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.
* £60 would help buy enough coal to run a steam engine for an
* £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
Us Get Steamed Up!
"TWENTY FOR THE TANK ENGINE"?
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.
YOUR support to help raise the funds to do this.
steam engine as we received it - SCRAP!
Dismantling work continues in the 1990s
work in the 1990s
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.
out more about our Sugarpuffs here
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.
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.
whatever you can - we're suggesting £20, but it can be as
little or as much as you want.
the form here
online via Paypal (please fill out a separate gift-aid
to Help the Railway
Donating Funds to the Railway
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.
a Regular Donation
To set up a standing order to make a regular donation
in support of the Museum, please contact our secretary,
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 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
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
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
Downpatrick & County Down Railway
Northern Ireland, UK
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
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
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.
time - Become a Volunteer
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.
able to give some time to the Railway? Each day brings new and
exciting challenges, with very diverse opportunities, including:
staff (Guards, firemen, drivers, etc.)
much, much more!
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
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!
or Loan an Object or Collection
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.
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
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.
I donate an Artefact or Collection to the Museum?
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:
in an appropriate environment
for the future
for education and enjoyment
owned, items are often eventually:
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.
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
honoured to acknowledge the very generous donation of Mr. Drew
Sucksmith, who recently passed away. Our thoughts are with his
family and friends.
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.
package can be any size and can be goods or services as well
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.