Last two A4s about to leave Shildon museum

Easter Monday will be the last chance to see the trains before they are returned to Canada and America

Easter Monday will be the last chance to see the trains before they are returned to Canada and America

First published in News
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The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter (Sedgefield)

TOMORROW (Monday, April 21) is the last chance to see two iconic locomotives from a museum’s hugely popular exhibition before they are shipped home across the Atlantic.

More than 120,000 people visited Locomotion: The National Railway Museum at Shildon, in County Durham, to see Mallard and its five A4 sister engines in February.

The Great Goodbye exhibition brought together the six surviving A4 Pacific locomotives to conclude the 75th anniversary celebrations of Mallard becoming the world's fastest steam engine.

Soon after the exhibidion, four of the locomotives left the museum and tomorrow is the final day that the last two, Dominion of Canada and Dwight D Eisenhower, will be on display.

They stayed on show at the museum for an extra eight weeks because shipping back to their home museums in Canada and America had to be arranged to avoid the winter weather.

Locomotion’s manager, George Muirhead, said: “They couldn’t leave any earlier than March so it was a happy coincidence they were able to stay on here.

“It will be kind of sad when they go.

“Sometimes it has almost been unreal.

“Some visitors have travelled thousands of miles to see them and it has been a remarkable experience for everybody.2

He said it was particularly special for the museum's workshop volunteers who worked on the Dominion of Canada before the event.

From Tuesday the long, careful process of transporting them home begins.

It will take three or four days to remove and package individual fixtures including the steam whistles and bell and to separate each loco, weighing over 100 tons, from its tender.

They will be wrapped in protective sheets and the following week travel by road, on four lorries with escort vehicles, to Liverpool Seaforth Docks.

They will then be shipped in the hold of Atlantic Conveyor to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where Canadian Railways pick them up to be transported back to their host museums.

Mr Muirhead said: “Logistically it is complicated, the idea is that they will be back home by the end of May or early June.”

Reflecting on the Mallard75 project, Mr Muirhead added: “I think this has demonstrated what the National Railway Museum can do to develop a major event when we have the inspiration and determination to do it, it has been a remarkable three year exercise.”

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