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Model railway


There are many local railway organisations that are located on the museum site or work with the museum on a regular basis.  If you have an interest in railway heritage, heritage railways or railway modelling why not join one of the groups.


Darlington Railway Preservation Society (DRPS) is run entirely by volunteers to preserve Darlington’s railway heritage and restore significant locomotives and artefacts for the enjoyment and education of future generations.

They meet every Tuesday night in the Old S&D Goods Shed, North Road, Darlington (next door to the Head of Steam museum) at 18:00. Please feel free to drop in.

They will also be open at other times so please check website for details of times and dates. [external link]

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust – a registered charity – has built a completely new ‘A1’ to the original design and with the help of the latest technology. Fitted with additional water capacity and the latest railway safety electronics, Tornado is fully equipped for today’s main line railway.  The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust has decided to set itself a new challenge: to develop, build and operate an improved Gresley class P2 Mikado steam locomotive for main line and preserved railway use.

The A1 are based in Hopetown Carriage Works and are re-opening to the public on the first and third Saturday of each month via the pre-booking system on their website. [external link]

North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group (NELPG) is a charity run by volunteers. Members are a mixture of old and young who are skilled and unskilled enthusiasts.  NELPG publishes its own bi-monthly newsletter 'NELPG NEWS' and has monthly evening meetings between  September and May in the Darlington Club and Institute. For those who like to get their hands dirty there are working parties at Grosmont on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, and at Hopetown Carriage Works, Darlington on Monday and Thursday evenings. [external link]

South Durham Society of Model Engineers (SDSME) is located just four miles outside Darlington in the village of Hurworth.

The club caters for all people with an interest in things mechanical. We meet in the community centre basement (every Tuesday at 7pm), where a workshop is located.  The Club has a multi-gauge elevated circular track situated in the grounds. The track is used on the first Sunday of each month throughout the year and provides rides for members, friends and public (provided the weather is not too bad).  They have a portable track which is used to provide rides at local events (including Head of Steam Museum). [external link]

Darlington Model Railway Club (DMRC) is based in The Goods Agents Office on McNay Street.  DMRC has met at the Museum site since 1991, but was formed in 1971, meeting for many years at the Americana Fish Bar in Bondgate.  The club work on various model layouts and exhibit around the country at different exhibitions. The popular Thomas the Tank engine layout is exhibited in the museum at various events, and the club have recently established a Model Railway weekend at the museum in September. [external link]

North Eastern Railway Association (NERA) was founded in 1961 and caters for all those interested in the railways of North-East England.  They cover the territory of the former North Eastern Railway, extending roughly from north of Doncaster to the Scottish border, and from the east coast to the Yorkshire and Durham dales. The NERA Archive consists of photographs, books, timetables, maps, plans, diagrams and other official railway documents. NERA are based in The Goods Agents Office on McNay Street. [external link]

Friends of Darlington Railway Museum were established in 1975 to support, promote and encourage interest in the Railway Centre and Museum, and to raise funds by membership subscriptions and other means, to further the aim of helping the museum. The Friends help the Museum with technical advice, provides guides when needed and have a stall selling second hand books and DVD's to raise funds. A Friends Newsletter is produced four times a year to report on activities of the Friends and other articles of railway interest. 

They hold monthly meetings on the first Thursday of each month (except August) and occasional special meetings.[external link]