Step back in time on a steam train from Portrush

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The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland will be offering the holidaymakers and people of Portrush the opportunity to travel on a unique and stylish excursion to Coleraine this Sunday 10th August.

Passengers can travel in vintage carriages from the 1960’s and 1970’s behind the beautifully restored blue locomotive “Merlin”. Merlin was re-launched this year at the end of a 10 year overhaul carried out at the workshops of the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland. This is his first year of travelling to Portrush since 2004.

Railway Preservation Society of Ireland Operations Officer Mervyn Darragh explained “We are pleased to be able to share our wonderful steam train with the Portrush area again. These trains are the high point of our year of events. We’ve called this local excursion the “Coleraine Coaster” and we love to see the passengers on the train waving at the holidaymakers on the beach as we leave Portrush and weave along the coast.

“Each train will offer passengers travel in lovingly restored carriages, the opportunity for children (and more nostalgic adults) to get close to the steam engine and talk to the driver and fireman, and a relaxing journey through the North Antrim countryside to Coleraine and back. We’ll be operating this train on 10th August, again on 31st August and a final time on 14th September.

“We always enjoy helping the public and especially children get closer to the industrial heritage we maintain. A steam train just oozes atmosphere and we would especially appreciate the public sending us drawings, notes or poems about their day out on the steam train for posting on our website.

The RPSI is celebrating 50 years since it’s foundation in 1964. Since then the group have built workshops and a base in Whitehead and in Dublin and operate steam trains from both places all over Ireland, North and South. Restoration and preparation of the trains is entirely managed by and, largely carried out by, volunteers.

The “Coleraine Coaster” steam train departs Portrush at 1420 sharp on 10th and 31st August and 14th September. All tickets cost just £5 for a return excursion of 1 and ¾ hours.

Tickets can be purchased in advance by telephone or call-and-collect from Belfast Welcome Centre, tel 028 9024 6609 or online from www.steamtrainsireland.com. Any tickets not sold in advance will be available for purchase onboard the steam train.