Robert Stephenson locomotive to go on show at Stephenson Railway Museum

THE last surviving locomotive of a type designed by railway genius Robert Stephenson is go on show at a Tyneside museum.

Engine A No 5

THE last surviving locomotive of a type designed by railway genius Robert Stephenson is go on show at a Tyneside museum.

Engine A No 5 has been in storage for the last five years at the Stephenson Railway Museum in Middle Engine Lane, near Silverlink in North Shields.

The engine had been used on the museum’s passenger line but because of its historic importance it will now return after refurbishment as a permanent exhibit.

The museum opens to the public for a new season on March 31.

The locomotive was built in 1883 to Robert Stephenson’s “long boiler” design. This increased boiler size, so that more steam could be generated from its coal, but without lengthening the locomotive.

This made the locomotives popular in the North East due to their ability to travel along sharp curves in collieries and others works sites.

No 5 was owned by the Consett Iron Company which, in addition to its steelworks, also ran collieries and cokeworks.

The locomotive worked at the Consett company’s Derwenthaugh coke works in Gateshead and was finally pensioned off in 1968.

It was acquired by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums from Beamish Museum in 1985. Volunteers and members of North Tyneside Steam Railway Association spent 10 years restoring the engine.

Geoff Woodward, manager for North Tyneside Museums, said: “It’s always very exciting to see our locomotives painstakingly restored to their former glory by our dedicated team of volunteers.

“Steam engine A No. 5 is an important and attractive engine and I’m delighted that our visitors will now be able to see it in all its splendour at the museum.”

It will join the locomotive named after Newcastle United legend Jackie Milburn, which will pull the regular Sunday steam passenger trips from the museum to Percy Main from April to the end of October.

A fundraising appeal was launched by Jack Milburn, Jackie Milburn’s son, to raise £138,000 to restore the engine, which started work at Ashington colliery in 1939. Volunteers spent four years on the project.

Also on show is Killingworth Billy, one of only five survivors that pre-date George and Robert Stephenson’s Rocket.

Billy was built in 1826 as a development of George Stephenson’s Killingworth Travelling Engine and was probably the first commercially successful form of locomotive.

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