Donegal Railway Museum is delighted to report that in spite of the Covid Lockdowns, restoration work has continued on the famous Donegal steam engine, Drumboe. You can watch a video about the current work at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u26SO6w6ZgU
Niall McCaughan, Manager at the museum stated: “It has been a challenging year, and we had hoped that Drumboe would have been back on site at the end of last year or the start of this, but Covid introduced a sudden stop to all of this work. There are two main parts to this project, the restoration of the engine itself, and also the building of a new presentation platform and canopy at the museum. Now that things have opened up again, the team at Whitehead as can be seen from the photographs attached, are charging ahead with the restoration, restoring some parts, and completely fabricating new sections which were too badly rusted to repair.
Many people have been asking if this is just a cosmetic repair, or can she go back into steam, and the answer is that most of the engine is being restored so that when funding becomes available, that she could certain go back into steam. The only part of Drumboe which we are leaving at the moment is the boiler, as there is no use in repairing it and getting a certificated until we have land and a track to run it on, never mind the substantial monies required to do this. However, we see this as Phase 2, and have already started preliminary work on drawing up Terms of Reference for a Feasibility Study, which would be needed in order to attract funding. Phase 2 could be a medium to long-term project, but this initial work is an important step towards this vision.
In relation to the new infrastructure at the Museum, the new platform is currently being built, and work has just started on the uprights for the canopy, which will be completed when the restored engine and stock are lifted back into place. We have been informed by the various contractors, that the work will be complete in the autumn, at which time we will plan the engine’s triumphant return to the county, the first steam engine to return in many decades.
One challenge, however, as we all have found, is that the price of everything has gone up, and so has some of the costs associated with Drumboe, particularly the new canopy that will cover the engine and other stock, as well as the professional fees. If you would like to make a contribution to this flagship project, then simply check out this link in relation to how you can contribute. http://donegalrailway.com/donate/