Save Our Loco: Keep Locomotion No. 1 in Darlington
A PETITION has been launched as part of a campaign to hold onto a cornerstone of the borough’s rail heritage.
In 1825, Locomotion No. 1 became the first steam locomotive to haul a passenger carrying train on a public railway.
Now the jewel in the crown at the Head of Steam museum, the locomotive has been on display in Darlington, at one location or another, for more than 160 years.
Locomotion No.1 is loaned to the council by the National Railway Museum (NRM), part of the Science Museums Group. They recently revealed plans to move it to their museum in Shildon.
With the 200th anniversary of the Stockton and Darlington Railway looming in 2025 and plans being developed for a new rail heritage quarter in Darlington, the possible loss of the jewel in the crown would be a major blow to the town.
With that in mind, rail enthusiasts and a cross-party group of politicians are joining forces to lobby NRM bosses to change their minds.
An online petition has been created at www.darlington.gov.uk/saveourloco and paper copies will also be available to sign at the Head of Steam, Dolphin Centre, Crown Street Library and the Town Hall.
The campaign has already won support from rail heritage groups in Darlington, including the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, which built Tornado, the UK’s first steam engine for a generation.
On Thursday (January 30) a motion urging the NRM to reverse its decision received unanimous backing from councillors at a meeting of the Full Council.
Councillor Heather Scott, Leader of Darlington Borough Council, said: “This is something the people of Darlington will be horrified about, and I fully understand.
“I want to send a very clear message to people in Darlington that this council will leave no stone unturned in our quest to keep Locomotion No. 1 in Darlington.
“Keeping Locomotion No. 1 in Darlington is crucial for our 2025 celebrations – it’s unthinkable to imagine it anywhere else but Darlington for the bi-centenary of the world’s first passenger railway.
“I would urge everyone to come forward and sign our petition – the case for keeping Locomotion No. 1 in Darlington is not just persuasive, it’s compelling.”
For more information about the campaign, visit www.darlington.gov.uk/saveourloco