Darlington-Borough-CouncilThe summer holidays may be drawing to a close but there’s still plenty of fun coming up at the Head of Steam – Darlington Railway Museum.

The museum has a packed programme of events starting in September, offering something for everyone from art exhibitions to model railways, lectures and family fun days.

Darlington Model Railway Club will be hosting its latest exhibition at the museum on Saturday and Sunday 3 and 4 September,10am-4pm. The exhibition will feature a range of model railways, both standard and narrow gauge, from club members as well as visiting layouts from across the North East. Admission is included with the normal entrance fee.

The North Eastern Railway Association (NERA) will be curating a special exhibition following on from its spring display celebrating the 175th anniversary of the opening of the railway between Darlington and York. The latest exhibition, Flat out for York, will include more than 100 images depicting the locomotives that have carried passengers on the line, including a few famous named expresses. It opens on Wednesday 7 September and will run until Wednesday 30 November.

Also this month, the Splendour of Steam will be celebrated as artist Stephen Bainbridge showcases a range of works in acrylic, limited edition prints and cards all focusing on the theme of steam railways.

Born in Leicester, Stephen is a retired teacher who now lives in Newton Aycliffe. His pictures reflect his lifelong passion for steam railways and Stephen always aims to produce paintings that are detailed and technically accurate, as well as portraying the atmosphere of the days of steam. He is currently working on a study of the P2 2007 ‘Prince of Wales’ currently under construction at Darlington.

The exhibition opens on Saturday 10 September in the museum’s temporary exhibition gallery and will run until Sunday 30 October.  Admission is included with the normal entrance fee.

The Head of Steam has also signed up to take part in this year’s Heritage Open Days initiative offering free entry to the museum on Saturday and Sunday 10 and 11 September, 10am-4pm.

The latest in the Afternoon Lecture series, organised by the Friends of Darlington Railway Centre and Museum, also kick off in September with the first a talk by Gary Campbell, Manager at the National Railway Museum (NRM) Shildon entitled “Locomotion under new management and The Flying Scotsman”. The lecture takes place on Thursday 1 September, at 1.45pmin the Head of Steam meeting room.

Then on Thursday 22 September, at 1.45pm, the focus will be on “Hitachi Rail, Newton Aycliffe – The First Year”. The Afternoon Lectures are free to Friends members; non-members are also welcome, contact the museum for details of membership and prices.

Visitors can also enjoy a ‘Grand Day Out’ as the museum hosts a Victorian Fun Day on Sunday 25 September, 10am-4pm, harking back to the era when the former North Road Station was built, in 1842, to serve the Stockton and Darlington Railway Line.

Activities will include mini train rides, face painting and Victorian-themed arts and crafts as well as a traditional Punch and Judy Show, a Flea Circus, magic show and balloon modelling and a special Victorian-themed trail around the museum. Entrance is just £1 and is free for family membership pass holders.

Sarah Gouldsbrough, Acting Manager at the Head of Steam, said:

“Our packed programme of events is sure to offer something for everyone and we look forward to welcoming many new visitors, as well as old friends, in the weeks and months ahead.

“We’re particularly delighted to be able to once again combine art and history with the Splendour of Steam exhibition and the NERA displays are always very popular with visitors.”

For more information about the Head of Steam – Darlington Railway Museum and its events programme call 01325 405060, visit www.head-of-steam.co.uk or log onto www.darlington.gov.uk/darlingtonevents or you can emailheadofsteam@darlington.gov.uk.