Foreword. "When a few of us met in Denvir's Hotel on a bleak winter night to discuss the possibility of a preserved railway scheme at Downpatrick, it was somewhat unreal, and perhaps none of us - except Gerry Cochrane - really expected that our dreams would ever be realised. As described in this book, many obstacles were encountered and there were times when most of us - except Gerry Cochrane - were prepared to give up. However, he is made of sterner stuff, and always sought and found a way through the difficulties. It was my pleasure and privilege to help clear some of the obstacles, particularly in the early days, and in the process, I came to admire the tenacity and determination of Gerry and other colleagues who joined in the enterprise over the years. It has also been my pleasure to develop a lasting friendship with Gerry and his wife, typical of the many friendships which arise from working on railway activities. I well recall the thrill of first seeing ex-CIE diesel locomotive No 421 pulling a restored goods van from our Station to the Loop. This and many later sights on our Railway have brought thrills and satisfaction to me and thousands of others.
This delightful book will be of much interest to all who have an interest in railways, especially the much revered Belfast and County Down Railway - the BCDR. "Downpatrick and County Down Railway" is a worthy successor which could not have been achieved without the input of Gerry Cochrane." (W F Gillespie OBE).
Gerry Cochrane was born in 1935 within sight and sound of the BCDR. Since early childhood, he has had a strong interest in railways. His final thesis in architecture was based on the study of Working Railway Museums, researched in both Great Britain and Europe. He joined the South Eastern Education and Library Board and became Senior Architect. In 1982 he began a process which has resulted in the return of steam to Downpatrick. The onset of ME brought his professional career to a premature end in 1991, but Gerry continued with the development of the railway museum until retirement from management in 2004. His activities are now confined to vintage carriage restoration.