A WORLD-famous steam locomotive, built in Newcastle almost two centuries ago, is returning to Tyneside.

Robert Stephenson’s iconic Rocket, built in 1829 and once the fastest locomotive in the world, will be on show at Newcastle’s Discovery Museum from 22 June to 9 September.

Rocket is on loan from the Science Museum Group and a special treat is in store for corporate visitors, who can not only enjoy a privileged, after-hours viewing of the engine and a talk from a Rocket expert, but also sample some traditional North East fare.

Rocket’s return to the North East – for the first time since 1862 – is part of the Great Exhibition of the North and it will be placed next to one of the museum’s permanent exhibits, Charles Parsons’ Turbinia; the world’s fastest steamship, when it was built at the end of the 19th century.

As part of the Rocket experience, the museum’s catering and events partner, Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events, has created two corporate packages for businesses and event organisers keen to showcase North East flair – and food – to their colleagues, clients or guests.

The most lavish is a formal seated dinner, with wine and a DJ set in the museum’s impressive, vaulted, art deco Great Hall.

Following a reception drink, guests will be served starters such as poached salmon with fennel and new potato salad and smoked chicken and pistachio or vegetable terrine.

Main courses of slow cooked beef with horseradish mashed potato, steamed roast breast of chicken with spinach and mushroom duxelle or goat’s cheese and red pepper tartlet, will be followed by either lemon meringue tart with praline cream or fruits of the forest cheesecake.

The second package is a drinks reception with canapés, which have been created to showcase local ingredients and reflect the region’s culinary history.

Both packages also include an expert talk on Rocket, which, like Turbinia, was famed not just for the speeds it could reach but also for its power and endurance.

Joanne Everett, sales and events co-ordinator for Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events, said the packages, which are available from 24 June to 9 September, offer a once in a lifetime opportunity to see two iconic feats of North East engineering side by side.

“In their day, they were the fastest in the world on rail and sea – and we are incredibly conscious of what a privilege it is to have them here together for the first and possibly the last ever time,” she said.

“We know there will be huge interest in this exhibition and our two corporate packages offer businesses the chance to give their colleagues, guests or clients an experience they will never forget in one of the city’s most interesting and spectacular settings.”

The dinner packages will be held between 7pm and midnight and cost £71 plus VAT per person for between 80 and 300 guests.

The drinks and canapés packages will be held between 7pm and 9pm and cost £27plus VAT per person for 80 to 120 guests.

For further information call 0844 856 1074 or e-mail events@twmuseums.co.uk.

www.museumweddings.org.uk.

The return of Rocket has been made possible thanks to money raised by National Lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).