How the North East Branch of the Friends of the National Railway Museum acquired a Merry Go Round

The North East Branch meets every Tuesday at ‘Locomotion’ the National Railway Museum which opened at Shildon, County Durham in 2004.

Members usually meet in the café for a cuppa before starting their volunteer duties and it was over a cuppa that a member suggested it would be a good idea to have a Shildon built Merry go Round Wagon (MGR) at Locomotion as over 10,000 of these wagons had been built at the Railway Works in the town which closed in 1984. This would complement the prototype MGR wagon on display which had been built at Darlington.

This was raised at our regular committee meeting in 2009 attended by the museum manager, George Muirhead. In principle, George said he would welcome a Shildon built wagon but he could only promise that it would be on display in the sidings at the front of the museum. He said it would be ideal (if the funds could be found) to mount it on a plinth at the entrance to the museum. It was also discussed if two wagons became available we could have one mounted near the former railway works as a reminder of 150 years of Shildon Railway Works.

No further progress was made as the branch finances could not fund this project. We contacted the NRM at York to see the possibility of York purchasing a wagon but were told that as they already owned the prototype MGR wagon they would not purchase another.

It was while, for some unknown reason, I was browsing the EWS Ltd railway website that I found a number of diesel locomotives an