Locomotion ~ December 2022

I know last week I said I’d be posting the photos of the old gun battery which Sophie and I visited after Alnwick, but I’m saving them for Film Friday as they were all taken on the Contax. Instead, ths week I’m posting our trip to a train museum called Locomotion, in Shildon, which we visited after going to the Spanish Gallery in Bishop Auckland. I did take pictures at the gallery too though struggled with the lighting, and it was cool to see the Salvador Dali Christ of Saint John of the Cross, on loan from Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum Glasgow, in the same room as El Greco’s Christ on a cross. If you really are interested in 16/7th C Spanish art and religious iconography, there’s my gallery of less than great photos in the link HERE.

And so, Choo~choo! on with the trains!

The History Bit ☕️ 🍪

Shildon. An unassuming little town, (pop. about 9,900) I’ve visited a few times in the past for hearing aid purposes, and never knew that in the 1820s, the new Stockton & Darlington Railway (S&DR) chose the town for its engineering headquarters. Shildon became known as the ‘Cradle of the Railways’ and the world’s first true railway town, when on 27 September 1825 George Stephenson’s Locomotion set off from outside the Mason’s Arms public house, hauling the first passenger train to Stockton.You could say that the Mason’s Arms could be classified as the world’s first railway station. In the early stages of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, tickets were sold at the bar. Between 1833 and 1841 the company hired a room in the pub for use as a booking office.

A chap from Shildon, Timothy Hackworth, was recruited by George Stephenson in 1824 and put in charge of building locomotives for the company, becoming superintendant in 1825. He also established his own company, the Soho Locomotive Building Company, and worked alongside the S&DR. In 1855, Hackworth having gone to the Great Railway Station in the Sky, the Soho Works were bought by the S& DR, merging with the North Eastern Railway in 1863. Locomotive production was shifted to their North Road Works in Darlington. The Shildon Works continued but focus was shifted to the construction of waggons.

It did suffer from industrial action when a strike in 1911 kicked off. The Govt sent in the Army (a bad habit they’ve got as they’re still using them to break strikes today) A driver of a mineral train was stoned and dragged from his engine then pursued by an angry mob and had to be rescued by soldiers so maybe he was happy they were there. Mineral wagons had their bottom doors undone and the contents allowed to fall out. Wagons in the sidings had their brakes undone and freewheeled for miles, railway signal cables were damaged and the cavalry had to be called. At one stage soldiers had to mount a Bayonet charge to clear a bridge. They certainly knew how to strike back then, none of this namby pamby placard carrying outside the workplace!

By 1926 and at its height, the Shildon Wagon Works was the largest in Europe and the massive infrastructure of sidings that supported the works was the largest in the world employing 2,600 people. But all good things come to an end, and in the 1930’s the London and North Eastern Railway Company had decided to concentrate their operations to Darlington. The Soho works laid derelict since the 1940s and were scheduled for demolition in the 1970s, however, the buildings were saved when they were restored and opened to the public as part of the Timothy Hackworth Museum.

The Locomotion Museum, incorporating the existing Timothy Hackworth Museum and part of the National Railway Museum in York, was opened on Friday 22 October 2004. The new museum came about as part of a £70 million government funding arrangement for museums across the country. The project received £2 million from the European Regional Development Fund along with grant aid from a number of groups. The museum hoped to attract 60,000 visitors in the first year but had 70,000 visitors in the first two months

Lastly, an inspired piece of journalism from The Northern Echo newspaper on the advent of the 50th anniverary of the railway in 1855, that made me laugh ~ ‘Shildon is one of the ugliest places on the earth’s fair surface. It was once a swamp, the malaria from which laid many of its early inhabitants low with fever. It is now a hideous congerie of houses, growing like fungus on either side of a network of rails. A huge colliery rears its ungainly head close to the rails, and the noise of its working ceases not for ever. Engines are plying about with restless activity, like spiders running along the threads of their nets seeking for hapless flies’.

They don’t write’em like that anymore!

OK, edumacation over, let’s do some pics.

