Ulster Transport Authority

click for 22K .jpg image of UTA logo UTA logo

History: Summary

The Transport Act (NI) of 1948 empowered a new company, the Ulster Transport Authority, to take over the the Northern Ireland Road Transport Board and the Belfast and County Down Railway on 1/10/1948. The NCC had, after nationalisation in the UK, come under the control of the Railway Executive, from which it was purchased by the Government, before being incorporated in the UTA on 1/4/1949. The UTA had 340 route miles of railway. Quite substantial pruning of the railway system took place. In 1958 the GNRB was divided between CIE and the UTA.
Two Transport Acts, passed in 1966 and 1967, divided the UTA into separate companies under the control of the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company. The railways were operated by Ulster Transport Railways from Autumn 1966 until June 1967 when they became Northern Ireland Railways.

Rolling stock: Inherited the stock of LMSNCC. 90 locos, 140 carriages and nearly 3000 goods wagons, as well as numerous buses and lorries as well as BCDR stock. Subsequent steam locomotives were constructed at Derby (4 1949, 4 1950).

Works: York Rd.. Duncrue St. works opened in 1950, producing a prototype three car DMU to be followed by a number of similar sets. Loco repairs were still carried out at York Rd.. The last vehicles built in Duncrue St. were diesel electric railcar sets in 1966. Subsequently the works was transferred to Ulsterbus and Northern Ireland Carriers, the railways being left with an York Rd. (with facilities upgraded, but crammed into old site).

Livery: Continuation of later NCC lined black for locos with logo on tender and tank sides, lining from outside red/black/straw. Carriages, railcars and loco hauled stock dark green (officially 'Deep Brunswick Green). [Ivor Hughes notes that railcar livery a complicated subject with many variations in the Brunswick green - from 1951-c.1960 upper cab fronts pale green. Between 1951-56 MED railcars had waist, and/or central band,s and/or bodyside ribbing in pale green with some with prominent pale green 'U' band on lower cab fronts. After a 1959 accident, yellow and black 'wasp' stripes on lower cab fronts, in addition, first, to pale upper, then on own after repaints. Overall DB Green with wasp stripes was the predominant railcar livery from about 1961 until about 1967, when NIR adopted the NCC section railcar livery generally]. Some 1965-6 GNR section railcars blue and cream (livery of Enterprise 1965-7). NCC section cars dark red and pale grey. Some Bangor line cars olive green and cream, rest went straight from brunswick to NIR maroon and grey. Some other stock maroon, but most remained dark green. [IH - many railcars remained in DB Green until NIR days. For example, I think only two or so Bangor line 3-car MED railcar sets actually received the olive green (bright shade reminiscent of LNER tourist coach) and cream livery - the rest went straight from DB Green to NIR maroon & grey. There were two variants of each section livery - "mainline" railcars like the BUT railcars of the former GNR and the NCC section mainline MPDs were to carry a version with a broad band of the lighter colour, to just over the full height of the passenger windows. On "suburban" cars like MEDs and the AECs of the former GNR, the lighter coloured band, on the sides, was to be about half the height of the windows i.e. a series of "dashes", between the windows, rather than a continuous line. That was the theory, but "suburban" vehicles soon started to appear also in "broad band" livery. There was also a short-lived and completely different railcar livery, carried on a number of cars from 1959 to c.1961. The penultimate batch of MPD railcars was turned out initially in an overall turquoise shade, described as "light grey-green". Some earlier MPDs were repainted in this, as one MED railcar set. Wasp stripes were added from about 1960. I've never heard of this livery on any ex-GN railcars - only on the UTA's own MEDs and MPDs, and even then, not all of them carried it - only a minority, I am fairly sure.] [IH - The UTA roundel lasted from the start until 1959, from which time it was fairly rapidly replaced (on all but a few old locos) by the new, real, coat of arms.][WS: Black became the standard livery of the UTA, but it was a much brighter black than the NCC version, more like the 'blackberry black' of the old LNWR, UTA lining was much more elaborate with parallel straw and red lines. To add to the the colour, the flutes of the comiling roles were also painted red, as were the flutes of the coupling rods were also painted red, as were the flutes of the motion and the connecting rods of Moguls and Jeeps. However the coupling rods of these classes were not fluted and so not red. All this looked superb when engines were ex-works. The first few repaints appeared with a large 'U T' on the tender but, from early 1950, the UTA 'red hand' roundel appeared on the tender or side tank, rather than any lettering. In 1959 the UTA roundel was superseded by an armorial device which depicted a shield supported by a red lion and brown stag, with a medieval helmet, oak leaves and winged horse. Below was the Latin incription 'Transportatio Cultum Significat'. In other respects the livery was unchanged.

Staff: Loco engineers: 1946-9 J.Thompson. Secretary: 1948-9 R.McNeill (acting). Manager 1946-9 J.W.Hutton, 1966-67 J.Coulthard.

Signalling: Absolute block working on double lines of NCC and Bangor line - Tyer's instruments. On Bangor line and Belfast-Bleach Green the no. of block posts reduced and automatic signals were in use by 1967. On former NCC single lines Electric Tablet working was standard in 1967.

Further reading: O.Doyle and S.Hirsch Railways in Ireland, 1834-1984, J.R.L.Currie The Northern Counties Railway Vol. 2, P.Jones Irish Railways Traction & Travel (recommended, but yet to be consulted), Norman Johnston, Austerity Ulster 1947-51: Pictures from the UTA Archives 1, Norman Johnston, Ulster in the 1950s: Photos from the UTA Archive 2, Derek Young The Ulster Transport Authority in colour.

