ONE of the last locomotives to have been built in Darlington has arrived back to its home town to go on display at the Head of Steam Railway Museum.

The BR Class 37 diesel-electric will be on public display from Tuesday, August 10, and comes ahead of celebrations in 2025 to mark the 200th anniversary of the Stockton and Darlington Railway.

The locomotive was built by English Electric Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns in Darlington and operated on the main line network until 1999 when it was placed into storage until sold to the heritage railway sector in 2004.

In 2008 it was purchased by Network Rail who have now donated the locomotive to the Head of Steam Railway Museum – the first time Network Rail have ever donated an entire locomotive to any museum.

The locomotive has undergone a complete aesthetic refurbishment including all paintwork and livery, now looking brand new like it did when it left in April 1964.

Councillor Heather Scott, leader of Darlington Council, said: "This Class 37 locomotive is a most significant piece of railway engineering being the very last of its kind to roll out of the Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns factory in Darlington.

"Bringing this beautiful locomotive back home marks another step towards the bi-centenary celebrations in 2025 of the Stockton and Darlington Railway and the transformation of the Railway quarter."

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In 1902 the world’s first locomotive manufacturer, Robert Stephenson & Co, relocated from Newcastle to Darlington. ‘Stivvies’ as it became known produced locomotives for export around the world and also produced important replicas of their world-famous locomotive

Rocket, including one for the Science Museum (now in the NRM), and another for the private museum of Henry Ford in Michigan.

After the war the company continued to produce locomotives for sale around the world as well as fulfilling domestic orders. The works became part of English Electric in 1955 and they made their last locomotive in 1964.

The Last Stephenson Locomotive That last locomotive – D6898 - bookends the world significant story of Robert Stephenson & Co.

Established in Newcastle in 1823 the first Stephenson locomotive was Locomotion and in April 1964 its last locomotive rolled out of the Darlington Works thus marking the end of an era for one of the most famous names in industrial history.

That locomotive was one of a batch of 309 English Electric ‘Type 3’ locomotives (around a half of which were built in Darlington). Later re-classified as British Rail class 37’s its original number changed from D6898 to 37198 in 1974.

Remarkably, the locomotive is still in railway use today although currently not operational. It is owned by Network Rail and has been used for spares for other NR owned 37’s. It is, however, believed to be externally complete and could be cosmetically restored to its 1964 appearance.

There may well be workers from ‘Stivvies’ still living in Darlington who worked on its construction. It is clearly be a symbol of great local pride.

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