Locomotive returns to Glasgow from South Africa

31 Jul 2007

The Herald, by Alison Chiesa

It's coming home. A famous Scottish steam engine is nearing the end of a remarkable 6000-mile journey to Glasgow after being in South Africa for more than 60 years.

The Mountain Class engine - designed and built in the Scottish city in 1945 for South Africa's harsh terrain and vast distances - pulled the renowned Blue Train from Johannesburg to Cape Town until being mothballed in 1988. The locomotive arrived in the Humber port of Immingham yesterday in the latest stop on its journey home. In a complex operation the engine, weighing around 200 tonnes, was lifted ashore to be stored in Hull before returning to Glasgow.

It will reach the city by road around the end of August before undergoing painstaking restoration. The process is scheduled for completion by the opening, in 2010, of the new Riverside Museum. The steam engine will be the focal point for the Riverside, on the banks of the Clyde.

Built by the North British Locomotive Company at Polmadie, it is widely regarded as one of the finest examples of British engineering, underpinning the city's former dominant role as a manufacturer of steam engines. John Burnie, museum committee chair- man of the Scottish Railway Preservation Society, based in Bo'ness, said the organisation was "delighted" the steam engine had been recovered.


Reproduced with the permission of The Herald (Glasgow) © Newsquest (Herald & Times) Ltd.

  • Artist's impression of Riverside Museum where the locomotive will be the focal point, image supplied by Glasgow City Council

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