It’s full steam ahead as train goes on show

A HISTORIC locomotive is all set to go on display following a decade’s worth of restoration work.

Engine A No 5 has been cleaned, polished and otherwise done up and has now been given a new home in the engine gallery at Stephenson Railway Museum in North Shields, ready for visitors to see from this Saturday.

The engine, built in 1883 by Kitson and Co, is a rare example of Robert Stephenson’s long boiler design, a type of locomotive popular in the north east due to its ability to negotiate sharp curves in collieries.

The engine was pensioned off in 1968 and acquired by Tyne and Wear Museums from County Durham’s Beamish Museum in 1985.

Since then, volunteers and members of North Tyneside Steam Railway Association have been lovingly restoring the engine and completely overhauling.

It will now be a permanent exhibit at the Middle Engine Lane museum.

Museum manager Geoff Woodward 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.”

Budding young boffins were given a sneak preview of the museum’s exhibits ahead of its opening for the 2012 season this weekend, as well as finding out how steam trains work.

Pupils from Stephenson Memorial Primary School at Howdon marked National Science and Engineering Week by paying a visit to the museum.

It was part of a series of events intended to encourage a passion for science also including visits to North Shields ferry port and Newcastle Airport.

Headteacher Emma Overton said: “We need to ensure that our pupils are equipped with the qualifications that emerging industries and employers will seek in the future so they’re able to pursue job opportunities as they emerge.

“We think it’s really important to introduce our pupils to science, technology, engineering and maths subjects as soon as possible to help ignite that spark of interest that will hopefully grow into a passion that will lead to a career in these fields.”

The museum will be open every weekend from this Saturday until Sunday, November 4, and will open daily during school holidays in the meanwhile. Its opening hours are 11am to 4pm.