County Durham museum celebrates 10th birthday with steam weekend

Locomotion, the National Railway Museum at Shildon, is hosting two days of events as part of its Steam Gala

Anthony Coulls and Matt Healey drive a replica Rocket steam engine train at Locomotion in Shildon, ahead of the Steam Gala this weekend
Anthony Coulls and Matt Healey drive a replica Rocket steam engine train at Locomotion in Shildon, ahead of the Steam Gala this weekend

Thousands of classic railway fans are set to turn out as Locomotion - the National Railway Museum at Shildon - celebrates it’s tenth birthday.

After days of preparation today its full steam ahead for the attraction’s Steam Gala - with a host of “returning friends” making the trip to delight visitors.

“The Steam Gala is always one of our most exciting events and one that everyone enjoys,” said events officer Pam Porter. “And with it being our 10th anniversary it makes it extra special.

“Five engines - Furness Railway no. 20, the oldest standard gauge train still operating in the UK; Kitson A no. five, from the Stephenson Museum; Hawthorne Leslie no. two, from Tanfield Railway; Bellerophon, from Foxfield Railway; and a working replica of Stephenson’s Rocket, from the National Railway Museum in York - will be in steam all weekend.

“All of them have connections with the museum, so it’ll be like old friends returning.”

Steam engine trains at Locomotion in Shildon, ahead of the Steam Gala this weekend
Steam engine trains at Locomotion in Shildon, ahead of the Steam Gala this weekend
 

Back in 2004 the museum breathed new life into a derelict site in Shildon, County Durham after a partnership between the former Sedgefield Borough Council - now Durham County Council - and the National Railway Museum created the first national museum in the North East.

“We’ll be running passenger services all weekend,” said Pam, “And as it’s our 10th anniversary they will be free.

“There will also be opportunities to see the cabs of engines in light steam, to get to the footplate and see the fire and feel the heat, which is not something you can normally do.

“Inside the main building there will be a lot of stands and displays from heritage groups, while we’ll also have a miniature railway, a fairground organ and other stalls.

“Hopefully the weather will be nice, but even if it is not there is plenty to do inside.”

Locomotion’s Steam Gala takes place on Saturday 20 and Sunday September 21, from 10am to 5pm.

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