Whitehead Railway Museum played host to the centenary celebrations of No. 3BG Guinness steam locomotive last weekend. Hundreds of people joined the party to mark the momentous occasion and as the sun shone, the No. 3BG spent the afternoon happily operating train rides up and down the tracks for guests.
The 1919 engine, appropriately named after Arthur Guinness, was built to shunt wagons between the famous Guinness Brewery at St. James’ Gate in Dublin and the nearby Kingsbridge (now Heuston) station. When Guinness closed its broad gauge line in May 1965, No. 3BG became the RPSI’s first locomotive.
The birthday bash was a real family affair, as party-goers enjoyed face-painting, balloon modelling, train rides and of course birthday cake. The cake was cut by RPSI chairman John McKegney, along with Jacob Linton (7) and Freya Fenton (5), winner and runner-up respectively of a colouring-in competition run by the Museum in conjunction with their school, Whitehead Primary School.
Also present was former RPSI chairman John Harcourt who was among those who negotiated the original arrangement for No. 3BG to be presented to the RPSI.
The Museum’s Edwardian Tea Room was bustling with guests throughout the day, becoming the busiest day since opening in 2017, proving to be a real asset for the tourist attraction.
Pop up plays performed by The Big Telly Theatre Company brought one of the dining cars to life as guests were transported back in time to the 1930’s. The performances were a taster of the play being put on at the museum by the theatre company on May 24 and 25 as part of the National Heritage Lottery Funded programme, Shaped by Industry – Shared with Pride.
Siobhan Dillon, Acting General Manager of Whitehead Railway Museum said, “The celebrations were fantastic and a true reflection of what the Museum is; full of fun, exploration and historical charm. The Guinness Engine is just one example of the fantastic restoration works carried out by skilled volunteers and engineers on site. We have many more engines on display to allow our guests to get up close and admire the giants of steam! We are now looking forward to our next festivities as we mark the Easter holidays and we are delighted to be opening on additional days including Easter Monday and Easter Tuesday.”
For more information about events and special open times visit: https://www.steamtrainsireland.com/museum-tickets