This weekend the Tanfield Railway visitor attraction, near Stanley, is to host the Legends of Industry Gala. The Gala is expected to draw thousands of visitors in addition to five very special guests – five vintage steam locomotives manufactured in Newcastle.

The machines will include the oldest surviving locomotive built in Newcastle as well as the last ever steam engine manufactured in the city.

The Legends of Industry Gala will also play host to Britain’s most powerful surviving Newcastle-built locomotive, Stewart and Lloyds Number 62, which was assembled in 1950. 

All the steam locomotives appearing at the Gala were built in the Forth Banks area of Newcastle, a district of the city known for train manufacturing.  

Britain’s first ever locomotive factory was established in Forth Banks and the district was home to famous train building firms like Robert Stevenson and Hawthorn Leslie. The district’s factories churned out more than 6,000 locomotives between 1823 and 1960.

The Tanfield Railway, which is Britain’s oldest, dates back to 1725.  

The Tanfield Railway’s director, David Watchman, said, “It’s almost 195 years since the first steam locomotives were built in Forth Banks and, looking at the city now, it’s hard to believe that literally thousands of engines were constructed there and dispatched to every corner of the globe.” 

“With this event, we want to pay tribute to the hard work of generations of Tyneside engineers and celebrate the huge contribution these locomotives made to industries and communities everywhere.”

“We want to help younger generations understand what made the North East great and how their forefathers changed the world.”

 The Legends of Industry Gala will feature passenger and freight trains running on both Saturday and Sunday from about 9.45 am. 

In addition to the steam trains, a diesel/electric hybrid engine will be on show. Visitors can also enjoy displays and model railways, browse stalls, take a guided tour of an engine shed, meet a horse and pony, take a look at some vintage vehicles, and have a go at driving model boats.

Ticket prices start at £7.00 (£4.00 concessions). For more information, please visit  

(Featured image courtesy of Chris Fithall, from Flickr Creative Commons)

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