Rail vehicles assembled for Europes biggest display

Rail vehicles assembled for ‘Europe’s biggest display’

Dozens of rail vehicles have been assembled at a museum in County Durham for what curators claim will be the biggest display of its kind in Europe.

Locomotion announced it has completed the movement of 46 vehicles into a new £8 million New Hall building at its site in Shildon.

These include steam locomotives, hand-powered track inspection machines, freight wagons, snow ploughs and an armoured vehicle on tracks.

Filling New Hall involved a complex four-week operation.

Combined with what was already at Locomotion, this brings the site’s total number of vehicles to 99.

The museum said that is more than any other indoor display in Europe.

Locomotion is built close to the site of Shildon Works, a thriving railway workshop once employing thousands of people which closed in June 1984.

Sarah Price, head of the museum, described its new building as “magnificent”.

She said: “New Hall effectively doubles the size of Locomotion and gives us much needed covered display space to help conserve the collection, as well as giving visitors the chance to find out more about the railways and the North East’s railway heritage.

“I hope the significant regeneration at Locomotion can draw even more people to visit the museum and the region as part of the national Railway 200 celebrations and beyond.”

Next year marks the 200th anniversary of the world’s first passenger train, which was hauled by George Stephenson’s steam locomotive Locomotion No.1 along the Stockton and Darlington Railway.

Elizabeth Scott, cabinet member for economy and partnerships at Durham County Council, said: “It’s really exciting knowing New Hall is getting closer to opening and to housing Europe’s biggest undercover display of historic rail vehicles.

“We were delighted to be able to provide funding for this project, which will let many more people know the significance of Shildon as the starting point of the world’s first steam locomotive-powered passenger journey, further raising Durham’s profile nationally and internationally as the Culture County.

“Locomotion is already one of County Durham and the North East’s biggest visitor attractions, putting smiles on faces and delivering significant economic benefits.

“We look forward to New Hall adding to the museum’s offer and to it being at the heart of celebrations of both 20 years of the museum and 200 years since the opening of the Stockton and Darlington Railway.”

New Hall will open to the public on May 24.

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