Flag waving opportunity for young steam train enthusiast at Whitehead

Whitehead Railway Museum is planning to celebrate the end of ‘September Steam Saturday’ by rolling out Engine 131 for its first outing since Christmas 2019.

Monday, 14th September 2020, 3:41 pm
Engine 131.
Engine 131.

Passenger steam travel in Ireland ended on March 31, 1970, ever since the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland has been providing the general public with picturesque train journeys and experiences. The painstaking work of maintaining these Victorian engineering triumphs has since taken place at Whitehead Railway Museum.

Due to the escalating Covid pandemic, the museum was forced to close for all visitors and volunteers for five months - the longest work has ever ceased in the society’s history.

As lockdown restrictions eased, staff quickly ensured all aspects of safety had been addressed and the museum, which reopened in August (read here), was awarded the ‘Good to Go’ industry standard mark.

The RPSI’s Guinness engine has been running passengers up and down the Whitehead excursion track as part of the Steam Saturday experience from the beginning of this month. And the programme will be going full steam ahead with Engine 131 guest starring on Saturday, September 26.

The attraction is currently operating Thursday through to Saturday, 10.00am - 2.30pm and Steam Saturday Train Rides are running 1.00 - 4.00pm. Pre-booking tickets is advised through Visit Belfast’s box office.

Lisa Adair, general manager, said: “Keeping the business financially stable has been challenging, and we have been reticent to launch a large appeal for money given that so many other charities are equally deserving right now. It’s our intention to make up for lost income by making the customer experience on site as good as we can.”

During these unprecedented times, financial stability and security is at the forefront of the museum and society’s business objectives. To keep the dream of steam alive, it is urging the community and those further afield to visit their local museums and businesses whom may be struggling after forced closures.

Meanwhile, do you know a child who loves trains? Would they like to wave the flag for 131? Check out Whitehead Railway Museum’s Facebook competition for the chance to wave the flag from the signal box for 131’s first run of 2020.

If you would like to find out more about Whitehead Railway Museum’s events and tickets, visit www.steamtrainsireland.com

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