£3.1m museum to open in Whitehead next year

Pictured at the official handover ceremony at RPSI Whitehead are (from left) MSM Contracts site manager Alan McNeill, RPSI chairman Denis Grimshaw, MSM contracts manager Spencer Savage,  Morgan Haylett, project manager from consulting engineers RPS, and Tom Wilson from architects Ostick & Williams. Photograph by Frank Robinson.  INCT 41-720-CON

Pictured at the official handover ceremony at RPSI Whitehead are (from left) MSM Contracts site manager Alan McNeill, RPSI chairman Denis Grimshaw, MSM contracts manager Spencer Savage, Morgan Haylett, project manager from consulting engineers RPS, and Tom Wilson from architects Ostick & Williams. Photograph by Frank Robinson. INCT 41-720-CON

A new £3.1m railway museum has been officially opened at the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s Whitehead base.

MSM Contracts from Portadown finished work on the 12-month construction contract at the start of September, with the new buildings now officially handed over to the Society.

The next stage will include fitting out the museum and the RPSI’s target is to open the new tourist attraction to the public in April 2017.

The site is closed to visitors while work progresses.

The construction phase has involved the installation of a 60ft locomotive turntable along with a period-style signal cabin, the construction of new sheds and the extension of the existing facilities.

Denis Grimshaw, RPSI chairman, said the Society’s base had been transformed thanks to the £2m construction contract. “This is a pivotal point in terms of the development. We will now commence fitting out the museum with multimedia displays, educational facilities and audio links, plus a café, all of which will be key to creating this significant new tourist attraction,” he added.

“An exciting element of the museum will be the opportunity for visitors to walk through historic carriages, examine mainline steam engines at close quarters and see the engineering works in action.

“We aim to attract at least 15,000 visitors in the museum’s first full year of operation.”