Great Northern Railway Atlantic Class No. 251, which was built in Doncaster in 1902, has become the first of two steam locomotives to return home thanks to an arrangement between Doncaster Council and the National Railway Museum.
251 is the first exhibit to be announced for the new Danum Gallery, Library and Museum in Doncaster.
Retiring in 1947, No. 251 had 45 years in service, and has only ever steamed once in preservation in 1953 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Doncaster Works.
Now, the steam locomotive will be on show at the new centre and will be joined by a variety of memorabilia from Doncaster Grammar School Railway Collection.
The Atlantic class will be displayed on purpose-built tracks, which visitors can view on a virtual tour, which launches in March before the museum is opened once the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
The locomotive will remain part of the national collection and has been loaned to the new museum for an initial three years.
Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, said: “Danum Gallery, Library and Museum is going to be a wonderful community asset where local people and visitors to Doncaster can learn and explore a stunning selection of exhibits that celebrate our past, present and future. This locomotive is the first of many gems we will be revealing through a virtual tour in March, with the building opening its doors for people to explore later in the year, subject to the Covid-19 pandemic of course.”
Cllr Nigel Ball, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure and Culture, said: “It’s a real honour to welcome the first of two Doncaster-built locomotives into our superb new Danum Gallery, Library and Museum. Doncaster is, and always will be, a rail town so it is fitting that we have two locomotives built at our famous plant works as the showcase attractions in what will be an incredibly enlightening rail heritage centre.
“We are delighted the National Railway Museum has supported us and I can’t wait to see these two classic locomotives on display. Packed with many never been seen before rail exhibits, the rail heritage centre, like the whole building, is going to be a real treat for residents and visitors. As a past worker at The Plant in the early 80’s I am really excited about this and what this means for Doncaster.”
Andrew McLean, Assistant Director and Head Curator at the National Railway Museum, said: “We are thrilled to be working alongside Doncaster Council to share the stories of these fascinating locomotives. Although iconic in their own merits, for them to return to where they were built is truly special.”
251 was previously based at Locomotion in Shildon but made the 90-mile journey by a lorry on Sunday 24th January 2021.
You can find out more about the new Danum Gallery and Museum through their website.
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