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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 September, 2004, 09:28 GMT 10:28 UK
10m railway village nearly ready
Timothy Hackworth's Sans Pareil was built in Shildon in 1829
Timothy Hackworth's Sans Pareil was built in Shildon in 1829
One of the north of England's most ambitious tourism projects is on course to open before the end of the month.

The Shildon Railway Village in County Durham is an outpost of the York-based National Railway Museum.

Work is almost complete on the site, which will house up to 60 carriages from the York collection, along with a workshop for restoring locomotives.

The 10m complex, which will admit visitors for free for at least three years, is due to open on 25 September.

The project has received 2m from the European Regional Development Fund as well as money from a number of regional and national funding bodies.

It is hoped the complex will breathe new life into the former coal and rail village.

Artist's impression of Shildon Railway Village
The complex is due to open on 25 September
Anthony Coulls, collections care manager, said: "We are going all out for getting the exhibition completed.

"We are also having the railway inspector coming to check us out to make sure we can give people rides.

"And we've got the last few locomotives arriving ready for our opening at the end of the month, so it's all hands to the pumps."

Mr Coulls added: "I think people will agree that the absolute star of the museum will be the original Sans Pareil loco that was made in Shildon by Timothy Hackworth in 1829.

"It took part in the trials again Stephenson's Rocket and that has come home to Shildon for the first time since 1829.

"It will be in our welcome building and will be one of the first things people see when they come to the museum."

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