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Mar 30 15 10:26 AM
Mar 31 15 4:49 PM
Rail experts call for Foyle
Valley Museum artefacts to be safeguarded
END OF THE LINE!. . . . .Mark Lusby, Heritage
Advisor, George Sweeney, Secretary and Founder Member, North West of Ireland
Railway Society and Jim McBride, Treasurer, pictured at the Foyle Valley
Railway Museum on Friday before the doors closed. DER1215MC077
31 March 2015
Veteran rail experts have expressed concerns over
the future of artefacts contained in a Derry Museum which has now closed for
McBride and George Sweeney from the North West of Ireland Railway Society
visited the Foyle Valley Railway Museum on Friday with heritage advisor Mark
Lusby for the last time before it closed down.
publicly-run museum on Foyle Road has been shut down as one of the final major
acts of Derry City Council before the new Derry City and Strabane District
Council becomes the local authority tomorrow.
Sweeney and Mr McBride along with others have spent decades preserving and
promoting Derry’s rail heritage and last year expressed dismay at the threat
now hanging over the Museum.
McBride said: “Much of these artefacts were rescued from the scrap man in the
early 70s. Without people like George Sweeney and George Haire none of this
would be in existence today.
museum has now closed as of Friday. This has been one of the very last acts of
Derry City Council.
concerned about the future of the unique collection of artefacts in the
building. The management of the Museum, and whoever is going to manage it in
the future, needs to respect the unique value of what is in this building.
to be preserved and not become some sort of climbing frame for children. This
stuff needs to be protected because it is irreplaceable.
to appreciate what a unique collection with strong links to the city we have in
the museum and whoever its future guardians are need to appreciate that as
McBride said that among the artefacts housed in the museum are two steam
locomotives, one named after the patron saint of Derry, Colmcille, an
ex-Donegal rail car and a couple of historic old railway carriages, along with
other historical items.
Mar 31 15 5:08 PM
A feature article also from today's Derry Journal---
Derry’s railway heritage -
keeping it real
The Victoria Road Railway Terminus in use. The leading
11:44 Tuesday 31 March 2015
Creating jobs and wealth in Derry has always been a struggle. During the
19th century, when garment manufacturing was the key industry, Derry was also a
railway city. Rail was the main mode of travel and the city was the hub for a
network of tracks which drew the people of the north west of Ireland together
and connected them to the outside world through intercity lines to Belfast and
Dublin. Today, in these times of recession and austerity, the battle for
employment is just as arduous and Derry needs to sweat all of its assets in
this campaign. In this article, MARK LUSBY, local heritage champion, argues
that Derry’s unique railway heritage is such an asset.
As a result of the Troubles
and subsequent regeneration, uniquely, Derry is now the only city in Northern
Ireland with two surviving Victorian railway terminal stations: the Old
Waterside Railway Station, on Duke Street, and the Victoria Road Railway
Denis McAdorey, grandfather of
Mark Lusby, photographed at the start of his railway career as a fireman with
the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway in Belfast. Denis later became an
engine driver and operated from the Old Waterside Railway Station.
Both stations are quite intact
in spite of their buildings being converted for other commercial purposes down
through the years since trains stopped using them.
Derry’s other unique railway
heritage asset is the collection currently housed in the Foyle Valley Railway
Museum, consisting of two steam engines, a rail-car, several carriages and
other railway paraphernalia.
There are two additional steam
engines fully restored or being restored by preservation societies elsewhere
and just waiting for a request so that they can be returned for display in
Tourism was one of the key
employment creation sectors identified in ILEX’s One Plan and it is certain to
be prioritised again within the Community Plan currently being drawn up by the
new Derry City and Strabane District Council.
A detail of ironwork at the
Old Waterside Railway Station, bearing the acronym of the Belfast and Northern
Counties Railway. Photos: Mark Lusby.
Derry is a relatively small
city on the western fringe of Europe. To compete with other cities, we need to
offer all of the services that any tourist destination would be expected to
provide – quality accommodation, pubs, clubs, art galleries, theatres etc. However, to really stand out
as a tourism city, we need to have a unique story and we need to tell that
story in a compelling way. Visitors are looking for experiences that offer a
high degree of authenticity.
We can either spend tens of
millions of euros and pounds in manufacturing a unique visitor experience, e.g.
