Park saw last lo­co­mo­tive

Sunderland Echo - - Opinion -

As my part­ner and I did the weekly ParkRun at Silksworth on Satur­day, Septem­ber 9, we re­mem­bered that 50 years ago the site played a part in the cur­tain call for an im­por­tant part of North East life – the last use of steam lo­co­mo­tives by Bri­tish Rail­way in the North East.

Sun­der­land was one of the very last lo­co­mo­tive sheds to use steam in the North East, and Septem­ber 9, 1967, the last steam lo­co­mo­tive used by the shed was Class J27 65894.

In the last week, a reg­u­lar steam turn was still col­lect­ing coal from Silksworth Col­liery, with this lo­co­mo­tive adorned by en­thu­si­asts with a large blue star on its smoke box to mark the end of steam use in the North East.

The NCB con­tin­ued to use steam lo­co­mo­tives for a few more years, but the ‘pub­lic’ rail­ways that started with the Stock­ton and Dar­ling­ton over 140 years ear­lier dis­pensed with steam from that date.

The Silksworth Sports Cen­tre site has two for­mer rail­way lines run­ning to it, both now paths, and the Park Run uses one of them while the col­liery one was at a higher level that the Park Run just about reaches.

For­tu­nately, it wasn’t the end for two of the steam lo­co­mo­tives in use on that last day.

The 65894 it­self and the larger Q6 63395 were both saved by the North East Lo­co­mo­tive Preser­va­tion Group and their mem­bers are cur­rently re­pair­ing both lo­co­mo­tives with an im­mi­nent re­turn to steam on the cards for both. Steven Hogg

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