Building and Civil Engineering Contractors

RPSI Whitehead Railway Museum

Railway Preservation Society of Ireland

11 months

£2m – £3m

Castleview Road, Whitehead, Co Antrim

Architect: Ostick + Williams
Structural Engineer: RPS Group
M&E Engineer: TÜV SÜD Wallace Whittle
Quantity Surveyor: Edmond Shipway

This project involved major construction works to develop the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland site at Whitehead, Co. Antrim into a visitor-friendly steam railway living museum. Construction works were carried out throughout the 11-month contract within a live environment to enable preservation works by the RPSI to remain ongoing.

Works were carried out over a number of concurrent phases, including:

• Signal building: this period-style building was constructed to a similar design to the existing main station building and was accessible by ramp and stairs. The building was constructed with red clay facing brick, natural slate roofing with a feature chimney, painted timber windows, feature timber gallow brackets, timber fascia, soffit and redwood cladding. An underground signal box controls duct connected the signal box lever set to the tracks.

• Exhibition building: an existing stables building was converted into an exhibition building. The building envelope involved remedial works to the building fabric, new hardwood sliding sash windows, hardwood doors and construction of a lean-to canopy over the entrance door. The internal floor space was fitted out to provide an education/display area, an open display area and welfare accommodation.

• Extension to carriage shed: enabling works were completed before constructing the 1,600m2 steel portal frame extension on piled foundations. The in-situ concrete ground floor slab incorporated railway track and a 25m long watertight inspection pit. The building envelope combined composite roof and wall cladding, facing brick, steel doors and roller shutters.

• Extension to locomotive workshop: this two-storey 930m2 steel-framed extension required the demolition of the existing foundry before construction could commence. The building envelope comprised composite roof and wall cladding, facing brick, an entrance canopy, PPC aluminium windows and doors. A first floor viewing gallery over the locomotive workshop was provided and a complete interior fit-out of visitor areas was carried out.

• Siteworks:
- construction of a 20m diameter reinforced concrete turntable
- roads, designated pathways and concrete hardstandings
- gabion retaining walls, reinforced concrete retaining walls and bunkers
- perimeter fencing and gates

Project funding was provided namely by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Tourism NI, with support from Mid and East Antrim Council and Ulster Garden Villages.