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Our transformative masterplan

A multi-million pound programme of investment, improvement and change is transforming Locomotion and the National Railway Museum with new buildings, galleries, visitor attractions, outdoor spaces and vital conservation work.

We’re investing in our site to create a better experience for our visitors, a safe environment for our collection of railway vehicles and a sustainable future for our important historic buildings.

We will also enhance our interpretation to better tell the significant story of Shildon and its contribution to the development of railways worldwide. Shildon is the world’s first railway town and the workplace of railway pioneer Timothy Hackworth. We will continue to share and inspire the next generation of engineers and innovators with this story. 


New Hall is a brand new 2000 square metre building for Locomotion, currently under construction on the brownfield site to the West of the museum.

The building will house 47 additional rail vehicles, meaning Locomotion will boast the largest collection of historic railway vehicles under cover on one site anywhere in the world—and the largest museum collection of rail vehicles in Europe.

Located in the world’s first railway town, New Hall will be the hub of celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Stockton & Darlington Railway in 2025.

Our expanded collection will allow us to tell a coherent story that reveals Shildon’s role in early railway development. By doing this, we will use our collections and buildings to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists.

A building for the future

Locomotion’s new building is part of our wider transformative masterplan. It goes way beyond creating a new building, allowing us to tell the exciting and inspirational role played by Shildon and the North-East in the global railway story.

Our masterplan also allows us to safeguard the collection, diversify our volunteer team and create new jobs. It will allow us to reinvigorate our heritage buildings, provide new green spaces and embed this museum at the heart of the community.

The building 

Locomotion’s new building draws on the aesthetic of an engine shed, linking it back to Shildon’s history as the world’s first railway town. Simple in design and occupying a footprint of 2000m2, the new building will accommodate an additional 47 vehicles from the national collection. These will be displayed on three pairs of tracks allowing visitors to easily see the vehicles and learn about their history and significance.

New Landscaped Garden

The Railway Garden is a new landscaped garden for Locomotion, designed to increase biodiversity across the whole of the site. It will support volunteering for local communities and create a place for our visitors to connect with nature.

The gardens will be constructed with sustainability and a reduced environmental footprint built in through the recycling and reuse of materials. The site boundary will be planted with a new native hedgerow, expanding habitats for hedgehogs, while existing trees will be fitted with bat boxes.

The wider Shildon Sidings designated Local Wildlife Site is home to one of the largest colonies of a declining UK population of the Dingy Skipper butterfly, a Priority Species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. The planting scheme will include plants that the rare butterfly typically forages on, encouraging breeding.

Take a look at our exhibition to explore our plans for the new building.


Project timeline

Conserving our historic site

We’re committed to repairing our historic buildings and structures—the original reminders of Shildon’s pioneering role in history.

Our redevelopment will see the repair and rejuvenation of Locomotion’s historic buildings including the former home of Timothy Hackworth, the first locomotive superintendent of the Stockton and Darlington Railway. In total, seven buildings will be preserved, including railway cottages, the goods shed and parcel office. The buildings are a fantastic asset and embody the rich history of the area.

The £1.8m repair project started on site in January 2020 and is due to be complete in early 2021. The project to restore Locomotion’s historic buildings is funded by Durham County Council and the Science Museum Group. Read more about progress.


Building: AOC Architecture
Landscape: J&L Gibbons