Steam locomotive, Southern Railway, Battle of Britain class 4-6-2 No 34051 “Winston Churchill”, designed by O.V. Bulleid, built at Brighton in 1946, withdrawn in 1965.
After Winston Churchill’s state funeral on 30th January 1965 the locomotive hauled the funeral train. Thousands lined the trackside to watch as the train pass. More Info HERE
Diesel-electric locomotive, prototype English Electric 3300HP “Deltic”, 1955, BR number ‘DP1″ Deltic was withdrawn in March 1961 after failing in service. In April 1963 it was presented to the Science Museum and was then transferred to the National Railway Museum in 1993. Though this one’s a prototype 22 locomotives were built in 1961–2 to take over from steam on express trains such as The Flying Scotsman and to offer the first services regularly running at 100mph. More info HERE
Snow plough, North Eastern Railway, No DE900566, 1891. The first NER snowplough was built in 1887 and, despite an accident in 1888 where a plough train upended a locomotive at Annitsford, 23 more were made. All 24 were made of wood except the final two, which were metal.
Railway carriage, London & North Western Railway, Queen Alexandra’s Saloon, No 801, built in 1902.
Internally, the arrangments included a day saloon, two dressing rooms, a bedroom, lavatory, and two vestibules at each end. When the carriage was first built there were two beds, the second being for Queen Alexandra’s daughter the Princess Victoria.
Royal knobs.

You are not allowed to go inside so the first 2 were taken with my iPhone stuck on the window, the website lets you use their shots so here are 2 of the inside, taken inside.

The North British Railway, one of Scotland’s major railways, operated the branch extending from Carlisle to Silloth and its sub-branch to Port Carlisle. Freight services on the latter branch were discontinued as early as 1899, but a horse-drawn passenger service instituted in 1863 remained until early 1914, when it was finally superseded by steam. Known as Dandy Cars, this one was made in 1856 and designed like a stagecoach. First and second class travellers would sit inside, and third class passengers would sit on the benches outside. 😳
Steam locomotive, remains of Timothy Hackworth’s 0-4-0 locomotive “Sans Pareil”. More info HERE
Fire Engine 1880 ~ Gateshead Railway Works

Royal Mail carriage.

 

Those are the highlights, more trains and details in my album HERE for any ferroequinologists out there
and the Locomotion Website can be accessed HERE.

It’s a nicely done museum, free to get in though they do like a donation if you can. The café is fine, usual stuff, hot and cold drinks, soup and roll, jacket potato, pasties, toasties, paninis at reasonable prices. We would have liked to go inside the Royal Train, but that doesn’t ever happen, and I do understand, everyone would want to get in and everyone mostly had little kids with them! There were lots of information boards and videos and we really enjoyed it and learned a lot, in spite of neither of us being really interested in trains!

Stay tooned peeps!

😊

46 thoughts on “Locomotion ~ December 2022

  1. I think there’s an error in the main paragraph about Timothy Hackworth, as he died before he was appointed.

    When I was living in Berlin, I visited the transport museum there. I was surprised by how many of the early locomotives used in Germany had been built here.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Cheers April, fixed the error thanks. Germany invented waggonways back in 16thC but with horse drawn carriage ways, but steam trains are an English thing, driven by the need to transport coal, with Wylam Colliery employing Stephenson, Hackworth et all to do the biz.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I had the main CN freight line cutting through the farm I used to live on. Got used to trains going through to the point where I never even noticed them. Passenger rail in Canada is a total effing joke. I don’t know why we can’t have good rail service, especially on main corridors like Windsor to Ottawa.

    Like the posh cabins!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Living in a railway station as I do, I recognise the opulence of the Royal Saloon.

    Didn’t know we were renting out the Dali, let us know when your done with it and I’ll pop down and bring it back. Was it a three or five day rental?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Some posh interiors! and as for the snow plough – does it cope with the wrong kind of snow?

    ▪◾◼◾▪▫◽◻◽▫▪◾◼◾▪▫◽◻◽▫▪◾◼◾▪
    ▫◽◻◽▫▪◾◼◾▪▫◽◻◽▫▪◾◼◾▪▫◽◻◽▫

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love the London Night Ferry… instantly conjures up a fantastical story, and wow, who knew there was such a thing as “Royal Knobs?” Great post and photos!
    ….. did you happen to see if there were royal flush levers? Can’t help but wonder….😊

    Like

      1. And happy Christmas to you my friend! Wow, it’s the little things, right?
        Perhaps in my stocking this year will be a carved gold flush lever with my initials.
        Merry Christmas!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I so want to travel by private railroad car. I worked for this fellow who had a circus-themed restaurant (he was in the circus) and he ended up with JoMar (John and Mable Ringling’s railroad car) and he was restoring it, along with other Pullman cars, and his restaurant was relocated into one of the restored railroad cars! Fun!

    Liked by 1 person

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