Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Great Northern Railway ‘Atlantic’ Locomotive no.251 & Green Arrow Take Centre Stage at New Doncaster Museum

Two locomotives built in Doncaster have returned home, thanks to a partnership arrangement between the National Railway Museum and Doncaster Council.

Great Northern Railway ‘Atlantic’ locomotive no.251 built at Doncaster Plant in 1902, was the first exhibit to be formally announced for the town’s Danum Gallery, Library and Museum.

After 45 years in service, No. 251 retired in 1947. The locomotive returned to steam in preservation once in 1953 to celebrate the centenary of the Doncaster Plant Works.

Credit: Charlotte Graham

The locomotive will take centre stage in an exciting new rail heritage centre alongside LNER V2 No. 4771 Green Arrow which has also arrived back into Doncaster for the new Danum Gallery and Museum, nearly 75 years since it left Doncaster Works.

4771 Green Arrow joins No. 251 in the museum thanks to a partnership between Doncaster Council and the National Railway Museum.

The heritage centre will be a ‘must see’ exhibition when it opens later in 2021 with two steam locomotives together with artefacts from the Doncaster Grammar School Railway Collection. Other fascinating items which celebrate the importance of rail for Doncaster will also be exhibited.

Credit: Charlotte Graham

Displayed on purpose-built rail tracks, people will be able to view through a virtual tour of the building which will go live in March prior to the building being opened for the public to get up close with exhibits later in the year. All opening plans are subject to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The locomotives will remain part of the national collection and will be loaned to the museum as static exhibits for an initial three-year period.

Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, said: “Danum Gallery, Library and Museum is going to be a wonderful community asset where local people and visitors to Doncaster can learn and explore a stunning selection of exhibits that celebrate our past, present and future. 
These locomotives are the first of many gems we will be revealing through a virtual tour in March, with the building opening its doors for people to explore later in the year, subject to the Covid-19 pandemic of course.”

Credit: Charlotte Graham

Cllr Nigel Ball, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure and Culture, said: “It’s a real honour to welcome the two Doncaster-built locomotives into our superb new Danum Gallery, Library and Museum. Doncaster is, and always will be, a rail town so it is fitting that we have two locomotives built at our famous plant works as the showcase attractions in what will be an incredibly enlightening rail heritage centre.

“We are delighted the National Railway Museum has supported us and I can’t wait to see these two classic locomotives on display. Packed with many never-been-seen-before rail exhibits, the rail heritage centre, like the whole building, is going to be a real treat for residents and visitors. As a past worker at The Plant in the early '80s I am really excited about this and what this means for Doncaster.”

Andrew McLean, Assistant Director and Head Curator at the National Railway Museum, said: “We are thrilled to be working alongside Doncaster Council to share the stories of these fascinating locomotives. Although iconic in their own merits, for them to return to where they were built is truly special.”

Danum Gallery, Library and Museum is in Doncaster’s Civic and Cultural Quarter on the site of the former Doncaster High School.

It’s one of a number of council-led regeneration schemes helping to transform Doncaster town centre and benefit the whole borough.

The locomotive arrived at the new heritage centre on Sunday morning after travelling 90 miles via lorry from its current home at Locomotion in Shildon, County Durham. Here a team of specialist conservators and rail operations staff successfully manoeuvred the historic locomotive into place.

The move was carried out under social distancing and following Covid-19 guidance.

The Friends of Doncaster Museum have assisted in the loan of the locomotives and their continued hard work and contributions to the Museum are very much appreciated.

See a video of Green Arrow arriving at the new museum here

More information is available at: 
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