J3373 : Gt Victoria Street bus station, Belfast (1976)

taken 46 years ago, near to Belfast County Borough, Shankill, Beal Feirste, Springfield and Skegoneill, Northern Ireland

Gt Victoria Street bus station, Belfast (1976)
Gt Victoria Street bus station, Belfast (1976)
The driver of an Ulsterbus Alexander-bodied Leyland Leopard (1958 – KOI 9958), standing by as a relief to the 17.30 London express J3373 : Gt Victoria Street bus station, Belfast (right), is being told that his bus will not be required. This was not a through service. Ulsterbus only took the passengers to Larne harbour. National (to the best of my memory) worked the Stranraer – London leg.
The photograph was taken soon after Gt Victoria Street railway station had closed. The railway platforms were on the left behind the taxi. The tarpaulin acted as a temporary roof after several bombs.
The bus area can be seen at middle right in J3373 : Platforms 3 & 4 - Great Victoria Street station - 1973 (September 1973). All since replaced by J3373 : The Europa Buscentre, Belfast. See also J3373 : Gt Victoria Street bus station, Belfast (1990) (May 1990).
Great Victoria Street railway station – Belfast

The Ulster Railway Company opened its railway line from Belfast (Glengall Place) to Lisburn in 1839. Designed by John Godwin, the imposing Great Victoria Street station opened in 1849 – Glengall Place and Glengall Street having been renamed at some stage in a fit of patriotic fervour. After the Ulster Railway became part of the Great Northern Railway (Ireland) empire in 1876, some alterations were made to the terminal building including construction of an imposing porte-cochère. Many, including Sir John Betjeman, regarded the building as one of the finest examples of Victorian railway station architecture to be found in the British Isles.

At its height in the years before World War 1, trains left Great Victoria Street for Londonderry (Foyle Road), Enniskillen, Cavan, Bundoran, Warrenpoint, Newcastle, Antrim and Dublin. However, by 1965, services operated only to Lisburn, Portadown and Dublin.

A substantial part of the building was demolished in 1968 to make way for the Europa Hotel. What survived, including the platforms and railway related structures, disappeared following closure of the station on 24 April 1976. Subsequently, the Europa bus station and “skyscraper” office blocks were constructed on the site.

Fortunately, the hideous transport policies of the 1960s and 1970s were eventually recognised as utter folly. Despite initial opposition from Government and another transport provider, Northern Ireland Railways persisted with its plans for reinstatement of a railway line to Great Victoria Street. Designed by Robinson & McIlwain, a new Great Victoria Street station opened for business on 30 September 1995.

This Shared Description covers the area from Central Junction to Great Victoria Street station. For views on the Belfast Central lines, see: LinkExternal link

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Albert Bridge and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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J3373, 2764 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Monday, 5 July, 1976   (more nearby)
Monday, 18 November, 2013
Geographical Context
Roads, Road transport 
Place (from Tags)
Subject Location
Irish: geotagged! J 334 737 [100m precision]
WGS84: 54:35.6791N 5:56.2117W
Camera Location
Irish: geotagged! J 334 737
View Direction
WEST (about 270 degrees)
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Other Tags
Bus Station  Bus  Ulsterbus  Then and Now  Leyland Leopard  Great Northern Railway (Ireland) 

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