A trip on the train is the best way to see all of the Lower Gardens. Over 4.5km of narrow gauge track, weaves its way through the trees, revealing many pleasing vistas.  The railway takes you around the lake and grounds passing the Castle Folly, the Tree Circle with the “Orb” and the newly installed “Long Sleeper” sculpture on the Spiral Mound before returning to the Station. The ‘Duchess of Difflin’ steam engine, with her carriages in the traditional red and cream livery of the “Wee Donegal” and the ‘Earl of Oakfield’ blue diesel engine give pleasure to children, Thomas The Tank Engine fans and enthusiast alike. Trains run at regular intervals each day and offer an excellent opportunity to view the lower gardens in comfort. The steam train runs on the last Sunday of the month ‘Steam Sunday’.

Tickets and departure times available at the pay booth on arrival. No booking required except for group visits. The trip will take about 15 minutes.

Difflin Lake RailwayDifflin Lake Railway

Architect:                       A & E Wright, Belfast

Consultant:                    Martin’s Models Garden Railways, Herefordshire

Gauge:                           15 inches (381mm)

Length of track:             4km (2.5 miles) including sidings

Rail:                                Steel, S7, 14lb/yard

Min. radius:                   65 ft. (22 metres)

Ruling gradient:           1 in 30 straight, 1 in 45 curves

Sleepers:                        Part galvanised steel, part treated softwood.Difflin Lake Railway train

Rail fixings:                   Clips throughout

Turnouts:                        2 at 114 ft. (35 metre) radius,

3 at 91 ft. (28 metre) radius,

10 at 82 ft. (25 metre) radius,

Manufactured by Alan Keef Ltd



Built by:                        Exmoor Steam Railway Co., Devon, England.DUCHESS OF DIFFLIN

Delivered:                      February 2003, Works no. 317

Overall width:               45 inches (1.1 meters)

Length:                          10 ft. (3.05 meters)

Height:                           5 ft. 10 inches (1.8 meters)

Weight                           3.2 tonnes approx.

Driving wheels:             14 inch (355mm) diameter.

Boiler pressure:             150 lb./sq. in.

Grate area:                    1.4 sq. ft. (0.13 sq.m)DUCHESS OF DIFFLIN train

Two outside cylinders, bore 4.5/8 inch, stroke 7 inch

Crosshead driven mechanical lubricator

Mechanical handbrake,

Air cylinder and controls for train air brake.

“EARL OF OAKFIELD” 0-4-0 Diesel loco.

Built by:                         Alan Keef Ltd, 2002, works number

Perkins 103.10 3-Cylinder Diesel engine

Hydrostatic transmission via chain drive to rear axleThomas The Tank Engine Train

Outside fly cranks and coupling rods

Length:                          8 ft. (2.4m)

Height:                           6 ft. (1.8m)

Width:                           4 ft. (1.2m)


Enclosed carriages

Built by:                         Alan Keef Ltd to an outline plan by Martin’s Models.

Steel under-frames, wooden bodies,Train Donegal

Third class bogie third compartment carriage,

Three third class compartments, each seating four passengers

Slatted wooden bench seats

Full height doors on both sides, glazed, with raising lights

Length over drawbars: 14’ 10.3/4”

Width                            44 inches (1.1m)

Height                            6 ft. (1.8m)

Electrically lit with battery

Air brakedDonegal train

Brake first carriage

One first class compartment seating four passengers

Upholstered bench seats, carpeted floor

Raising lights

Luggage compartment with double doors

Fitted for carriage of a wheel chair(s)

Slatted wooden bench seats

Guard’s compartment with duckets on each side

Observation seats

Dimensions as third class carriage

Air braked


Open carriages

2no., four wheelers, built by Alan Keef Ltd.

Following a design by Bassett-Lowke Ltd as supplied to Sir Arthur Heywood

Each carriage with two open compartments

Steel construction with slatted wooden seats

Each carriage to seat eight persons


Freight wagon

All built by Alan Keef Ltd

One four-wheel open wagon with steel body.

Hand brake by lever