Foyle Valley train coming home after refurbishment

The Meenglas is now being prepared for its return to Derry.
The Meenglas is now being prepared for its return to Derry.

A historic Donegal steam train, the No. 4 Meenglas, is to return home to Derry following a major facelift at Whitehead railway works.

The steam train is due to arrive by low-loader at the Foyle Valley Railway Museum on Wednesday, January 30, with a welcome home ceremony planned from 12 noon.

The 40-ton locomotive, which has been given a cosmetic overhaul by the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (RPSI), will then go on display at the Derry museum.

Dermot O’Hara, manager of Destined, the Derry-based charity that owns the railway museum, said that the unveiling would also mark the launch of a new video and railway information booklet about the North-West, heralding the start of a new railway preservation society in Derry.

He added: “Destined will be screening an excerpt from a new video made by members of the charity along with local schoolchildren. It involves a series of interviews with local people who either worked on the railway, travelled on it or who have fond memories of it.”

Mr O’Hara said Destined were also planning a major programme to mark the 60 th anniversary in 2019 of the closure of the Co. Donegal Railway, in partnership with Donegal Railway Restoration in Donegal Town.

Meenglas was constructed in 1907 by Nasmyth Wilson of Glasgow for the Co. Donegal Railway. It operated from Stranorlar to Strabane, Donegal Town and Killybegs and was withdrawn in 1959.

Funding for the overhaul was awarded to Destined by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Peter Scott from the RPSI said: “The requirement was to restore Meenglas to displayable condition pending funding for full restoration. While the locomotive may not yet be ready for traffic, it certainly no longer looks like the derelict item it was when it arrived at Whitehead.”

Rebecca Laverty, Museum Administrator at Whitehead Railway Museum, said: “Our visitors have been intrigued to see work in progress on this attractive steam locomotive.”