CHILDREN had the chance to have a first look at the working replica of a historic engine ahead of the reopening of a museum.

Pupils from Corporation Road School in Darlington were the first to get a glimpse of the newest exhibition at the town's Head of Steam Museum.

The museum took receipt of the working replica of Locomotion No. 1 last week and is hoping it will attract visitors back when it reopens later this month.

The replica engine will play a key part in celebrations of the bicentenary of the opening of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, when it is hoped it will make the same journey over the Skerne Bridge as the original did in 1825.

Work is being done on the engine, which was built to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the railway in 1975, to make sure it is in good working order.

It had been in use at Beamish but has been kept at Locomotion, in Shildon in recent years.

It is now on display at Head of Steam as an alternative to the original locomotive, which has been moved to the museum in Shildon.

Marketing manager Julian Cound, who has been working to promote Head of Steam, said: "The children have been asking some fabulous questions about who made it, how fast it can go and how many people can it carry and some of them can remember coming to see the original Locomotion No 1."

He added: "There was so much speak about losing Locomotion No 1 but we now have got the next best thing.

"In some ways it is better because people will be able to see it working.

"There is a fair amount of work to do to make it safe and work properly."

Ten children from Corporation Road, all aged 10 or 11, had the chance to look at the engine and ask questions about its history.

Headteacher Ann Pringleton said: "They've had a great time.

"It's really special for us because the Locomotion No 1 is our school logo and it means something to them.

"They are full of questions and they really have been interested in it.

"We'll be coming back when the original locomotive comes back. Sometimes you don't know what you've got until lost it."

She added: "Thanks to the museum for thinking of the school and bringing them down. It's been nice to come out and listen to the history of it."