US Army locomotive given warm 1940s welcome at County Durham museum

Staff at Locomotion, the National Railway Museum at Shildon in County Durham, greeted the new arrival with a 1940s reception

Julie Scorer on board the US Army Transportation Corps 2253 Locomotive at the National Railway Museum in Shildon, Co. Durham
Julie Scorer on board the US Army Transportation Corps 2253 Locomotive at the National Railway Museum in Shildon, Co. Durham

Recreating the atmosphere of the 1940s, this new arrival was given a welcome to remember.

Staff at Locomotion, the National Railway Museum at Shildon in County Durham, and the Aycliffe and District Bus Preservation Society welcomed the arrival of a new guest at the museum yesterday - the S160 2253, an ex US Army Transportation Corps locomotive.

Taking up home at the museum until September next year, the locomotive from the North Yorkshire Moors Railway can now be seen as a wartime train with the museum’s own warflat wagon and crusader tank.

It was met yesterday by vehicles from the 1940s and costumed drivers and personnel recreating the atmosphere of the 1940s - when the locomotive originally arrived in the UK for the first time.

It is an example of the US Army locomotives built over 70 years ago in preparation of the D-Day landings on June 6, 1944.

Pam Porter, events officer at Locomotion, said the day had been a great success.

“The event was to celebrate and welcome a new locomotive that has come to the museum for display and it is here until 2015,” she said. “We are delighted to have it here for a few months.

L-R Julie Scorer, Tracy Drinkeld, Jennifer Jennings and Vi Williams next to the US Army Transportation Corps 2253 Locomotive at Shildon
L-R Julie Scorer, Tracy Drinkeld, Jennifer Jennings and Vi Williams next to the US Army Transportation Corps 2253 Locomotive at Shildon
 

“It was a 1940s-themed welcome for it and we had fantastic weather which is always a great start. It was really nice to work with friends from the Aycliffe and District Bus Preservation Society and their contacts with military vehicles.

“It brought a great atmosphere to the museum for the morning. It is always good from the museum’s point of view to have something new to offer visitors, to share different things.

“It is nice for people to see stuff from other places. We are delighted to have it here, hopefully it is something visitors will enjoy.

“We had a really good turnout bearing in mind it was a week day in term time. People got some great pictures and we had a really good response from our visitors. They loved having the chance to see something different.”

Yesterday the wartime train met costumed members of the Aycliffe and District Bus Preservation Society and the Northern Vintage Trust along with their 1942 Double Decker bus, two examples of Willys Military Jeeps and a Humber Staff Car on the museum apron. S160 2253 was built by Baldwins in Philadelphia, USA, in 1943 and served in Europe during World War Two.

The locomotive was first shipped to England, landing in May 1943 and allocated to the LNER, shedded at Leeds Neville Hill. It worked for 15 months before being shipped to France in September 1944, and formed part of the successful war effort to liberate Europe from Nazi oppression.

It was eventually sold as part of the Marshall Plan to the PKP, Polish State Railways, where it worked successfully until 1985, when it was finally withdrawn at Olesnica works.

It was then bought by UK locomotive owning company SPS and moved to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, arriving in October 1992. It ran on the NYMR for seven years, covering 41,000 miles before boiler issues stopped the engine.

The locomotive and wartime train will remain on display at Locomotion until the end of September 2015.

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