“The people of Belfast know this train is for peace.”
Edited footage of the Peace Train in 1992, which travelled from Belfast to Dublin and back with interviews taken at the time with trade unionists, politicians and the public.
The Peace Train Organisation was a campaign group set up in 1989 in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in response to the repeated bombing of the Dublin to Belfast railway line by the Provisional IRA. The train was filled with people eager to express their views and to show they would not be frightened or silenced by repeated bombings
“We’re exercising our right as ordinary people to travel within our own country, a right upheld by our constitution, upheld by the laws of the European community.” – Sam McAughtry
“If you don’t listen to the whole story you don’t get the whole solution, at the end of the day the solution comes from hearing all the sides, and trying to come up with some kind of compromise or some kind of solution that at least will be more peaceful and that more people’s views will be represented.” – Passenger
“What I would like to see is an Ireland where people north and south can meet and where we can have mutual respect and mutual agreement and most of all I think a country where the guns are put away.” – Passenger
The passengers on the train were from all over Ireland, north and south. There were also passengers from England who had another perspective on the Troubles. “You hear about the explosions in Ireland, you don’t hear that much comment, you hear about the bombs going of in London and you hear some politicians, there’s no kind of follow up, no analysis.” – Passenger
At one point the journey is brought to a halt due to a bomb scare on the line. Everyone was told to leave the train. The bomb scare didn’t dampen the peoples’ spirits. Two hours later the train was allowed to continue on its way to Belfast.
The train finally made it to Belfast, the passengers left the station, Eileen Bell was one of the co-ordinators waiting to greet them, they made their way to Belfast City Centre where they gathered out side City Hall. “It’s a far bigger success than any of us expected, we turned away hundreds and we came up with 1500 people between the two trains, and the most heartening aspect of it was the age, the great many youth organisations and the young people.”