RPSI’s Whitehead museum opens its doors to public

NORTHERN Ireland’s newest tourist attraction – the Whitehead Railway Museum – has quietly opened its doors to the general public, ahead of a more formal opening at a later date.

Contractors finished work on the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s £3.1million project in early March. The museum will open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

One of the stars of the new Whitehead Railway Museum is the RPSI’s flagship locomotive No. 171 Slieve Gullion, the image of which has been used in the museum’s branding. Visitors can see the loco on the tour as cosmetic work continues. The overhaul of the GNR(I) ‘S’ class 4-4-0 is currently on hold. RPSI

It is the culmination of more than five years’ work by the RPSI to develop the Whitehead site from merely a working steam depot to a destination in its own right.

Much of the project has been funded by grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and GROW (Generating Rural Opportunities Within) South Antrim, made in 2013, and amounting to £2.4million.

The redevelopment really got underway the previous year when work began on the new Whitehead Excursion station.

Additional funding has come from Tourism Northern Ireland (part financed by the European Regional Development Fund), with additional support from Mid and East Antrim Council and Ulster Garden Villages.

Read more in the April issue of The RM – on sale now!

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