Mini Shildon, a Chinook, a shunt and the Golden Arrow

This weekend just passed saw the very popular Modelmotion event at Shildon, showcasing model railways from around the North East and with many trade stands allowing that special purchase to be made for the layout at home. Despite having lived in Shildon for 6 years now, I had never seen Shildon Model Railway Club’s 00 gauge model of our local station as it was in the 1930s, and I couldn’t resist taking this picture to compare with photos of the real thing.

On Saturday 27th March, there is a “Help for Heroes” event at York to raise awareness, funds and assistance for the servicemen and womens’ charity. There’s lots going on, including the arrival of a steam charter, hopefully hauled by “Oliver Cromwell” posing as sister locomotive “The Territorial Army” and possibly “Scots Guardsman”. There will also be a visit by a GB Railfreight class 66 diesel named “Chinook” and to go with this, a full size Chinook helicopter also will be present in the Museum car park. In preparation for this, a trial landing was made in York yesterday lunchtime and here’s a picture of the Chinook as it comes down to land. The NRM has never seen or heard anything like it!

After York’s business was done for the day, I headed back to Shildon to help with a shunt to re-arrange vehicles in the workshop. This included the Smith Rodley steam crane out in the open for the first time during its restoration. We’ll not be able to shunt it out once the chimney is on, it will be too tall for the doors…

Now in the workshop and properly accessible from all sides is the prototype HAA “Merry Go Round” hopper wagon. Richard and the team can now assess and repair the wagon before Phil Anderson comes in to add the finishing paint touches of lettering in the appropriate style.

With a Heritage Traction Cab-It event looming at Shildon on 10-11 April, I asked to borrow the Golden Arrow headboard and one arrow from York for the event. Once we have found suitable flags, the class 71 will be decked out at one end in Golden Arrow regalia for that weekend only – but of course, I just had to try out the arrow and headboard in advance to make sure that they fitted…

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About Anthony Coulls

Anthony is Senior Curator of Rail Vehicles at the NRM and has been an active heritage railway volunteer since 1988
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