The cold weather with snow did not deter the visitors for the first of the 2023 National Railway Heritage Awards’ plaques to be unveiled. Tuesday 24 January 2024 saw a large gathering at Cullybackey, near Ballymena, to witness the official unveiling of the plaque awarded to Robert and Anne Christie for the restoration of the station building.
Originally opened by the Ballymena, Ballymoney, Coleraine & Portrush Junction Railway in July 1856 but rebuilt to the design of John Lanyon in 1865, the station building had lain derelict for many years and its condition had deteriorated significantly when it was acquired by its current owners.
Work started on its restoration in January 2020 with the scale and complexity of the project being rewarded when the project was awarded the GWR Craft Skills Award in the 2023 National Railway Heritage Awards competition. These were announced at a ceremony held at Merchant Taylors’ Hall in London on 6 December 2023.

The plaque at Cullybackey following its official unveiling with, from left, Anne and Robert Christie, the building’s owner, John Lockett OBE, NRHA judge, Neil Campbell, joiner, Jerry Swift, NRHA secretary, and Ian Sinclair, NRHA judge.

The restored station at Cullybackey; the considerable work involved in reversing many years of deterioration at the station made it a worthy winner of the GWR Craft Skills Award at the 2023 National Railway Heritage Awards.