Engineering firm on track to win £2m railways deal

From left, Paul Mullan, head of HLF Northern Ireland, Caroline Bell, Tourism NI project manager, Dr Joan Smyth, RPSI vice-president and Robert Mackey, managing director, MSM Contracts.

From left, Paul Mullan, head of HLF Northern Ireland, Caroline Bell, Tourism NI project manager, Dr Joan Smyth, RPSI vice-president and Robert Mackey, managing director, MSM Contracts.

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A Portadown-based building and civil engineering company has been appointed to carry out a £2m building project at The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s headquarters.

MSM Contracts won the contract, which is part of an overall £3m investment which will see the transformation of the RPSI’s base into a museum and interpretative centre.

The centre will eventually be open to the public and create a significant new tourist attraction in Whitehead.

Funding for the project has been provided by Heritage Lottery Fund and Tourism Northern Ireland (part financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for NI), with additional support from Mid and East Antrim Council and Ulster Garden Villages.

Robert Mackey, managing director of MSM Contracts, said the firm is “delighted” to have been appointed by the RPSI,

“Having completed a construction project at the Whitehead site in the 1990s, MSM are proud to be involved as main contractor on another exciting project with RPSI that will seek to preserve the history and excellence of our steam train engineering past,” said Mr Mackey.

“Our company is positive that on completion of construction works, the Whitehead Railway Centre will be a first class living engineering museum and educational facility that will complement other recent tourist attractions in the local area.”

RPSI chairman Denis Grimshaw said, “We are delighted to have reached this significant point in the Society’s development and now look forward to work proceeding rapidly on the new Whitehead Railway Centre.

MSM Contracts has already worked with the RPSI in that it built the International Fund for Ireland-backed two-track carriage shed at Whitehead back in 1992/3. Work on the latest development is due to be completed by summer 2016 - a fitting way to mark the Golden Jubilee of the Society’s arrival in Whitehead.”