Whitehead Railway Museum has been put firmly on track on its journey to further success as one of Northern Ireland’s top heritage sites.
Thanks to funding from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, the museum has been given the green signal to retain its status as a member of the European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH).
The network features a number of heritage sites across 47 European countries, and Whitehead Railway Museum joins the Heritage Hub at Carnlough Town Hall as members, helping to put the borough on the world tourism stage.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr William McCaughey said: “Mid and East Antrim has a rich and varied industrial past and I’m delighted that council is working together with these industrial attractions to present that heritage to bigger and more varied audience.
“The ERIH membership will act as a further promotional boost to the Railway Museum and create the opportunity for volunteers to network together with other sites, develop audiences and further enhance a tourism product that takes advantage of its prime location on the world famous Causeway Coastal Route.
“This shared learning is vital to maintaining tourism footfall to areas steeped in heritage and this network will help them shout about it, putting Mid and East Antrim on the map as a key heritage destination.”
Based in Germany, ERIH support the development of industrial heritage and cultural tourism across Europe with localised National Coordinators looking after member interests.
Dr Joan Smyth, the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland President said: “We are most grateful to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council for its continued support. Industrial heritage tourism is a growing sector and our involvement with ERIH raises our profile across the important European market.
“Our membership of ERIH gives Whitehead Railway Museum a global profile to those interested in industrial heritage tourism and already we have had international visitors who have been signposted to the museum thanks to our ERIH membership status.
“The museum has also benefitted by sharing experiences with other industrial heritage museums throughout Europe, which has been enormously beneficial, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This membership bolsters our vision for growth and we are looking to the future by exploring the creation of heritage trails with other nearby sites along the Causeway Coastal Route area.”
ERIH is based in Germany and has national representatives in England, Scotland and Wales. It is funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.
To book your visit to Whitehead Railway Museum go to www.steamtrainsireland.com