Whitehead Railway Museum

Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Est. 475m / 10 mins / Map

Welcome to Whitehead Railway Museum, home to the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland.

Whitehead Railway Museum - Cya On The Road

Whitehead was originally a small village or clachan and, though the Carrickfergus and Larne Railway opened stations near the White Harbour in 1863 and 1864, the size and popularity of Whitehead as a seaside town only really began after the opening of a station on the site of the present NIR station in 1877.

The later Belfast and Northern Counties Railway Company invested in the town to encourage its growth as both a tourist destination and somewhere to live. They offered cheap fares for day and evening trips and these proved to be so popular that additional platforms at the Excursion Station were built. The BNCR also built the promenade, sponsored the yacht club, built a swimming pool and bandstands and organised firework displays and puppet shows. They even brought in sand from Portrush to make a beach.

Whitehead never fully recovered its popularity after the Great War of 1914–1918. Attempts were made to boost its appeal but gradually the Excursion Station fell out of use and into a state of disrepair. After a brief revival during World War II, the whole area was gradually abandoned.

In 1966 the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (RPSI) made its headquarters here and since then its volunteers have transformed a redundant railway siding and engine shed into a fascinating working railway base and heritage site.

As you move around the site you will see the original elements of this once bustling railway destination, including the water tower, the engine shed and the stables building, all of which date from 1907. The nearby Station Master’s house and 4 railway cottages also date from this time and all are now private housing.

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