Whitehead says ‘cheers’ to Guinness engine centenary

The Guinness engine 2019.
The Guinness engine 2019.

One of the most famous names in brewing will be the toast of an historic celebration in Whitehead this weekend.

Whitehead Railway Museum is hosting a party on Saturday to mark the centenary of the No.3BG Guinness steam locomotive.

Guinness - 2 leaves the brewery with the last train on  May 15, 1966.

Guinness - 2 leaves the brewery with the last train on May 15, 1966.

The 1919 engine, named after Arthur Guinness, was built to shunt wagons between the famous Guinness Brewery at St. James’ Gate in Dublin and the nearby Kingsbridge (now Heuston) station. When Guinness closed its broad gauge line in May 1965, No.3BG became the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s first locomotive.

Since then, the engine has shunted at Whitehead Excursion Station, worked train rides on the site and spent time hauling passenger trains on the Downpatrick and County Down Railway.

During the party, between 12noon and 4pm, short steam train rides on the engine will be the main attraction as it will allow visitors to experience the smells and sounds of a steam locomotive.

Tickets are required for the train rides and are priced at £2.50 for adults and £2.00 for children. No need to book in advance as they can be purchased on the day.

Locomotive No.3BG in 1935.

Locomotive No.3BG in 1935.

For ticket holders there will be lots of fun activities throughout the afternoon for young and old to enjoy including balloon modelling, face painting and cutting of the birthday cake.

Big Telly Theatre Company will also be performing five minute pop-up plays at 10.30am, 12.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm throughout the museum, re-enacting the Whitehead train robbery of 1939. Museum tickets for the plays can be purchased on the day.

Siobhan Dillon, acting general manager of Whitehead Railway Museum said: “This is a fantastic occasion for the museum, and we want everyone to feel part of the celebrations. It is not often that you get to enjoy a 100th birthday party so we want to make it a memorable occasion.

“We are pleased to have delegates and invited guests join us from across Northern Ireland but want everyone feel welcome. The festivities are set to be a fantastic family fun day out and everyone is welcome to come along.”

The Edwardian Tea Room will be open as usual from 10.15am serving homemade lunches and guided tours will be on offer at 11am, 1pm and 2.30pm. For more information visit, https://www.steamtrainsireland.com/