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Trains that helped to win the war to pull in the crowds; A duo of special events will be steaming into Shildon this September. Sam Wonfor reports.

Byline: Sam Wonfor

If you're looking for a little bit more steam in your life, you need look no further than Locomotion in County Durham.

The National Railway Museum at Shildon welcomes the return of its Autumn Steam Gala this month, showcasing locomotives used during the Second World War.

During the weekend of September 19 and 20, the museum will be going back in time to the 1940s.

There will be vehicles from the national collection on display, including the Green Arrow V2 Class locomotive (already resident in Shildon).

The V2 Class locomotives are famed for helping the allied forces win the Second World War. During the war the V2s proved to be reliable and fast and were able to pull long freight and express passenger trains, which were essential for keeping goods and people moving around the railway network during wartime.

Joining Green Arrow there will be a special guest from the national collection with N15 Class locomotive Sir Lamiel in steam. The N15 Class - like the V2 - were often used at the head of freight and troop trains during the conflict. WD 75254 will also be joining the displays during the event.

It is one of nearly 500 locos made for the War Department, constructed to a cheap and cheerful design with an estimated design life of two years. Many of these locomotives, including this one, were sold into industry post-war and WD 75254 ended its service life with the National Coal Board in the late 1970s before going into preservation.

The event will also be the last chance to see S160 2253 take the outdoor stage at Shildon. S160 has been on temporary display at the museum since 2014. It is an ex-US Army Transportation Corps locomotive that was built by Baldwins in Philadelphia, USA, in 1943. It is one of more than 4,000 similar locomotives built between 1943 and 1946 to serve the US Military in Europe, Africa and parts of Asia.

All of the vehicles will be displayed together on the outdoor events apron with Sir Lamiel in light steam for cab access. The event promises to be a great opportunity to enjoy the sights and sounds of the 1940s and an excellent opportunity for photographers. The UK's oldest operating steam locomotive, the Furness Railway No 20, will be giving passenger rides (for a small charge), while the historic model Orion will be in steam and there will be a visit from the Aycliffe and District Bus Preservation Society with some of its wartime vehicles.

If all that wasn't enough, there will also be a variety of trade stands throughout the weekend and a book launch event at 11am on September 19 with author George Turner Smith and his new book Thomas Hackworth: Locomotive Engineer. The book is about the man and engineer who was the lesser-known of the Hackworth brothers and worked on the Stockton and Darlington Railway alongside his brother Timothy.

A week later, on the weekend of September 26 and 27, Locomotion will welcome the Steampunk Spectacular - the very first steampunk event at Locomotion.

The event will see the return of guest locomotive Sir Lamiel in steam and visitors will be able to board the locomotives and take a ride behind a steam locomotive (for a small fee).

There will be costume-making workshops and visitors can marvel at the steampunkthemed trade stands and displays - including the Time Travelling Tea Tent.

Welding goggles, top hats, gowns, shawls, fob watches and finery are welcome - and encouraged.

Admission to the Autumn Steam Gala and the Steampunk Spectacular events is free. For more information visit, email or call or 01388 771 439.


The distinctive malachite green 30777

Locomotion is hosting two steam events in September. Pictured, 8793

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 1, 2015
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