Acknowledgements: Ivor Hughes for helpful comments. Usual disclaimer applies.

Coat of Arms

click for 2.3K .jpg image of UTA coaUTA coa. Source: D.Cronin, doctored (full image 10K)

The coat of arms is one of only five in the British Isles that was officially awarded (the others being GCR, LNER, SR, BTC) rather than being invented. "Two sizes of UTA coat of arms were printed 26cm wide x 30cm high and 6 17cm wide x 20cm high." Source: D.Cronin.


click for 14.6K .jpg image of UTA coaUTA coa. Source: GCR1211. (full image 40K)

Logo (roundel), used until 1959.

Rolling Stock railwayana

Locomotive nameplates:

Works & tenderplates, wagon plates:

click for 8.4K .jpg image of UTA wagon plate UTA wagon plate. Source: SRA309 (full image 29K).

Lineside and station railwayana


Bridge Restriction:

Bridge Numbers:






click for 3.2K .jpg image of UTA tabletUTA modified No.6 Tyers tablet. Source: E.Calvert-Harrison

Comment from ECH: "Modified Tyer's No.6 tablets introduced by the UTA in attempt to reduce breakages when exchanging tablets mechanically at speed. This example, however, came from the Carrickfergus-Whitehead section when it was singled in the 1970s."

click for 2K .jpg image of BCDR mechanical pouchUTA Mechanical Tablet Pouch. Source: E.N.Calvert-Harrison (full image 14K)

click for 3.5K .jpg image of BCDR tablet pouchUTA Tablet Pouch. Source: E.N.Calvert-Harrison (full image 37K)

click for 4K .jpg image of UTA Larne diagramUTA Larne Harbour signal cabin diagram (1964, revised 1967). Source: E.N.Calvert-Harrison (full image 46K)

click for 4K .jpg image of UTA lampUTA lamp. Source: TRA804 (full image 18K)

Cutlery, china, ashtrays etc.:

click for 3K .jpg image of UTA soup plate UTA 22.5cm Dunn Bennett soup plate. Source: ebay506 (full image 12K or obverse)

click for 2.4K .jpg image of UTA side plate UTA 16cm Dunn Bennett side plate. Source: ebay506 (full image 8K)

click for 3K .jpg image of UTA dinner plate UTA 24cm Dunn Bennett dinner plate transfer-dated '4.58'. Source: ebay506 (full image 10K or obverse)

click for 10.4K .jpg image of UTA jugUTA cream/milk judge. Source: TRA711

click for 9K .jpg image of UTA milk jug UTA hotels' milk jug. Source: TRA1114 full image 47K.

click for 6.6K .jpg image of UTA coffee pot UTA coffee pot. Source: TRA1107. full image 27K

click for 7.6K .jpg image of UTA egg cups UTA egg cups Laharna Hotel, Larne, Co.Antrim. Source: ebay1107. full image 21K

click for 5.6K .jpg image of UTA crockery UTA hotel crockery. Source: TRA812. full image 16K

click for 4.8K .jpg image of UTA toast rack UTA Mappin & Webb silver plated toast rack. Source: ebay409 (full image 31K).

click for 4K .jpg image of UTA bottleUTA bottle. Source: ebay914 (full image 18K)

Timetables, rulebooks etc.:

click for 2K .jpg image of UTA WTT UTA working time table. Source: E.N.Calvert-Harrison. (full image 14K)

click for 4.3K .jpg image of UTA working arrangementsUTA Working arrangements. Source: ebay1007. (full image 33.7K)

click for 4K .jpg image of UTA PTT UTA public time table. Source: E.N.Calvert-Harrison. (full image 23K)

click for 11.6K .jpg image of UTA PTT UTA 1950 public time table. Source: ebay1107. (full image 34K)

click for 6.5K .jpg image of UTA tours UTA 1951 tours and excursions. Source: ebay607. (full image 27K)

click for 3K .jpg image of UTA flyer 1959 UTA flyer 1959. Source: E.N.Calvert-Harrison. (full image 14K)

click for 2K .jpg image of UTA rule book 1949 UTA rule book 1949. Source: E.N.Calvert-Harrison. (full image 37K)

click for 3K .jpg image of UTA signal rules UTA signalling regulations. Source: E.N.Calvert-Harrison. (full image 14K)
Edmund comments 'UTA rule book (railways) 1949...based on the Railway Clearing House Standard Rules and were used not only by the UTA but also the GNR(I) and the CDRJC....rulebooks were almost identical with the UTA one save for references to the issuing company. 'The Regulations for Train Signalling' were also adopted by the GNR(I) and, where appropriate, the CDRJC. '

click for 14K .jpg image of UTA labelUTA label. Source: RAG46 (full image 117k)


click for 2K .jpg image of UTA station master's cap UTA station master's cap. Source: E.N.Calvert-Harrison. (full image 9K)

click for 5K .jpg image of UTA badge UTA badge. Source: DC

click for 1K .jpg image of UTA cap badgeUTA cap badge. Source: E.N.Calvert-Harrison (full image 27K)

click for 12K .jpg image of UTA poster UTA poster. Source: SRA999
click for 18K .jpg image of UTA poster UTA poster. Source: GCR413. (full image 54k)

blue ball Return to Index page, or go to Northern page 5, Belfast and County Down Railway. blue ball

red ball Return to auction price data on original pages red ball

red ball For genealogy, go to my Lennan genealogy pages red ball

Page posted 27/7/1997. Revised 24/1/15

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