wins HRA award
Most of the restoration team with their
Railway Association, the body representing railway preservation societies
in the UK and Ireland, has given its biannual Wagon award to the RPSI for
the restoration of brake
The judges were impressed
with the quality of the restoration work as well as the extensive use of
young volunteers, and the rarity of 5'3" gauge goods vehicles.
The award was presented
by HRA President Dame Margaret Weston in a ceremony at the National Railway
Museum, York. Thanking the HRA, Mark Walsh noted that the project
had resulted in the recruitment of several new young volunteers now engaged
in the maintenance and operation of main line trains.
Restoration of the decayed and fire-damaged
van took two years (click for larger images)
The RPSI is no stranger
to HRA awards.
In 2006 the society
was ‘highly commended’ for our part in the Bleach Green – Whitehead track
relay. Steam locomotive RH
Smyth, with volunteer crews, pulled ballast trains for the contract.
In 2004 it was awarded
Coiley Award for Locomotive Preservation for the restoration of No.186.
In 2000, we
were awarded the ‘Supreme Champion’ prize in the Carriage and Wagon competition
for the restoration of President’s
Back in 1983 the
RPSI won the ultimate accolade – the Annual Award – for ‘highly successful
operation…of steam excursions’ and the restoration of locomotive
car 87 and coaches 91
(which has recently been overhauled
The brake van may be seen and ridden in
on Whitehead open days in the Summer
Brake van restoration
team member Edward Friel said, "It’s great to add to the RPSI’s impressive
crop of awards. When we started this project in 2006 we certainly
didn’t expect that it would end with us all gathered in the NRM collecting
this plaque, and to be recognised at the same ceremony as the A1 Tornado
makes the honour greater still.
"Of course the RPSI
exists to run main line trains, and 81 will never be a part of that, but
as an accredited museum we also have a responsibility to educate the public.
The brake van project has been a great way of doing that, because the story
of goods trains in Ireland really wasn't something we were able to illustrate
"It's been very popular
on open days, people are curious to find out what this thing is for - a
lot of people have no idea that goods trains ever existed!"
Displays in the van help to convey the
history of goods trains, which have disappeared from many parts of the
"All in all, I think it's been a very successful
project for the RPSI, and we'd like to thank all those who helped, particularly
the very generous donor who gave us the money to get started, and the Northern
Ireland Museums Council who then provided the bulk of the funding."