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British Industrial History

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Shildon Locomotion Museum

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Shildon, County Durham, DL4 1PQ. For visitor information see their website.

See also National Railway Museum, Shildon

Shildon Locomotion Museum is a railway museum in Shildon, County Durham, England. The museum is a division of the National Railway Museum (NRM) which is in turn part of the National Museum of Science and Industry (NMSI). Shildon acts as an annex, with the most important exhibits on display in the NRM's headquarters at York, though exhibits are regularly rotated.

The museum was built during 2004. Based on the former "Timothy Hackworth Victorian Railway Museum", it cost £11.3 million to copletely build, The museum was expected to bring 60,000 visitors a year to the small County Durham town. However, during its first six months, the museum pulled in a staggering 94,000 visitors, this including rail enthusiasts. It was shortlisted as one of the final five contenders in The Gulbenkian Prize which is "the largest arts prize in the United Kingdom".

It is home to 60 locomotives from the National Collection, including a replica of Timothy Hackworth's engine Sans Pareil. The original engine was built to compete in the Rainhill Trials. These trials were to decide which engine was used to operate the intercity passenger railway between Liverpool and Manchester. After 175 years of absence from the town, residents were delighted at her return. Sans Pareil now sits proudly at the entrance of Locomotion. It is the first engine visitors see.

The main building is home to the majority of the collection and includes the sole examples of the prototype APT-E and Deltic units. The museum has a wind turbine which also provides power to the National Grid and an on-site biodiesel bus for transporting visitors around the site without harming the environment.

On September 27, 1825, the world's very first passenger train made its first journey from Shildon to Darlington on the Stockton and Darlington Railway. The train, hauled by Locomotion No 1, was unlike modern trains. The train however took 2 hours to complete the 12 mile trip. The Locomotion Museum is sited near Timothy Hackworth's Soho Works.

Shildon railway station, on the Darlington to Bishop Auckland Tees Valley Line was rebuilt and modernised as part of the museum's construction and is actually situated partway through the museum itself. It is served by all services on the line, operated by Northern Rail.