County Donegal Railway tanks set for major move?

By Hugh Dougherty

Two former County Donegal Railways 2-6-4 tank locomotives – Meenglass and Drumboe, built for the line by Nasmyth Wilson 110 years ago in 1907 – could be on the move later this year if funding plans work out.

No. 4 Meenglas, currently on outdoor display at Derry/Londonderry’s Foyle Valley Railway Museum, may be sent to Heritage Engineering Ireland at the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s Whitehead museum and workshops, if Destined, the charity currently leasing the museum from Derry City Council, can identify funds.

Drumboe after cosmetic restoration on display at Donegal Railway Heritage Centre in 2003. HUGH DOUGHERTY

Destined manager Dermot O’Hara said: “We would like to have Meenglas cosmetically restored as the locomotive has suffered from being outside over the years, despite some repainting on occasion by Derry City Council.

“ We are exploring funding options and are keen to see the locomotive presented in a much better condition. We have also opened the museum, using our own, council-trained guides for the summer, and it’s vital that this exhibit presents a good first impression to attract visitors to come inside.”

Whether or not the locomotive makes the journey to Whitehead may be down to finally determining who owns Meenglas which was bought by Dr Ralph Cox of Wildwood, New Jersey, USA, after the County Donegal Railway closed in 1959, but which lay at Strabane Station and was rescued by the North West of Ireland Railway Society, before being returned to Derry with the opening of the museum in 1989.

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