Enterprise (Train Service) - Enterprise History - A

Enterprise (Train Service) - A

Enterprise is the cross-border inter-city train service between Dublin Connolly in the Republic of Ireland and Belfast Lanyon Place in Northern Ireland, jointly operated by Iarnród Éireann (IE) and NI Railways (NIR). It operates on the Belfast–Dublin railway line.

Enterprise (Train Service) History

The Great Northern Railway (Ireland) (GNR(I)) introduced the service as the "Enterprise Express" on Monday 11 August 1947 in an attempt to compete with air and road transport which were challenging the railways. In particular, business travel was and is an important market. Customs checks were limited to the Belfast and Dublin terminals to reduce journey times by ensuring that journeys were non-stop, and advance booking was available.

The name of the train comes from the "enterprising" approach that the GNR(I) took to make journeys more convenient for passengers despite the requirement for customs checks. The initial service ran between Belfast Great Victoria Street and Dublin Amiens Street Junction (renamed Dublin Connolly in 1966). Locomotives of GNRI Class V were initially used, followed in 1948, by GNRI Class VS.

In October 1950 the service was extended to Glanmire Road station (renamed to Cork Kent in 1966) in Cork. This proved unsuccessful and ceased in September 1953 when the governments of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland nationalised the GNR as the Great Northern Railway Board (GNRB). The Cork service's unpopularity may also have been due to the six-and-a-half-hour journey time.

On 1 October 1958 the GNRB was dissolved and its assets and liabilities were split between Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ) and the Ulster Transport Authority (UTA) — the predecessors of Iarnród Éireann (IÉ) and Northern Ireland Railways (NIR) respectively. Following the completion of the Belfast Central Line Project, which involved the relaying of track along the route of the former Belfast Central Railway, the Belfast terminal moved to the newly constructed Belfast Central station in April 1976.

The new station was named after the former railway and was located some distance from Belfast City Centre, adjacent to the city's markets. (The name was a source of confusion to tourists and was eventually renamed to Belfast Lanyon Place in 2018).

The service was upgraded in September 1997 with a new timetable and new coaching stock from French train makers De Dietrich Ferroviaire (now Alstom DDF). At this point the service, which had operated under either the IÉ or NIR brands, was branded separately as Enterprise.

The service has suffered disruption, particularly during the Troubles when it was regularly halted by bomb threats. These became so frequent and caused such considerable disruption to the service that a campaigning group, the Peace Train Organisation was formed in 1989. Since the Northern Ireland peace process however, such disruption has diminished.

Renewed investment in recent years has seen the line upgraded to continuously welded track capable of 145 km/h (90 mph) running along the southern part of the route, as part of Iarnród Éireann's rail network upgrades. The Northern Ireland section of the line was also upgraded to 90 mph running on many sections of the line.

Journey times vary between 2 hours 5 minutes (with four intermediate stops) and 2 hours 20 minutes (with six intermediate stops), with an average speed of 93 and 84 km/h (58 and 52 mph) respectively.

The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland runs a steam Enterprise in the summer months to exchange its Dublin-based engine with its Whitehead-based engine.

Enterprise (Train Service) Overview

Enterprise Franchise(s): Not subject to franchising (1997 - present)
Enterprise Main station(s): Dublin Connolly,
Belfast Lanyon Place
Enterprise Other Station(s):
Drogheda, Dundalk, Newry, Portadown. Lurgan and Lisburn (09:00 ex Belfast, Sunday only)
Enterprise Fleet Size:
Eight 201 Class locomotives
Twenty eight De Dietrich carriages
Four Mark 3 generator vans
Enterprise Stations Called At: 8
Enterprise Parent Company:
Iarnród Éireann/
Northern Ireland Railways

Enterprise (Train Service) Route Map Legend

Belfast–Larne & Derry Lines
Belfast–Bangor Line
River Lagan
Belfast Lanyon Place - NI Railways
City Hospital
City Junction to Belfast Great Victoria Street
Knockmore 2005
Lisburn-Antrim line
Banbridge, Lisburn & Belfast Jn Rly to Banbridge
Maze 1974
Broomhedge Halt 1973
Damhead Halt 1973
Pritchards Bridge 1844
Goodyear Halt 1983
Seagoe 1842
River Bann
to Armagh 1957
Tanderagee 1965
Acton Crossing 1954
Augheranter Crossing 1954
Knockarney Crossing 1965
to Armagh 1955
Goraghwood 1965
to Warrenpoint 1965
Mullaghglass 1901
Craigmore Viaduct
Wellington Inn 1852
Adavoyle 1933

Northern Ireland
Ireland border

Mt. Pleasant 1965
Castletown River
Dundalk Clarke
Dundalk Junct. station 1894
to Enniskillen 1957
GNR(I) Works
Castlebellingham 1976
to Ardee 1975
Dromin Junction 1975
Dunleer 1984
Boyne Viaduct
Drogheda MacBride
Dublin–Navan railway line (freight only)
Laytown Dublin Suburban Rail
Laytown Viaduct
Mosney 2000
Ardgillan 1867
Skerries Golf Club Halt 1960
Baldongan 1847
Rush and Lusk
Rogerstown Viaduct
Broadmeadow viaduct
Baldoyle 1852
to Howth
Howth Junction & Donaghmede
Kilbarrack Dublin Area Rapid Transit
Raheny Dublin Area Rapid Transit
Harmonstown Dublin Area Rapid Transit
Killester Dublin Area Rapid Transit
Clontarf 1956
Clontarf Road Dublin Area Rapid Transit
Fairview DART depot
River Tolka
North Wall Yard to Alexandra Road
Western Commuter & Sligo Line
Dublin Connolly
Luas Red Line to Tallaght and Saggart
Loopline Bridge
Trans-Dublin Line & Rosslare Line

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