Larne forklift exchanges hands for £1

Larne of Port donates industrial rolling stock for just one pound to the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland at Whitehead Railway Museum. Photography by Charles Friel.
Larne of Port donates industrial rolling stock for just one pound to the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland at Whitehead Railway Museum. Photography by Charles Friel.

A old forklift has exchanged hands in Larne for the nominal sum of £1 - and boosted industrial heritage in the process.

The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (RPSI), which is based at Whitehead, received the vehicle kindly donated by the Port of Larne.

Right to left: RPSI chairman, John McKegney; Port Larne director, Roger Armson; RPSI president, Dr. Joan Smyth; Port Larne Maintenance manager, David Black and Track Squad manager, Dermot Mackie.

Right to left: RPSI chairman, John McKegney; Port Larne director, Roger Armson; RPSI president, Dr. Joan Smyth; Port Larne Maintenance manager, David Black and Track Squad manager, Dermot Mackie.

“Larne Port work closely with the local community and are delighted to have been able to donate this forklift to the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland,” said Roger Armson, director, Port of Larne.

The exchange was held at Whitehead Railway Museum, the industrial site where the RPSI locomotives are displayed, restored and maintained.

John McKegney, RPSI chairman, Dr Joan Smyth, president and Dermot Mackie, track squad volunteer co-ordinator, were joined by Roger Armson, Larne Port’s general manager and director, and David Black, maintenance manager, for the official handover.

Roger added: “We had recently replaced the site forklift with a newer model and instead of scrapping the old one we contacted the museum to see if their workshop could make use of it as a training tool for volunteers which they were delighted to accept.”

Whitehead Railway Museum plans to put the forklift to great use and training for volunteers and staff is already under way.

John McKegney, RPSI chairman, said: “Railway equipment is not light and until this excellent forklift truck arrived, moving parts of locomotives and rolling stock was very time consuming and difficult. It will make life so much easier for our dedicated volunteers; they are so impressed they have nicknamed it ‘The Beast’ because of all it can do.”

Joan Smyth, RPSI president, said: “Whitehead Railway Museum is very grateful for this generous offer and this handover has further developed our working relationship with the Port of Larne and P&O.

“I am particularly delighted that P&O see positive outcomes from this collaboration and we plan to explore further opportunities of working together to the benefit of both organisations.”

If you would like to find out more about the museum and the RPSI, visit their website www.steamtrainsireland.com