Plans for a new £5.9m collection building at Locomotion in Shildon have been revealed as part of an exhibition to be displayed this month.

The 2000m2 collection building is expected to open in 2023 ahead of celebrations to mark the bicentenary of the Stockton & Darlington Railway in 2025. The new building will house up to 45 rail vehicles, in addition to the 87 already on display in the existing collection building, to create one of the world’s largest collections of rail vehicles.

The building is said to become the centrepiece of a programme of improvements taking place at Locomotion as part of the National Railway Museum’s ‘Vision 2025’ masterplan. These include repairs to the site’s historic buildings, the display of the original Locomotion No.1 and the relocation of the historically-significant Gaunless Bridge.

Designed by AOC Architects, the new building at Locomotion was originally due to open in 2022 but was delayed as a result of the pandemic.

The exhibition to reveal the plans will be on show at Locomotion next week, and there will be a face-to-face open session at the museum with project team members, before the plans are submitted for approval later in the year.

Dr Sarah Price, Head of Locomotion, said the building project would help in the move towards net zero carbon across the site.

“This will create a lasting legacy for the area as we celebrate the bicentenary of the Stockton & Darlington Railway in 2025,” said Price.

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships said the new building “will not only revitalise the site and attract more visitors but also showcase the dynamic culture and rich industrial heritage of County Durham, which is a key reason why the county is bidding for UK City of Culture 2025.”

Locomotion opened in 2004 and is part of the Science Museum Group. The museum is a partnership between the Science Museum Group and Durham County Council, which is a major funder of the museum.

The museum received a share of £3.5m regional ‘Levelling Up’ funding following a successful bid by Durham County Council, which will see upgrades to the visitor car park, assistance with landscaping and further repairs to the historic coal drops.

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