IT is not very long ago that the future looked bleak for the North-East town of Shildon. Apart from its railway heritage, and the pride of its people, it didn't have a great deal going for it.

So who could have imagined that Shildon's fortunes could be so transformed that it is now attracting worldwide interest and competing for a prestigious cultural award?

Those who had the vision and the courage to plan the opening of Locomotion: National Railway Museum at Shildon imagined such a dream was possible and now they are reaping the benefits.

The Northern Echo has, for some time, urged the North-East to wake up to the opportunities presented by its railway heritage, and Sedgefield District Council has shown others - notably Darlington - the way forward.

Locomotion is a project which draws the past, present and future together: creating jobs, boosting the local economy, and putting a town, which was in danger of being forgotten, on the map.

Tomorrow, judges looking for the Gulbenkian Museum of the Year will visit Shildon and assess Locomotion's chances of bringing the honour to the North-East.

The Northern Echo is proud to be among the organisations supporting the museum's bid for the prize.

We believe it deserves to win and we urge our readers to back the nomination by placing a message of support on the website at

Let us all play a part in a true North-East success story.