for your visit. (This applies to normal running days and not to special events at Easter/Halloween/Christmas where a different discount rate may apply).

Depending on the size of your group, you can have a carriage reserved or part-reserved, and you can arrange to have food in our buffet carriages. Depending on availability, you may be able to get a behind the scenes tour of the workshops or loco sheds.

Contact us to discuss your requirements.

Charter a train

If you don’t want to mingle with the public on an ordinary running day, then you can also hire the railway and have it all to yourself. This covers:

  • Early trains on a public running day (departing Downpatrick from 12:30pm – 1:15pm)
  • Evening trains after public trains have finished
  • Trains running at a weekend when we’re not running public trains

These charters are popular for large group visits, birthday parties and other events where you just need more time or special arrangements. You can arrange for food to be provided, and can use any public area on our railway, including the buffet carriages.

Contact us to discuss your requirements.

Photography and video

Our railway is popular with professional photographers, and with TV and film productions.

Amateur photography and video

Personal, amateur video of our railway and trains on a public running day does not require special permission from us or incur an additional charge – it’s all part of your visit.

We ask you to remain in public areas, cooperate with any requests from our volunteers, and to be aware that other visitors may not appreciate being filmed or photographed.

Wedding and other photo shoots

Our station, trains and vintage carriage collection (complete with period props) provide a very different location for your wedding photographs. You could combine it with a charter train if your wedding falls on a weekend. Contact us in advance to discuss your requirements.

TV and film production

If your TV or film production calls for a railway setting, we can provide just the location for you. Unlike mainline railways in Ireland, we can move trains around more or less on your command, and retakes are no problem. Cameras, crew and cast can be accommodated in any required location, subject to operational restrictions and health and safety requirements.

We have a variety of operational locomotives, steam and diesel, ranging from the Victorian and Edwardian period, right up to more modern diesels.

A selection of productions filmed at our railway:

  • The Lost City of Z (2015)
  • Walk the Line (Barra Best, BBC NI, 2014)
  • Christopher & His Kind (BBC2/Mammoth Screen -2011)
  • Our Wee World (BBC1 NI/Barking Films – 2010)
  • A Potted History of Armagh (BBC1 NI 2006)
  • Rain (Short – 2005)
  • Flight to Freedom (BBC1 NI 2005)
  • Puckoon (2002)
  • Children in Need Quiet Man Spoof (BBC1 NI 2001)

Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Schools

Our museum and carraige gallery are open on Wednesdays, and are a perfect educational day out for your school group. Other weekdays may be possible, depending on volunteer availability. Our knowledgable guides can show the group around the railway station site.

Unfortunately it is not possible to operate trains on weekday school visits.

Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Prices

These prices are indicative of the rates we charge for charters and other access to our railway. We will confirm what you have to pay after we discuss your requirements.

Pre-booked group visit on public train 10% discount on total admission fee*
Early charter train on a running day from £200 (steam)   or £160 (diesel)
Other charter from £500 (steam) or £450 (diesel)
Wedding or other photo shoot £60-£100
Professional filming Please contact us
School visits Donation is requested

* Please note that discounts may differ for Easter, Halloween and Christmas Events

Note that these prices are guidelines only. Catering and other services are not included in the prices. We will confirm prices with you after discussing your requirements.

Prices are subject to change at any time without notice.

Terms & Conditions

All charters or group visits need to be arranged and paid for in advance. There is no ‘pay on the day’ for these facilities.

General conditions

  • You must contact us in advance to discuss your requirements and to determine the charge for the event
  • All charters and other visits are subject to operational restrictions; i.e. it may not always be possible to accommodate your specific request or specific date. Examples of operational restrictions include: health and safety requirements, non-availability of rolling stock or tracks due to engineering works, or simply that what you are asking for is not possible at our railway
  • The minimum notice period for any charter is 4 weeks (i.e. 28 days)
  • Smaller group visits require at least 2 weeks notice
  • We are not obliged to provide any service to groups who turn up the railway without having first confirmed the visit with us

Payment

  • A 50% deposit is payable at time of booking to secure the booking, otherwise it will not be confirmed
  • The remaining 50% of the fee must be paid at least 7 days before the event
  • Fees can be paid via PayPal, bank transfer or by cheque

Cancellations and Refunds

The general refund terms are:

  • If a charter request is cancelled within 7 days of the agreed date, you are not entitled to any refund
  • If a charter request is cancelled more than 7 days from the agreed date, you are entitled to refund of the second 50% of your fee if you have paid it
  • If an event needs to be rescheduled, we will do our best to accommodate it on an alternative date. If the event cannot be rescheduled for any reason, the standard cancellation terms apply.
  • In the event of a rescheduled event, DCDR is not liable for any payment or penalty incurred from any third party providers such as caterers

We may use discretion for refunds depending on circumstances.