Darlington Railway Centre Relaunches As Head Of Steam

By Georgi Gyton | 08 April 2008
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A photo of an AV installation

New AV feature in museum. Courtesy visitTeesvalley.

Around 4,000 people attended the relaunch of Darlington Railway Centre and Museum, now newly named Head of Steam – Darlington Railway Museum.

The museum has been closed for refurbishment since April 2007, and a relaunch event took place over the weekend of April 5 & 6 to celebrate the revamp.

Whereas the museum had previously been tailored more towards railway enthusiasts, it is now a lot more family friendly with a number of new exhibitions and a large number of new interactive features that will appeal to all ages.

The interactive displays include visual, auditory and sensory features, and visitors will also be able to learn about the history of Darlington through to the present day, and about the impact railways’ have had on the area.

A photo of a group of men shaking hands at the re-launch

(Above) From left to right: Mark Allatt (A1 Trust), Dr Keith Bartlett (North East Manager of Heritage Lottery Fund), Sir William McAlpine (Chairman of Railway Heritage Trust), Councillor Nick Wallis. Courtesy visitTeesvalley.

There are games such as ‘guess the job’, a two-train race game, moving 3D interactive features about how locomotives work, and on how to build a railway. There is also a new café, a children’s playroom and dressing up areas.

The launch weekend included live music from the Rhythm Kings, Cockerton Silver Jubilee Band, Buccherini Strings, Copperhead, North Tyneside Steel Band and 10th Avenue Street Band.

There was also entertainment from trapeze artists, street theatre companies, stilt walkers, face painting, character guided tours and story tellers.

“We’ve been looking forward to the launch of Head of Steam for sometime and I think visitors will like what they see,” explained Nick Wallis, Darlington Council's Cabinet Member for Health and Leisure.

“It combines the history of railways with the latest technology to provide an entertaining and educational experience.”

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