Fund to relocate historic loco reaches its target

A fighting fund to bring back a historic locomotive to the place where it was originally constructed has reached its target in style.

Tuesday, 11th September 2018, 4:34 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th September 2018, 4:37 pm
One of the GEC Stephenson locos designed by Walter Urwin

Campaigners from the Newton and Earlestown Community Group (NECG) have been raising funds in a bid to return the Walter Urwin loco back to Vulcan, where it was originally forged in 1976.

An engineer at the former Vulcan Works who lived in nearby Wargrave, Walter died shortly after designing the GEC Stephenson Loco which now bears his name.

The line was the last to ever come out of the works, which can traces it history back to a foundry established in 1832 and once counted Robert Stephenson among its former directors.

Staff from the Vulcan Works with one of the Urwin locos

Seeing service at the Redcar steel mill until its closure in 2015, the loco in question eventually found its way into private hands, where it was located by the community group.

Threatened with ending up in a scrap yard, a £25,000 appeal was launched, with the ultimate goal of transferring the engine so it could stand at the entrance to the former works, which is now situated in front of a huge housing complex.

Once installed, the loco will form part of the Newton-le-Willows Heritage Trail, which also features Randall's Arch, in High Street, the Nine Arches over the Sankey Canal, the former Parkside Colliery and Willow Park.

Their target was achieved with a wine and gin tasting night at St Peter's Church in Newton, hosted by Riddling Rack, a new bar set to open on High Street.

One hundred and fifty tickets were sold for the gathering and supporters were able to enter a raffle to win one of 100 prizes. By the end of the night £700 had been raised.

Alexandra Myhill, a director of the Riddling Rack, said: "We are delighted to have been able to help with meeting the loco fund target.

"All of the directors at the Riddling Rack either grew up in Newton or have lived here a long time and we are thrilled that we are able to put something back in to our community.

"We look forward to working with NECG more when the bar opens later this summer.”

Coun Seve Gomez Aspron said: "The investment from Alex and the team shows an ever increasing confidence from investors in Newton-le-Willows High Street, which Is fantastic for our town.

"Even better when these new businesses support community causes such as this. Great work all round from The Riddling Rack and NECG in helping to preserve our proud town's historic identity."