THE North-East's first national museum is celebrating a key part of its heritage with a display.

Visitors to Locomotion: The National Railway Museum at Shildon, in County Durham, can see a selection of wagon plates that were placed on the side of vehicles manufactured at the town's wagon works.

The 20 plates date from 1950 to the works' demise in 1983, and are now proudly placed on a wall in the museum's 6,000sq ft collections centre.

Sarah Joyce, of the museum, said: "The Wagon D Plates act like car registration plates. They identify each wagon and where it came from.

"All of these plates come from those manufactured in Shildon. We do have more, but this is just a selection to give people an idea of how many wagons the works actually produced."

The museum has been hailed a success since it opened in September, and has been shortlisted for Britain's biggest art prize.

It is among three other museums in the country shortlisted for the Gulbenkian Museum of the Year award.

Judges will visit the museum on April 18 and a decision will be made in May.

Published: 05/04/2005