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Locomotion to highlight 70 years of the railways to celebrate Platinum Jubilee

Locomotion, Shildon is celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with the launch of a new temporary exhibition, 70 Years of the Railways.

The exhibition, which will run from 28 May until 5 June 2022, will explore the links between Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and some of the iconic rail vehicles on display at the museum.

Visitors will be able to look back on a pivotal time of change as the railways largely moved from steam power to diesel and electric alternatives. The English Electric Deltic, designed in the 1950s to haul passenger services, led the way for this transition, and were still pulling prestige services 20 years later.


Other items in the museum’s collection, such as the Class 142 ‘Pacer’, the Prototype High Speed Train and record-breaking 125 power car will show how the railways developed during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.

Locomotion also has its very own royal connection with the saloon of Queen Alexandra, built in 1902, on display in the museum’s Main Hall. Designed by J. C. Park and built at the London & North Western Railway works in Wolverton, the carriage includes a day saloon, two dressing rooms, a bedroom, and a lavatory, and was repainted in London, Midland & Scottish Railway livery during World War II to make it less conspicuous.

Sarah Price, director of Locomotion, said: “We’re really excited for visitors to come and explore our new exhibition to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Locomotion’s fascinating collection tells the stories of the railways starting hundreds of years ago, but so much has developed during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and we hope that visitors can learn more about stories from more recent times.”

Alongside 70 Years of the Railways, Locomotion sees the return of Meccano Magic, presented in association with the North Eastern Meccano Society. Visitors can explore displays of a wide-range of Meccano models – static, mechanised and remote-controlled. Visitors can have a go at creating Meccano models themselves with a competition for the best one.

There will also be free, family learning activities that visitors can try between 30 May – 5 June. These include, a special Platinum Jubilee Trail featuring influential women from around the Commonwealth, Floating Paperclips and Bridge Building.

Museum admission is free and admission tickets are no longer required to be booked in advance, however free tickets for Meccano Magic are advised to be booked prior to visiting via the museum’s website as spaces are limited.

You can find out more by visiting locomotion.org.uk/whats-on.

Photo credit: Science Museum Group

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