Northern Ireland Screen's Digital Film Archive is a free public access resource for teachers, students, historians and anyone who has an interest in moving images. Spanning from 1897 to the present day, the films in the Digital Film Archive cover all aspects of life in Northern Ireland and includes everything from dramas to documentaries, newsreels and features, animation to amateur footage.
This film is part of Free
Moving Motorways: The Spoil Train to Belfast
Celebrate the final years of steam by chasing the Spoil Train across Antrim, as yesterday’s quarry waste becomes today’s busiest motorway.
From the collection of:
Join amateur film maker A. H. Martin in hot pursuit of the Spoil Train on its epic journey across land and water from the Magheramorne quarry to industrial north Belfast. Leave the vast spoil heap behind as the waters of Larne Lough lap the tracks and plumes of smoke join the clouds. Delight in industrial choreography as quarry waste spills out into the waiting digger jaws to form NI’s busiest road. Then watch the empty carriages trundle their way back, ready to begin again.
Both the finished M2 and this film are entirely within County Antrim. The last spoil train made this journey on 2nd May 1970, bringing an end to the commercial use of steam traction in Ireland. Formed by years of cement production, the spoil heap at Magheramorne lies on the western side of Larne Lough. Quarrying limestone for the cement plant, ceased in 1980. HBO have used this abandoned quarry as a dramatic setting for Castle Black and Hardhome in Game of Thrones. After visiting the quarry George R. R. Martin said: "It’s a pretty spectacular, yet miserable location. It is wet and rainy, and the mud is thick. It really gets the actors in the mood of being at the end of the world in all of this cold and damp and chill".