I HAVE written to the Prime Minister about Locomotion No 1, because he has made several mentions of it in the House of Commons, saying that he would see what he could do to keep it in Darlington.

He will know that its threatened removal from its Darlington home by the National Railway Museum (Echo, Feb 6 & 9) threatens Darlington’s railway museum and the council’s current plans for a Heritage Rail Quarter which the Tees Valley Combined Authority Mayor is supporting.

I am also interested in whether Mr Johnson knows that, according to the most recent issue of Steam Railway Magazine, that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in his Government is apparently backing the NRM’s plans to remove the near 200-year-old vehicle from the town in which it has resided for the last 163 years of its retirement.

Much of the article in the magazine is made up of statements from NRM and I question in particular a statement by Andrew McLean, curator and assistant director of the NRM, in which he says: ‘’We have the backing of the Department of Culture Media and Sport in all of this.’’

There has been much loss of public trust caused by the NRM’s underhand actions and unwanted proposals and this quote is rightly being questioned.

People in Darlington are almost lost for words due to their fury and disbelief in the actions of the NRM, and its parent, the Science Museums Group, and now DCMS too.

This is not a competition with Shildon. It is about righting a wrong. Darlington must not lose its monument.

Let us hope the council can and will hold out.

The NRM obviously has, and will use, its upper hand, but the council should not let Locomotion No 1 go – people are fearful that if it were to be removed, it would never come back, and that is an upsetting thought.

Name suppled, Darlington.