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Supporting the Railway

Accredited MuseumThe Downpatrick & County Down Railway Society is a not-for-profit registered museum and charity run by volunteers. We rely on the fares from operating days and the subscriptions from our members and public donations to enable us to preserve and restore Northern Ireland's railway heritage.

For example:
* 60 would help buy enough coal to run a steam engine for an afternoon
* 200 would buy enough paint to repaint several carriages/locomotives
* 1000 would buy new seats for the station platform for people to sit down while waiting for the train
* 2000 would provide promotional materials for a year
* 5-10,000 would provide the funds to completely restore an historic vintage railway carriage

Help Us Get Steamed Up!


Our steam engine has run out of 'puff' and needs major work to get it running again, and its replacement will cost
if we are to get in service for summer.

To get BOTH back into service, and to keep steam alive in County Down we need to spend £25,000 to finish the overhauls.

We need YOUR support to help raise the funds to do this.

Our steam engine as we received it - SCRAP!
Dismantling work continues in the 1990s
Our steam engine as we received it - SCRAP!
Dismantling work continues in the 1990s
More work in the 1990s
The side tanks are built, but still a lot of work
More work in the 1990s
The side tanks are built, but still a lot of work

In the 1980s when we took delivery of our two steam locos - nicknamed the "Sugarpuffs" because they used to work in the Sugar Factories in the Republic of Ireland, they were scrap. And we mean put your finger through them. They'd lain out in the open for the guts of 20 years and the weather had taken its toll.

Find out more about our Sugarpuffs here

We've been working on getting them back in working order since then. No. 3 was in better order, and she returned to steam in 2000 thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant. Further cross-border grant-aid sped up No. 1, but we have to come up with the rest ourselves.

YOU can help make 2012 the first time No. 1 steams in over FORTY YEARS

No. 3 has served us faithfully over the last decade, but has come to the end of her boiler "ticket", it's a legal requirement that all steam engines have to go through, which means she must be stripped down and the boiler lifted out for a full inspection and repair if necessary.

Please donate whatever you can - we're suggesting £20, but it can be as little or as much as you want.

Download the form here

or donate online via Paypal (please fill out a separate gift-aid declaration form)


Ways to Help the Railway

Arrow Join the Society
Arrow Donate Funds to the Railway
Arrow Questions About Donating
Arrow Donate Your Time - Become a Volunteer
Arrow Donate or Loan an Object or Collection
Arrow Remembering us in your will
Arrow Corporate sponsorship






Donating Funds to the Railway

PayPal Logo

General Donation

Small Items Fund

SLNCR 'B' Fund

ArrowMaking a Single Donation
You can make secure donations online to the Downpatrick & County Down Railway for the upkeep of the railway and vehicles using your credit card, via PayPal. To make a donation, simply click the 'Make a Donation' button in the General Donations box on the right. Your transaction will be completed at the PayPal Secure website.

ArrowMaking a Regular Donation
To set up a standing order to make a regular donation in support of the Museum, please contact our secretary, Patricia.

ArrowMaking a Donation for a Specific Area of the Railway's Work
Two specific areas that you can donate directly to are our Small Items Fund - set up to acquire BCDR artefacts that appear on the open market to secure them for public display in our museum, and our appeal for the restoration of the Sligo, Leitrim & Northern Counties Railway's Railcar B. Even with grant aid - should we be successful in acquiring it - we will still need to raise a significant proportion of the funds ourselves.

To donate to either of these funds, simply click the appropriate "Make a Donation" button in the box on the right hand side. If you wish to support a particular area of our activities not listed here, you can contact us before making your donation so that we can discuss it with you.

UK tax-payers, please note that we can claim gift-aid on your donation and increase its value by almost 30%. To help us in this way, please fill in and post us this gift-aid declaration form either after you've made your donation or with it (Adobe Acrobat required).

If you do not have a credit card, you can still donate by cheque or postal order, made payable to 'Downpatrick & County Down Railway' to the address below. Please include a covering letter including your name and address and if the donation is towards anything in particular.

The Secretary
Downpatrick & County Down Railway
Market Street
County Down
BT30 6LZ
Northern Ireland, UK


Why should I donate to the DCDR?
We are the only broad gauge (5ft 3in) preserved railway in Ireland, as all other lines are narrow gauge. We depend on public support and appeal for new members too. You will be helping to support an absolutely unique volunteer-run railway, and making a donation provides you with an opportunity to help preserve our railway heritage if you can't become involved in a practical way, as well as allowing you to help fund some project that you have a particular interest in.

What will happen to my donation?
It will be used to help restore our unique collection of historic railway vehicles - you can see in this before and after image of BCDR carriage No. 148 what a difference this can make. As a society open to membership from the public, our members receive detailed information on our accounts at our AGM, so if you join you can see what your money is being spent on.

