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No.171 Appeal

Restoring our flagship locomotive for our 50th anniversary
171 at Banteer on the South Kerry Railtour.  Photo by Richard Wall.
No.171 in happier times at Banteer on the South Kerry Railtour. Photo by R. Wall

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Dear 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 Ireland.

Please support this restoration appeal in any way you can.  

Thank you!

Gerry Mooney
No.171 Restoration Appeal Co-ordinator


171 in store at Whitehead in 2011.  Your donation can start her restoration.
171 in store at Whitehead in 2011.  Your donation can help us complete her restoration.
Thank you in advance -
your donation is critical to the future of mainline steam trains in Ireland.

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