Wellness is front of mind at the heart of Preston’s Docklands

15th March 2021

Times are changing at one of the UK’s best Industrial Railways. With wellness at the front of all our minds, Ribble Steam Railway and Museum (RSR&M) has a much-needed treat in store. Made possible by the National Lottery Heritage Culture Recovery Fund of £208K and the organisation’s new vision, both volunteers and visitors will start to notice some major changes at RSR&M, all designed to inspire, entertain, and inform, far and wide. A huge outdoor art mural is being painted by local artist Gavin Renshaw, our cafe is being renovated to allow for self-service to aid social distancing, we have a platform extension, new our-door spaces and a community wellness project.

Picture: 2021, Timeline Art Mural painted by local artist Gavin Renshaw.

“We have been bringing new life to our railway at a time when we appreciate people have been suffering, often at home away from loved ones. Our stunning open-air art mural will blow the cobwebs away, and an origami-inspired wellness project will start to take form in the coming months. This reimagines how our railway collections can offer wellbeing and bring hope for all ages. This includes designing new outdoor and online spaces where we can safely gather together and reconnect. A place where volunteers and visitors can share their journey and form a community, sharing thoughts and feelings about their lives during a pandemic. We want to reach out to share our love of industrial railways and rich tradition of preservation in new ways that reflect the times we live in. We are gradually encouraging volunteers back safely, so they can help us to re-open in accordance with government guidelines.” – Dave Watkins (Chairman of RSR&M)

“Having been with the organization since 2016, I’ve seen a massive cultural shift, and have seen how our community is changing. I never would have thought we would be looking at a wellness project but it just shows the growth the organisation has gone through. The National Lottery Heritage Fund grant has definitely helped. It has allowed us to bring new staff in and engage with our community in ways we have never been capable to do before. It’s amazing to be a part of this feel-good change at Ribble Steam Railway and Museum.”– Maisy Davies (Front of House Manager RSR&M)


Picture: (DATE), first locomotive (Gradwell) sister locomotive to St Monans in our museum. This is pictured on the Whittingham Hospital Railway line with the railway station pictured in the far right.

“Extensive research has been made to build upon our existing displays. The St. Monan’s locomotive and Whittingham Hospital displays will bring focus on the history of mental health treatment in England, linking to our new aims to increase education on wellness and wellbeing in our collection. A new interactive exhibit on our Travelling Post Office (TPO) carriage will highlight the importance of communication and reaching out to others through writing. Future articles and information will adopt a more inclusive, transformative, and empathetic understanding of our collection and how it relates to the world around us. The result will be informative and exciting descriptions of Preston’s local history that facilitates a reflective and thought-provoking experience for our visitors.” – Adam Robinson (Research and Interpretation Assistant RSR&M)


Ribble Steam Railway and Museum offers a memorable experience of Lancashire’s world-famous industrial heritage in the heart of Preston’s historic docklands. The museum houses one of the biggest industrial locomotive collections in the country, detailing the history of Preston docks, and the story of the first electric trains. Preston, close to the docks, had a key role in designing and building trains that were exported both nationally and internationally. Ribble Steam Railway and Museum makes an exciting day out and provides a full sensory experience of a working railway. Discover the history of Preston’s docks, then hop aboard a steam or diesel train to travel the railway’s 1.5-mile Dock and Riverside Line. The railway uncovers a hidden part of the city as the line passes Preston Marina and ventures over its impressive swing bridge.

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