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Europe’s largest collection of historic rail vehicles assembled at Locomotion

Locomotion in Shildon, County Durham is to undertake the museum’s biggest ever rail shunt to create Europe’s largest undercover display of historic rail vehicles. 

Managed by specialist teams from Locomotion and the National Railway Museum, the shunt will see 46 vehicles (and one road vehicle) moved carefully inside the newly constructed £8m New Hall. 

Locomotion is a partnership between the Science Museum Group and Durham County Council, with the latter having provided significant funding towards New Hall. 

Situated opposite the museum’s existing collection building, New Hall is scheduled to open to the public on 24 May 2024.

Before then, the hall needs to be filled with collection rail vehicles in a complex shunt that will take more than four weeks to complete.

With a crane, two snow ploughs, a pair of track inspection velocipedes, historic steam locomotives, numerous freight wagons and even a tracked Bren Gun Carrier, the lineup is sure to include something to complete every train set. When added to the vehicles already at Locomotion there will be 99 rail vehicles - creating the largest undercover display of historic rail vehicles in Europe. 

To enable the shunt to take place safely, Locomotion has temporarily closed to visitors during weekdays until the 27 March. The final vehicle is expected to go into the hall at the end of April.  

New Hall will open in time to celebrate the museum’s 20th anniversary in September this year. The museum is also built close to the site of Shildon Works – once home to a thriving railway workshop, employing thousands, which closed in June 1984. 

To mark this important link, the new building and the vehicle display will recognise the important role of railways in shaping communities in Shildon and across the North East, as well as the development of the railways across the UK. The interpretation will also tell new stories of the significance of coal in the development of the railways along with related stories of industry and freight transportation.

Sarah Price, Head of Locomotion, said: “I would like to thank all our partners involved in creating the magnificent New Hall, especially Nationwide Engineering and Durham County Council. New Hall effectively doubles the size of Locomotion and gives us much needed covered display space to help conserve the collection, as well as giving visitors the chance to find out more about the railways and the North East’s railway heritage.

“I hope the significant regeneration at Locomotion can draw even more people to visit the museum and the region as part of the national Railway 200 celebrations and beyond.” 

Durham County Council successfully applied for £20m Levelling Up funding to allow it to invest in Locomotion, including the creation of New Hall. The council seeks to promote the county and its assets to visitors as part of its Inclusive Economic Strategy.

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, the authority’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “It’s really exciting knowing New Hall is getting closer to opening and to housing Europe’s biggest undercover display of historic rail vehicles.

“We were delighted to be able to provide funding for this project, which will let many more people know the significance of Shildon as the starting point of the world’s first steam locomotive-powered passenger journey, further raising Durham’s profile nationally and internationally as the ‘Culture County’.

“Locomotion is already one of County Durham and the North East’s biggest visitor attractions, putting smiles on faces and delivering significant economic benefits. We look forward to New Hall adding to the museum’s offer and to it being at the heart of celebrations of both 20 years of the museum and 200 years since the opening of the Stockton and Darlington Railway.”

New Hall was designed by AOC Architecture and J+L Gibbons Landscape Architects.

Once rail vehicles are in place, New Hall will receive new interpretation, seating, wayfinding, lighting and other finishing touches ready to open for visitors on Friday 24 May 2024. 

New Hall is the centerpiece of a site-wide programme of improvements at Locomotion which incorporates historic coal drops, a collection of railway buildings and Gaunless Bridge - one of the world’s oldest iron railway bridges. A restoration project is taking place to repaint and display the bridge which was originally part of the Stockton and Darlington Railway. This is being funded by the Ironmonger's Company and members of the public.

As well as New Hall visitors to Locomotion can see many highlights from the national collection - from the world’s fastest diesel locomotive, HST 43102 The Journey Shrinker to Stephenson’s original Rocket and Locomotion No.1, which hauled the first train on the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 1825. 

The new building will be a key part of plans to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 2025 as part of Railway 200.

