TODAY’S front cover is promotingh an exhibition which celebrates 150 years of engine-building at Darlington’s North Road Works. The exhibition has opened at the town’s Head of Steam Museum, and runs until June 2.

The shops, as the works were known, were once one of the town’s biggest employers: at North Road’s peak in 1954, it had nearly 4,000 workers.

It opened on January 1, 1863, having been built on farmland by the Stockton and Darlington Railway’s engineer, William Bouch.

The first 150 workers lived in the new terraces nearby, and as the works grew, so did the number of employees and did the spread of terraces.

By 1903, the 1,500 employees were making a steam engine every fortnight.

Between 1863 and 1957, the works made 2,269 steam engines.

The first was The Contractor; the last was No 84029.

Between 1952 and 1964, it also made 187 diesel shunters.

The last was D7597 which was scrapped at Swindon in 1983.

It all ended with the Beeching Axe, and North Road closed on April 2, 1966.

The new exhibition, entitled North Road Works 1863- 1966, is jointly curated by the museum and the North Eastern Railway Association.

It looks at the establishment and what it was like to work there – the hours, the conditions and the illnesses.

The works had its own community, with a carnival, a church and a railway institute, which is reflected in the exhibition, as is the history of all those locos that were built there.