The new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 is being built at The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust’s Darlington Locomotive Works.

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No. 2007’s frames erected at Darlington Locomotive Works – David Elliott

On March 10 1995 The A1 Steam Trust signed an agreement with Darlington Borough Council, the owner of the 1853-built former Stockton and Darlington Railway Carriage Works, to set up its permanent base in what was to become the new Darlington Locomotive Works.

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The end of the building that The A1 Trust would occupy in 1997 – A1SLT

In a brief ceremony in front of Locomotion No .1, the world’s first public railway locomotive, now preserved in Darlington Railway Museum, Mayor of Darlington John Williams presented the key to the new works to Dorothy Mather, widow of the ‘A1’s’ designer. It was fitting that Arthur Peppercorn’s widow should accept the key on the Trust’s behalf, as he spent the happiest years of his distinguished career in Darlington.

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The agreement with Darlington Borough Council meant that the next Peppercorn ‘A1’ would be built in the world’s first true railway town. Some 23 of the originals were built here in 1948/1949 and many were scrapped on this site in the early 1960s. The original Darlington Works closed in 1966.

On September 27 1997 the Trust opened its the new ‘Darlington Locomotive Works’.  Phase one of the restoration and conversion of the building was paid for by grants from Darlington Borough Council (£50,000), the National Heritage Memorial Fund (£100,000) and the European Regional Development Fund (£150,000).

Sadly funding for phases 2 and 3 of the restoration of the building was never forthcoming and so the Trust now occupies only the restored southern end of the building. The North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group (NELPG) now occupies the unrestored northern end.

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By 1997 work was well advanced converting the old building for its new role – A1SLT

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In 1999, further heavy machinery was acquired and moved in – A1SLT

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Doncaster? No, Darlington? Yes! Tornado nears completion in 2008 – A1SLT

In early 2008 the Trust laid new track outside the works, ready for the brand-new Tornado to make its first moves. Finally, in late July, the 50th Peppercorn ‘A1’ was brought out of its birthplace and the fire lit – ready for the first public moves on August 1 – once again, a locomotive had been built in this famous railway town.  The works are open to the public on the third Saturday of each month, a day that coincides with NELPG also opening their doors to visitors.

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Tornado in light steam awaiting the launch day – A1SLT

During 2013 the interior of the building was extensively refurbished to make it ready for the arrival of No. 2007’s frames.

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Walls are re-plastered and the floor re-painted during 2013 – A1SLT

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With help from Darlington Borough Council, the exterior was also refurbished – Tony Lord