A COUNCIL embroiled in a tug o’ war with a national museum over the future of the world’s first passenger locomotive has pledged to redouble efforts to get residents to throw their weight behind the battle.

Darlington Borough Council’s leader Councillor Heather Scott said the authority, which launched a campaign titled Save Our Loco earlier this year to prevent George Stephenson’s Locomotion no 1 being moved from Darlington to Shildon, was looking at launching another campaign in an effort to draw more support.

A full meeting of the authority had heard despite cross-party for the council’s high-profile campaign, less than 3,000 people had signed a petition to keep Locomotion no 1 at the town’s Head of Steam museum, rather than allow the Science Museum to move it to the National Railway Museum’s Locomotion attraction at Shildon.

The council says Locomotion no 1, which has been displayed in the town for 160 years, is key to its plans to mark the bi-centenary of the Stockton & Darlington Railway in 2025.

While prime minister Boris Johnson has previously said he supported Darlington’s claims for the historic locomotive, Councillor Nick Wallis said the Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer had signed a letter of support for the campaign.

He said: “We don’t need a gigantic Locomotion No 1 hole in our 2025 celebrations.”

Councillor Heather Scott told the meet the Science Museum have not moved their view. They say they are going to remove it from us early next year. That is why we are lobbying everybody we possibly can.”

Referring to the relatively low number of people who had signed the petition, Cllr Scott added: “This is why we’re wanting to actually get another campaign going. I think we need to make it wider, maybe trying another platform to get more people to sign it.”