2nd February 2023
“Railway Crane Donated to Museum”
It has just been announced that an original railway crane has been donated and now installed at the Donegal’s Railway Heritage Museum. The crane had been at a farm outside Manorcunningham at Drumbarnet Lower, for a number of decades, and was originally located at Castledawson Railway Station.
Niall McCaughan, Manager of the Donegal Railway Heritage Museum stated: “With the ongoing upgrading of our facility, there was one thing that we had been looking for some time, an original railway crane. However, during a recent conversation at the official unveiling of Drumboe a few months ago, a local farmer, Michal Chance and his wife Kate overheard us talking about seeking a crane, and said that they had one that they could donate.
It transpires that they had an original railway crane on their farm for decades, which was used to lift half tonne fertiliser bags, but they had no longer a use for it and thus wanted to donate it to the museum. Michael had purchased the crane from a Bertie McNiece Engineering Workshop at Toberhead, Castledawson in the 1980’s, and before that it was at Castledawson Railway Station, and possibly dates back to when the station opened in 1856, making it 167 years young! Bertie had told Michael that he remembered as a child, four German prisoners of war working at the station, and using the crane then. Unusually, the crane is still operational, as it was being used until quite recently. When Michael and Kate offered the crane, we were delighted to receive this unique railway artefact from them; we are also indebted to Chris McCaffrey and his team from Greystone Contracts for organising the lifting, transportation and installation of it.
This week, Kate and Michael visited the crane to see it at the museum, and were pleased that not only is it now sited at a fitting location, but that present and future generations can enjoy it. The crane itself is of solid heavy construction, (built to last) and with a variety of complex cogs and wheels, is a marvellous piece of engineering. It’s another great edition to the museum, which in recent times has gone through a major upgrade both internally and externally, not to forget to the return of the restored Donegal steam engine Drumboe. Finally, I would ask people that if they have something that they would like to donate or loan to the museum, then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org ”
The crane and many other unique artefacts are available to see now at the museum which is open year round, Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm, and from April – Sep, Sundays 12noon-4pm. www.donegalrailway.com
Inspecting the Crane, L-R, Kate Chance, Niall McCaughan and Michael Chance