North East locomotive steams home

Mech. Navvies No. 71515 seen during its working life at Swalwell Opencast Disposal Point
Mech. Navvies No. 71515
The locomotive as it looks now

A historic North East steam locomotive is to return to the region after more than 40 years away.

Once a familiar sight roughly where Metrocentre stands now, Mech. Navvies No. 71515 left Tyneside in 1974 and has never returned since.

But this weekend (June 20-21) it will be back, almost within earshot of its former home, for a special event at the Tanfield Railway.

The locomotive was built at Robert Stephenson and Hawthorn's famous Forth Banks workshops in Newcastle in 1944.

Here the locomotive stayed into the 1970s, long after steam on the mainline network had vanished. It became well known by steam enthusiasts of the day but was finally retired in 1974 when it was saved from the scrap man and went on to a new life in Somerset.

This weekend it will be working alongside unique Consett Iron Company locomotive A No. 5 visiting from the North Tyneside Railway plus a trio of Tyneside built steam locomotives based at Tanfield.