This was our second summer outing this year. This time we planned to go to the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland depot at Whitehead.
We met as usual at the clubroom in Bangor and car-shared on our journey to Whitehead. I was quite surprised at the number in our group who have never been to Whitehead, even though we can see it from the clubroom.
Our initial assembly for the traditional scones and tes/coffee was in the carpark by the sea. From there it was only 2 minute run to the railway depot where we were met by members of the society all kitted in high visibility jacket and cap. Before we set off around the depot we were given a safety briefing and a history of the Society, then divided into separate escorted groups.
Visits were made to the engine workshops where we saw steam locomotives in all states of repair (and disrepair). Huge rust laden chunks of machinery were being transformed into restored and operating locomotives.
The light levels in the sheds were low as expected and a tripod was a necessity. Space was limited partly because of the masses of innards of engines and other seemingly unusable junk meant that one had to look carefully where to walk and stand.
Out the back, several members concentrated on the ‘junk’ area behind the sheds and we caught the comment from a guide that we seemed to wanted to photo rusted junk instead of engines!
In the carriage shed, some amazing restoration was taking place although there was one skeleton carriage which in my view was beyond hope. It looked like a breeding ground for woodworm.
To finish off, we managed to get inside a completed train and dining car and the transformed carriages.
Our next stop was at Port Muck, a tiny harbour at the north end of Islandmagee. Again it was a first for some of us. It was here that we had our lunch and watched the tourists enjoying a good afternoon out on the beach and in the water.