Donegal Steam Engine to feature on RTE Nationwide

RTE Nationwide have announced that they will be broadcasting a special program on Monday night which will feature the homecoming of the famous Donegal Steam Engine, Drumboe, to the railway museum at Donegal Town.

As you may remember, history was made then when the historic Donegal Steam Engine Drumboe, returned to Donegal Town. RTE were there with their cameras to capture the historic journey stating with Drumboe being carefully lifted out of her home for the last few years at the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland, Whitehead, and placed on a low-loader for its return home. The engine was then taken on a journey up the Glenshane Pass, onto Derry, Strabane, Stranorlar and finally to Donegal Town.

Niall McCaughan, Manager at the Donegal Railway Heritage Museum stated: “It is very exciting to revisit again, the day when this famous steam engine came home; it was even more historical was the fact that this was the very last engine to operate a passenger service in the county, on the 31st December 1959, leaving Donegal Town Station for Strabane.


We had given information about the route as well as a live feed of the journey on social media, but we could not have expected the huge numbers that turned out in force along the way to cheer Drumboe home. At Strabane we stopped at the famous Tinny’s statues (and former Strabane Station site) and then through the Gap, briefly stopped at Biddy O’Barnes, before receiving a Garda escort to the Diamond in Donegal Town. A large emotional crowd assembled gave the famous engine a final applause as she parked in front of the Abbey Hotel. Later in darkness of the evening, the engine eventually made the final short journey to the station which she once left on her final passenger journey, 62 years ago! Many people came down to the museum to catch a final glimpse on the historic day.

In relation to the restoration of Drumboe herself, it was thanks to donations from across the island of Ireland and further afield, including Graham Forbes (grandson of CDR Manager Henry Forbes), The North West of Ireland Railway Society and many others, it was Donegal Local Development CLG who came in with the main part of the €100k+ project with the LEADER grant from Donegal County Council. McMullin Associates (Architects), Glebe Builders, DSM Consulting Engineers, JC Engineering as well as Project Manager Mark McDaid, brought the project together.

The RTE Nationwide programme will be broadcast on Monday, April 17 at 7pm on RTE1, and will also feature a segment on taking a journey from Belfast to Derry, which our museum have assisted with.


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