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Donate time - Become a Volunteer

The generous support of volunteers from the local community is how the railway was established and is run. We are committed to preserving Northern Ireland's railway past. This includes caring for one-hundred year old carriages and locomotives, all of which are restored to operational condition by our volunteers.

Are you able to give some time to the Railway? Each day brings new and exciting challenges, with very diverse opportunities, including:

Arrow Tour Guide
Arrow Track Laying
Arrow Fundraising
Arrow Train staff (Guards, firemen, drivers, etc.)
Arrow Woodwork/Metal work
Arrow Platform staff
Arrow Signals and Telegraph
and much, much more!

Everyone is welcome, regardless of age, gender, interests or abilities. You don't need to have any experience on the railways or any trade. If you have any prior skills in any of these fields, or are interested in working in particular area, check out the About Us page for a list of the current Heads of Department and introduce yourself to them - this will make it easier for you to be placed. You're also free to try you hand at different aspects of railway work - many of us are "jacks-of-all-trades" and can be working on coaches one day, locos the next and serving in the Buffet carriage on another day!

So whether you are a student, unemployed, retired or simply have a couple of hours spare on Wednesdays or Saturdays, just bring yourself along - you're guaranteed a warm welcome!

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Donate or Loan an Object or Collection

The railway is a fully registered museum and is actively collecting historical objects and photographs relating directly to the Belfast & County Down Railway. Items from Northern Ireland's other railways can be accepted on their individual merits. We have always benefited greatly from donations by the railway's many friends and supporters, as well as the families of former BCDR employees.

In many instances we have heard of former employees who have passed away and discovered that many of their photographs and personal items from their time on the railway have been binned - and it's only later that their relatives realise what a tragedy this was.

If you have an object, photograph or collection, or know someone who has, that you feel would be of interest to the railway, we would be happy to discuss this with you. For personal photographs of family members, we are also perfectly willing to take copies of them and return the originals to you.

In the first instance we suggest that you contact us with brief details of the object or collection. Our specialist curator will then be able to advise you on what to do next, and can arrange to view or collect the item(s) where appropriate.

Why should I donate an Artefact or Collection to the Museum?
Donating a BCDR artefact to the railway ensures that it will be preserved for future generations to enjoy. Objects from our collection will be exhibited to the public. History was not meant to be buried in a basement or hidden in an attic. The past should be shared, not hoarded away.

In a registered museum, your items will be:

Arrow Stored in an appropriate environment
Arrow Preserved for the future
Arrow Available for education and enjoyment

Privately owned, items are often eventually:

Arrow Thrown away
Arrow Sold
Arrow Damaged
Arrow Destroyed

What if I want to keep my original item, but share it, too?
The railway is happy to accept photocopies or scanned images of any paper items or photographs with a connection to the Belfast & County Down Railway. Copies can be made by yourself or the relevant person at the railway.

All donors must sign a donor agreement form. The railway reserves the right to process, arrange, and provide access to all gifts in a manner consistent with its established policies, or to return or send to another museum items that do not conform to the selection policy for the Local History Collection. The railway cannot appraise gifts.

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A Gift in your Will

The Downpatrick & County Down Railway's charitable status means that the value of any gift made to the museum in your will is deducted before inheritance tax. If you are interested in making a legacy in favour of a particular area of the railway's work or wish to leave an object to collections we would be happy to discuss your wishes with you.

A suitable format would be: "I give to the Downpatrick & County Down Railway Society, Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland, for the general charitable purpose of the Society (for a legacy) the sum of ..... pounds (for a gift of net residue) the net residue of my estate absolutely (or for a gift of share of residue) a ..... part of the net residue of my estate absolutely, and I declare that the receipt of the Treasurer for the time being of the said Society shall be a good and sufficient discharge of the same."

If you are interested in making a legacy in favour of a particular area of the railway's work or wish to leave an object to collections we would be happy to discuss your wishes with you. Please contact our Secretary, (tel: 077 9080 2049)

We are honoured to acknowledge the very generous donation of Mr. Drew Sucksmith, who recently passed away. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

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Corporate Sponsorship

The railway is keen to explore ways of building new partnerships with businesses and other organisations, whether local, cross-border, national or international, who feel that their philosophy is in line with our aims.

A sponsorship package can be any size and can be goods or services as well as financial.

Businesses that have sponsored the railway in recent times include Forestwood Agencies for donating wood for the creation of a replica traditional railway booking office, PL Classic Framing in Downpatrick for photograph mounts for BCDR carriage No. 148, Mercado Floor Sales for linoleum for carriages, Easons for shop shelving, counter and the use of their old name in our foyer, Bill Hastings of Hastings Hotels for the purchase of an underframe for the BCDR Royal Saloon.

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Thank you for supporting the Downpatrick & County Down Railway!

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