Locomotion in Shildon has started the New Year on the right track after officially welcoming the museum’s 2.5 millionth (2,500,000) visitor.
Sean Richards from Sedgefield, visited on Wednesday 3 January 2018 with his daughters Anna and Alex and nephew Thomas.
A regular visitor to the museum, Sean brought his family to Locomotion during the Christmas holidays to see Tim Peake’s spacecraft and Queen Alexandra’s luxurious Royal Saloon carriage.
Sean and family were presented with an exciting goody bag by museum manager Gary Campbell.
Opened in September 2004 and originally called Locomotion the National Railway Museum at Shildon, the museum showcases important railway vehicles and items from the national collection.
Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Durham County Council and the European Regional Development Fund, Locomotion was built on a historically significant railway site close to the route of the Stockton and Darlington Railway.
In the first full year, 140,000 people visited the new museum, considerably more than the 50,000 anticipated and the museum now receives around 200,000 visitors each year.
Permanent exhibits include the original Sans Pareil locomotive which took part in the Rainhill Trials in 1829, prototype Deltic and Advanced Passenger Trains and many other unique and historic railway artefacts.
Since November the museum has hosted astronaut Tim Peake’s spacecraft as part of a temporary exhibition from the Science Museum Group and Samsung.
Museum Manager, Gary Campbell, said: “Ever since Locomotion opened in 2004 the response from the public has been fantastic and the museum has become a really important part of the local community.
“I am delighted to welcome Sean and his family today as our 2,500,000th visitor at a very exciting time for Locomotion as we host a major national exhibition, adopt a new name and logo and become a full part of the Science Museum Group.
“We have ambitious plans for the museum and the historic parts of the site and I look forward to seeing the public reaction to these developments in the coming months.”
From 1 December 2017 the National Railway Museum at Shildon was renamed Locomotion and became a full part of the world’s most prestigious family of science museums — the Science Museum Group.
Although the Science Museum Group will now manage Locomotion, the strong partnership with Durham County Council will continue to be key to the future of the museum.
To find out more about Locomotion visit the museum’s new website.