Ravenglass Railway Museum re-opens after redevelopment
In June 2017, the Ravenglass Railway Museum will officially open to the public after undergoing a two-year, Heritage Lottery-funded redevelopment. Built on the site of Ravenglass Station, in the west of Cumbria, the new train-shed extension will double the previous museum’s footprint and create a new museum experience.
The museum owns more than 6,000 objects ranging from 15-inch gauge locomotives and rolling stock through to uniforms, photographs and historic engineering, and the new development will see these artefacts come to life with interactive exhibitions allowing visitors to not only see the heritage steam locomotives, but to watch how they work, and sit in the driving seat as well.
“We’re excited for the public to see everything we’ve been working on,” says David Rounce, project and activities manager, Ravenglass Railway Museum. “The museum relies entirely on volunteers and over the last year they have worked extensively to restore the stock, much of which is over 100 years old, to make sure it is in working order and in exhibition condition.”
A star attraction will be the steam locomotive ‘Katie’ which ran at Ravenglass in 1916 and has been restored to working condition for the first time since the 1920s.
Exhibits include a collection of locomotives and rolling stock spanning the line’s opening in 1875 to the present day, including an interactive steam engine exhibit that visitors can operate themselves. There are also models and objects telling the story of the line’s industrial past as well as the daily life of workers on the railway including their uniforms, ‘bait’ boxes and games to determine if the visitors would be suited to the job.
Located in the only coastal village in the Lake District, Ravenglass Station is also home to the Ravenglass and Eskdale Stream Railway, or ‘La’al Ratty’ as it’s known locally; a seven-mile tourist attraction traveling through the Eskdale Valley.
“As well as attracting tourists from ‘La’al Ratty’ to the museum, we hope it will become something of a community focal point through a programme of changing, community-led, exhibitions, and a range of curriculum-linked resources for schools are being developed to educate local children about the technology and history not only of the railway, but also life and industry in the area,” adds Rounce.
The museum will be open whenever the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway is running, including every day in the summer season.