A GROUP of rail enthusiasts building a replica of a historic North- East steam locomotive has reached a milestone.

The Class G5 Locomotive Company Ltd, which is in the process of recreating the G5 Class 0-4-4 tank locomotive, has completed work on the bogie – the structure to which axles and wheels are fixed.

The G5 class locomotive was designed by Wilson Worsdell, the North-Eastern Railway’s chief mechanical engineer, in the late 19th Century.

All 110 of the locomotives were built in Darlington and operated throughout the region until the Fifties, when they were withdrawn in favour of diesel engines.

No examples of the design were preserved.

The Class G5 Locomotive Company Ltd, whose members come from across the North-East and Yorkshire, collected more than 130 drawings for the original locomotive design, and are working with local suppliers, including main contractor Great Northern Steam, in Darlington, to build a locomotive to operate on heritage railways.

Secretary Bernard Morris said it had taken two years to finish work on the bogie.

Although the group endeavoured to keep work on the locomotive based in the North-East, its steel tyres had to be imported from South Africa.

Mr Morris said: “It is a very complicated piece of equipment and far more mechanically intricate than the bogies on most other locomotives.

“It has been a long process, so we are very pleased to actually have it finished.”

The bogie will be on display at Locomotion: The National Railway Museum, in Shildon, County Durham, until early March, where it will be accompanied by a short display exploring the history of the Class G5 locomotive and the group’s project.

It will be unveiled at the museum, in Shildon, at 11.30am on Saturday.

The project follows that of Tornado, which was built in Darlington by the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, the first new main line steam locomotive built in the UK for 50 years The next phase in the G5 project will be to start putting all the completed pieces of the locomotive together, which Mr Morris said was extremely exciting.

He added: “This is a pretty unique project. Tornado has been built and is successfully running, but this is more of a local engine.

The intention is to run it on local heritage lines, such as Weardale and Wensleydale, and any other lines based in Durham, Yorkshire and Northumberland that are willing to hire it.”

For information about the group and the project, visit g5locomotive.co.uk