Fermanagh and Omagh District Council PEACE IV programme Railways to the West which focusses on the Great Northern Railway which passed through villages in Mid and West Tyrone and Omagh on its journey from Portadown to Londonderry until its closure in 1965.
The programme is one of 16 projects identified in the Fermanagh and Omagh PEACE IV Local Action Plan to benefit from a total funding package of £2.8m to deliver projects across three key strands; Shared Spaces and Services, Children and Young People and Building Positive Relations at a Local Level.
The project is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Match-funding for this project has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department for Rural and Community Development in Ireland.
The initial phase of the ‘Railways to the West’ project saw over one hundred young people from these local communities participating in a number of creative summer schemes in August. The week-long arts and heritage scheme sought to engage a wide representation of young people aged 7-12 years from within local communities who bordered the route. Young people will also have an opportunity to participate in a range of trips and activities from October 2018 through to March 2019 which continue to build knowledge and interest in the old railways. These will include visits to Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, W5 and a steam train experience.
Phase 2 of ‘Railways to the West’ gave adults in local communities the opportunity to get involved in the project which recalled the rich history of the Great Northern Railway. A focus group comprising of interested members of the public undertook a series of events and activities including ‘The Sugar Train’, a short drama telling the story of the last train journey to Bundoran. As part of the programme a video was produced telling the stories of the Railways, from those who worked on it and those that lived near it.
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