7th March 2006 - Award of Grant
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded a grant of £50,000 to restore a Darlington built steam locomotive for active display at museums and railway centres across the North East.
The grant will allow the North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group to return to steam the last surviving J72 class tank engine dating from 1951 and give public access to its Hopetown workshops within the North Road Museum complex. Local people will be able to follow the restoration through monthly public access days, where volunteers on the project will be able to take them through the restoration process and the history of the engine, complimented by interpretation boards that will be developed for display at the workshops. The website will also be developed to show the progress of the project online.
This award comes in the fortieth anniversary year of the closure of the North Road Locomotive Works and the project will once again see an engine overhaul being undertaken in the town.
Commenting upon the announcement David Pennock of the locomotive group said 'We are delighted with the award and proud that a part of Darlington's Railway heritage has been recognised. We are always looking for new members and this is an ideal opportunity for anyone wishing to come and join us.' Further information and contact details are available on the Group's web site at www.nelpg.org.uk.
Keith Bartlett, Regional Manager for HLF in the North East, said; "The J72 is a great example of the North East's railway heritage and HLF is delighted to be able to fund its restoration and associated access and education programme. It will provide an important heritage resource for both local people and visitors to the region, offering a wealth of history that is vital to the area, as well as improving access to this magnificent example of our steam heritage."
The restoration work will start immediately and from May the workshop will be opened monthly for the public to view progress and learn about keeping alive a piece of Darlington's past. The engine will be restored over a period of two years by local enthusiasts with working parties regularly taking place during weekday evenings.
Heritage Lottery Fund
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) enables communities to celebrate, look after and learn more about our diverse heritage. From our great museums and historic buildings to local parks and beauty spots or recording and celebrating traditions, customs and history, HLF grants open up our nation's heritage for everyone to enjoy. In the North East £153 million has been distributed to over 900 projects.