RPSI Locomotive and Carriage Collections

The RPSI maintains the only collection of working main line steam locomotives in Ireland

The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland maintains the only collection of working main line steam locomotives in Ireland.

All but one of these, and the No 85 Merlin owned by the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, have been restored or rebuilt by the society itself at its Whitehead base. Some work has been subcontracted in the past to Belfast’s Harland and Wolff shipyard, but this option is no longer available due to the more modern forms of engineering currently carried out there.

Instead, the RPSI built its own locomotive workshop at Whitehead in 1997, complete with an 1897 vintage overhead heavy lifting crane, which came from the former Belfast and County Down Railway works at Queen’s Quay, Belfast.

The RPSI also has the largest collection of preserved vintage railway carriages in Ireland. Used along with steam haulage for the majority of the society’s day trips from Belfast, Dublin and elsewhere, the collection includes several beautifully restored snack and bar cars, and several first class vehicles, along with a number of traditional carriages with a wide variety of origins.

On the annual May Railtour (three days of steam to various parts of Ireland), the RPSI uses a combination of local vintage carriages, aided and abetted by Irish Rail carriages hired for steam haulage along the two principal main lines from Belfast to Dublin and Dublin to Cork. The society generally keeps a set of carriages to make up a full train in Dublin, and another at Whitehead.

© The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland

Topics