Whitehead makeover for County Donegal Meenglas

A County Donegal Railways 2-6-4T has left the north west of Ireland for the first time since it was delivered by makers Nasmyth Wilson in 1907. No. 4 Meenglas, has been moved from outside Derry’s Foyle Valley Railway Museum, where it had been on static display since 1992, to Heritage Engineering Ireland at Whitehead, for cosmetic restoration.

Could it steam again? Columbkille on display at the Foyle Valley Railway Museum. HUGH DOUGHERTY

Heritage Lottery Funding for the facelift was sourced by charity Destined, which is leasing the museum from Derry and Strabane District Council.

When work is complete, Meenglas will be returned to the museum in May for display on a newly-built plinth closer to Foyle Road itself.

Destined manager Dermot O’Hara said: “The locomotive had been deteriorating badly, despite some painting by the council over the years. We decided to have it fully restored cosmetically and to really use it to put the museum on the map.

Meenglas stored in the open at Strabane in 1965.

“This is the first part of our plans to revive the Foyle Valley Railway, which we hope to return to working order as part of our work in providing training, opportunities and jobs for our disabled service users and to boost tourism.”

Dermot added that he will call for interested enthusiasts and societies to become involved with the centre’s plans by forming a railway society after Meenglas returns, while he has also pledged to fully explore the possibility of returning sister Class 5 2-6-4T No.6 Columbkille, to full working order and steaming it on the revived Foyle Valley Railway.

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