Titanic Belfast, or we can provide that experience through fully exploiting the
authenticity of Derry’s remaining unique built heritage assets.
It would seem that Derry does
not have a coherent plan for the conservation and development of the city’s
railway heritage. Derry City Council recently invited development bids for the
Foyle Valley Railway Museum site at Foyle Road.
Columbkille steam engine and a diesel rail-car on display at the Foyle Valley
Railway Museum in Derry.
Surprisingly, the invitation
document included the use of the railway collection, without requiring the
potential developer to have any track record in operating or developing a
railway museum or in conserving a major industrial heritage collection.
It will also be a shock to
railway heritage enthusiasts that, in 2002, the Department for the Environment
delisted most of the buildings which made up the former Victoria Road Railway
Terminus. These buildings were designed by the famous Irish railway engineer,
James Barton, and comprise the only surviving narrow gauge railway terminus in
the whole of Ireland!
There is a close connection
between the collection in the Foyle Valley Railway Museum and the former
Victoria Road Railway Terminus, just across the river. The core of the
collection in the Railway Museum was actually used by the County Donegal
Railway, which operated out of the Victoria Road Terminus.
It is time for stakeholders in
Derry’s railway heritage, i.e. tourism authorities, local authorities, railway
preservation societies and private sector property owners, to come together to
devise a plan - one which will maximise the job creation potential of this
unique heritage asset.
Apr 3 15 12:16 PM
"When injustice becomes law, revolt becomes moral duty"
Apr 3 15 12:43 PM
Apr 4 15 7:07 AM
Victoria Road would be an ideal location. In fact by far the best.Is anyone in Derry (other than mpdfan!) listening?
Apr 4 15 3:36 PM
Cyberbeagle wrote:jhb171achill wrote:
Victoria Road would be an ideal location. In fact by far the best.Is anyone in Derry (other than mpdfan!) listening?I'd agree Victoria Road would be ideal from an historical POV... I think the building is vacant as well isn't it? But it does mean starting from scratch! For authenticity, Victoria Road looks good but it has two drawbacks compared to Foyle Road, 1) No available existing right of way south, towards New Buildings.. 2) The proximity of the border with track laid towards it, with the possible positive funding implications if an FVR track panel or two gets laid into Co. Donegal. This project has to tick all the funding option boxes, if it is to have any chance of success. I know the GNR route will not satisfy the purists out there but it offers a real possibility of actually selling a revised, improved FVR concept as a feasible, major tourist product for Derry, which properly constituted & ran, could actually "wash its face"
I'd agree Victoria Road would be ideal from an historical POV... I think the building is vacant as well isn't it? But it does mean starting from scratch! For authenticity, Victoria Road looks good but it has two drawbacks compared to Foyle Road,
1) No available existing right of way south, towards New Buildings..
2) The proximity of the border with track laid towards it, with the possible positive funding implications if an FVR track panel or two gets laid into Co. Donegal. This project has to tick all the funding option boxes, if it is to have any chance of success. I know the GNR route will not satisfy the purists out there but it offers a real possibility of actually selling a revised, improved FVR concept as a feasible, major tourist product for Derry, which properly constituted & ran, could actually "wash its face"
Apr 8 15 9:21 AM
Apr 8 15 4:46 PM
Jun 23 15 3:55 PM
Cyberbeagle wrote:Is there *any* chance of this line being resurrected as a running railway?
I just missed the last train heading out of the FVR on the day it closed (not that it was known to be) due to late Belfast train!!!
Jul 24 15 10:57 AM
Sep 10 15 11:59 AM
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Sep 14 15 8:41 PM
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Sep 19 15 10:11 AM
Sep 19 15 11:01 AM
Sep 20 15 8:52 AM
Sep 22 15 1:28 PM
Sep 24 15 2:46 PM
Shame it's not all in one place. It could so easily have happened, and still could, given sensible co-operation between all concerned.
The Irish narrow gauge was iconic. Outside Donegal it's the same mess - Dingle, Leitrim and West Clare locos (one each) all restored at one time and none now looking likely to run again despite that. Another Leitrim engine in UFTM, with a matching coach (inaccurately restored).
A few pieces of T & D coaches in poor order at Dromod, way beyond restoration but theoretically capable of almost total rebuild.
That's really about it, I think.All the above would make a cracking Irish NG dedicated museum in its own right. But would never happen in a million years, stuff of fairytales.
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