On March 10th 1995 the 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.
Prior to its resoration in 2016, the end of the building the 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.
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.
Sadly funding for phases 2 and 3 of the restoration of the building was not immediately 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. During 2015 the Council restored the exterior of the building to a very high standard.
By 1997 work was well advanced converting the old building for its new role – A1SLT
By the end of the year the pit was finished and the structure was ready for fitting out – A1SLT
In 1999, further heavy machinery was acquired and moved in – A1SLT
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 1st – 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.
Tornado in light steam awaiting the launch day – A1SLT