It was a pleasure to be invited to the Whitehead Train museum a few weeks ago. Their team told me they have a few carriages that need renovation and that I may be interested in seeing them. So I packed my camera and headed off!
From the moment I stepped onto the museum platform, I knew these were going to be great subjects! They had all the elements of peeling paint, rust and muted colours.
In Whitehead, there are two stations, one which is still in use by Northern Ireland Railways and serves the Belfast to Larne line and one which was used as an excursion station. Designed to serve day trippers who came for the man-made beach and ocean air. Currently, it is home to the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland and has been for over fifty years.
There are several carriages here, each are of a different era, town or some even have come over from a different country. Eventually they'll all be fully restored and brought back to life.
Mail and large goods were carried in the back of this carriage and passengers were up the front.
At the back there were even bunkbeds for the overnight workers. This one as you can see is in its original state. Cosy ;0
There are even some wagon brakers, this one looks like it's been parked up a while. Even so it has lots of personality!
Inside the wagon you can see that conditions would have been cramped and only room for 1 or 2 people.
Several of the trains and carriages have appeared in movies like, The First Great Train Robbery, Michael Collins, Angela's Ashes, Remington Steele to name a few. The museum is open for bookings for photography.
There are wooden framed carriages and some of the more up to date modern steel frames on site. The reason for the steel upgrade was to make them safer if there were to be a high impact crash, like the Armagh rail disaster in 1889 or the Ballymacarett rail crash in 1945.
The rain had been heavy that morning but it cleared by the time I arrived, leaving the sky heavy and perfect conditions for the subject.
This is a 64 seater Tourist Standard Open standard carriage Mk2z design vehicle built in 1966 that came over from Scotland.
A carriage lies in front of the engine room.
Even in their state of decay you can still see the characters shining through. Each with their own style and shape.
This carriage has just started renovation. It has big plans to be turned into a useable space for events and talks with a small bar on board.
It had been in a shed for some years and before that it was used as a glamping carriage.
Work is expected to take up to two years.
This is the impressive No 27 Lough Erne loco which was built in 1949 for the Sligo, Leitrim and Northern Counties Railway. This is still in operation for various runs and events organised by the museum. They have events at Christmas and Halloween and other dates in between.
This is Guinness 3BG which was owned by Guinness Brewery in Dublin. It is now used for training, shunting and summer day trips. The train is over 100 years old.
No 4 has a lot of history, not to mention it was the last ever steam locomotive ever to be used anywhere in Ireland outside of preservation.
I noticed as I walk around the trains small initials and numbers, this is record of when the train was last worked on and what work was done to it.
Some original signage on the platform, aren't these just great! There is also a cafe on site and a replica signal box which shows you how the signalling was used.
There are tours here weekly which I'd highly recommend. The knowledge and expertise that the volunteers put into this museum is highly commendable!