Locomotion’s New Hall has been generously supported by Durham County Council (Lead Funder), The Friends of the National Railway Museum (Major Funder), Wolfson Foundation (Major Funder), The Foyle Foundation (Major Funder), Sir James Knott Trust (Associate Funder), The Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust (Associate Funder), The Platten Family Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland (Funder), and Northumbrian Water Branch Out Fund (Funder). The Gaunless Bridge project has been generously supported by the Ironmonger's Company (Funder) and members of the public

For more information about Locomotion visit:


For more information please contact Simon Baylis, PR, Press and External Affairs Manager 01904 686 299 /

Notes to editors 

  • Locomotion offers visitors the chance to see highlights of the national collection of railway vehicles in Shildon – the world’s first railway town
  • Locomotion forms part of the Science Museum Group, along with the Science Museum in London, the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford and the National Railway Museum in York
  • Locomotion is a partnership between the Science Museum Group and Durham County Council, which is a major funder of the museum
  • Admission to Locomotion is free – visit 

About Funders

  • The Wolfson Foundation is an independent charity with a focus on research and education. Its aim is to support civil society by investing in excellent projects in science, health, heritage, humanities and the arts.  Since it was established in 1955, some £1 billion (£2 billion in real terms) has been awarded to more than 12,000 projects throughout the UK, all on the basis of expert review. Twitter: @wolfsonfdn
  • The Friends of the National Railway Museum was formed in 1977 to support the National Railway Museum. An independent member based charity, FNRM (or the Friends) help to fund the restoration of exhibits in the National Collection, the acquisition of new artefacts, and other projects that would otherwise not be possible. The charity also undertakes and supports research and educational projects relating to the history and development of railways.
  • The Foyle Foundation is an independent grant making Trust supporting UK charities which, since its formation in 2001, has become a major funder of the Arts and Learning.  The Foundation also operates a community small grants programme and a national school library improvement scheme.

New Hall vehicle lineup


  1. Hetton Lyon 
  2. LNER 0-8-0 Q7 Class No.1 901 
  3. Bo-Bo No.1
  4. London & North Western Railway, G2 class locomotive ‘Super D’ 
  5. Hunslet ‘Austerity’ 3850 Juno 
  6. Class 08 Shunter 
  7. North Eastern Railway locomotive Aerolite 
  8. Sentinel Shunter 
  9. British Railways diesel electric locomotive Class 31 
  10. Simplex 1911 – 1987

    Wagons, carriages and other vehicles

  11. LMSR 3 Plank Open Wagon
  12. LSWR Brake Van No.99
  13. Road/rail removals van, c 1911
  14. 'Warflat' 50-ton bogie flat wagon, 1940 with Universal Carrier (also known commonly as the Bren Gun Carrier) T266573
  15. British Railways Special Cattle Van, 1951 
  16. Mineral wagon used at Stanton Ironworks 
  17. 16-ton mineral wagon 
  18. Container flat wagon, conflat A
  19. BA Type container
  20. Snow plough, North Eastern Railway
  21. Matisa tamping machine
  22. Locomotive mounted steam crane, c 1915 (and jib)
  23. Wickham platelayers trolley 
  24. Velocipede 
  25. 2nd Velocipede
  26. London & North Eastern Railway match truck
  27. National Benzole tank wagon
  28. British Railways China Clay Wagon
  29. Sewage Tipper
  30. British Railways Presflo cement wagon
  31. Phillips Petroleum 100T tank wagon
  32. Bogie hopper wagon 
  33. Merry Go Round coal wagon 1964 
  34. Bogie ballast hopper, number DB 982896 (‘Seacow’)
  35. Lowmac Railway Wagon
  36. HEA coal hopper wagon 361000 
  37. Hopper wagon, London & North Eastern Railway 
  38. North Eastern Railway 20T wooden hopper wagon, 1902 
  39. Tank wagon, North Eastern Railway - Shell-Mex and BP Ltd 
  40. Seaham Harbour chaldron wagon
  41. Locomotive tender no. 1002, Great Northern Railway
  42. Rail-mounted BR snow plough 
  43. GNR 4-wheeled hand crane 
  44. EWS (Thrall) HTA 102-tonne coal hopper
  45. The British Railways 20T Weltrol H.C. wagon No B900805 
  46. HDA MGR Hopper