Steam Train Enthusiast,
In the early
1960s steam was in rapid decline on the Irish railway system.
Still the home for many unique classes of locomotive and
rolling stock, Ireland provided enthusiasts from home and abroad with a
special mix of operation that could not be matched elsewhere.
Seeing that this special mix was at risk of being lost forever, a group
of like minded enthusiasts got together in early 1964 and formed the
Railway Preservation Society of Ireland.
Over the following years a large collection of locomotives and rolling
stock was gathered and an operating base was established at the former
excursion station in Whitehead, Co.Antrim.
The first mainline express passenger locomotive to be acquired by the Society was
former Great Northern Railway (Ireland) 4-4-0 locomotive No.171 Slieve Gullion.
Slieve Gullion has given sterling service to the RPSI on the railway
networks of Ireland and, with her unique shape and atrractive blue
livery, has become an iconic locomotive, the flagship of the Society.
We are now celebrating our 50th anniversary year and No.171 is
currently in Shildon being restored. We look forward to her
return to Whitehead later in 2014. Even after this extensive
work, the vital commissioning of new safety equipment, necessary for
operation on the busy mainline railway, will still to be done.
This work is expensive and our appeal is still valid to fulfil
this final part of bringing No.171 back to traffic and ensuring that,
as an express passenger locomotive
she can maintain the schedules needed to operate out on the mainline
while having the ability to haul our heaviest trains.
This is a direct appeal to you, the enthusiast, to
help us return this most famous and loved engine back where it belongs
- in steam, on the mainline.
If you have ever considered supporting an appeal and didn't, please
consider this as the one you support. All money raised will
go directly to the restoration, this will include all material, labour
and associated plant costs, which in turn will provide an engine that
can bring vital income for the Society and keep mainline steam alive in
Please support this restoration appeal in any way you can.
No.171 Restoration Appeal Co-ordinator
171 in store at Whitehead in 2011. Your donation can help us complete her restoration.