RPSI shortlisted for Heritage Railway Association Awards

A French TV crew carries out an interview with Whitehead-based volunteer Chris Ragg during a servicing stop at Killarney on the 2018 Two-Day tour.
A French TV crew carries out an interview with Whitehead-based volunteer Chris Ragg during a servicing stop at Killarney on the 2018 Two-Day tour.

The Whitehead-based Railway Preservation Society of Ireland has been shortlisted in the annual UK Heritage Railway Association awards.

The RPSI’s nomination is for 'Fifty Years of the Two-Day Tour' – the Society's annual May weekend tour which first ran in 1968.

Railway enthusiasts strain to get the best shot of Whitehead-based steam engine No. 4 during its visit to Killarney in May 2108.

Railway enthusiasts strain to get the best shot of Whitehead-based steam engine No. 4 during its visit to Killarney in May 2108.

The RPSI is one of the finalists for the prestigious 2020 Special Events Award, with the winner due to be named at the HRA ceremony in Birmingham on February 8.

John McKegney, RPSI chairman, said: “We are delighted to have been shortlisted and are pleased that the Society’s achievement of running the two-day tour year in, year out, has been recognised.

“We know there is hot competition in this sector but we believe we are in with a shout.”

The RPSI began its annual weekend tour in September 1968 and has operated the trip every year since then – except for 1972 when civil unrest was at its height on the streets of Belfast.

Over the years the two-day tour – which nowadays extends to six days – has covered every section of the Irish rail network and the operation has involved all the RPSI’s operational mainline steam engines.

The tour usually involves a marathon steam train trip from Whitehead and destinations have ranged from Killarney to Cork, and Westport to Sligo.

The rail tour is always popular with railway enthusiasts from Britain and further afield.

In 2020, the May tour is due to operate over the weekend of May 9/10.

The RPSI operates Whitehead Railway Museum which is open every week from Thursday to Saturday.

For further details about the RPSI and Whitehead Railway Museum, please check out www.steamtrainsireland.com