HELEN GOODMAN MP’s concerns about Locomotion No 1 were misplaced and misinformed – the engine has been on public display in Darlington for 160 years now.

However, her speech highlights the unfair situation where locally-run museums such as Darlington’s Head of Steam, no matter how historicallysignificant their collections, are discriminated against by receiving none of the government subsidy which allows free admission to national museums.

Despite this, Head of Steam offers a pass for a year’s unlimited admission for only £10 – not bad value to get into one of the oldest railway stations in the world to see Locomotion No 1 and a wealth of artefacts telling how Darlington became the railway capital of the North-East.

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It was heartening to hear Jenny Chapman MP acknowledging the support of the Friends of Darlington Railway Centre and Museum. We are looking for more members to increase our ability to help as the 2025 Stockton & Darlington Railway bicentenary approaches.

Membership gets you unlimited free admission to Head of Steam plus a talks programme and the chance to help the museum flourish – see friendsofdrcm.org.

As far as we are concerned Head of Steam and Locomotion at Shildon are different but complementary museums, and people should visit both.

Remember, the S&DR was built to connect communities, not to divide them.

Richard Taylor, chair, Friends of the Darlington Railway Centre and Museum