22 February 2021
'Green Arrow' returns to Doncaster almost 75 years on since it left the famous works, thanks to a partnership between the National Railway Museum and Doncaster Council.
Green Arrow has arrived in Doncaster to complete the line-up of locomotives in Danum Gallery, Library and Museum by joining No. 251 in a new rail heritage centre. Green Arrow travelled to Doncaster by road from Locomotion in Shildon where a team of specialist conservators and rail operations staff physically manoeuvred the historic locomotive into place over a period of 48 hours. Together with an array of rare artefacts from the Doncaster Grammar School Railway Collection and other fascinating rail exhibits, the rail heritage centre promises to be a ‘must be seen’ exhibition when the building opens later this year – subject to Covid-19 regulations.
Green Arrow and No. 251 will remain part of the national collection and will be loaned to the museum as static exhibits for an initial three-year period. During this period, another locomotive from the National Collection will take the place of Green Arrow, alongside No. 251. The move was carried out under social distancing and following Covid-19 guidance. Both locomotives are said to have taken several months of preparation and over a 1,000 hours of conservation from collection services, rail operations, engineering, and the volunteers at Locomotion.
Built in 1936 at Doncaster Works, 'Green Arrow' was the first of the V2 class locomotives to be built and it is the last surviving British 2-6-2 tender locomotive. It continued service through the nationalisation of the railways and was eventually withdrawn from British Railways service in 1962. CHARLOTTE GRAHAM
Designed by Sir Nigel Gresley, the V2 class was derived from the Class A1/A3 Pacifics and their construction continued between 1936 and 1944, despite the impact of WWII. Their reputation as a versatile and powerful locomotive was enhanced by their haulage during the war. Following its withdrawal in 1962, Green Arrow was selected for preservation and eventually returned to working order in 1972. It steamed, on and off, until 2008 when its boiler certificate expired.
Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, said: “The incredibly popular Green Arrow, together with No. 251, will spearhead a remarkable display of our great railway heritage, with many enthralling items going on public display for the first time. They tell a compelling story of the golden age of steam and the major contribution Doncaster has made to the rail industry. In March, we plan a special online preview of Danum Gallery, Library and Museum to give people a taste of what they can experience once it’s right for us to open the building. It will be a community asset packed with cutting edge services and local and national collections of significance and importance. It’s a great achievement to have delivered this public building during these difficult economic times and signals our intent and ambition for Doncaster. It will be a joy to behold.”
'Green Arrow' was carefully rolled into its new location at Danum Gallery. CHARLOTTE GRAHAM
Cllr Nigel Ball, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure and Culture, said: “Doncaster has taken express delivery of Green Arrow, a truly great locomotive loved and respected by hordes of people up and down the country. Having worked at Doncaster Plant in the past I look at Green Arrow and the other rail exhibits with great fondness. Our heritage is a treasure we must remember by sharing our many great achievements with residents and visitors. Danum Gallery, Library and Museum will be a great attraction and a place people can reminisce, explore, learn and much more besides. We want local people to aim for the stars and this community hub will help them do just that.”
Andrew McLean, Assistant Director and Head Curator at the National Railway Museum, said: “We are thrilled to be working alongside Doncaster Council to share the story of this fascinating locomotive. In the longer term we still see an operational future for Green Arrow, as outlined in our operational vehicle strategy. But for now to see this locomotive to return to where it was built will be a sight to behold.”
Another key element of the new rail heritage centre is the Doncaster Grammar School Railway Collection. It started in the 1930s when pupils and teachers at the school, now Hall Cross Academy, set up a railway society. As the years went by, the members created one of the biggest and most important collections of its kind packed with signs, nameplates, lamps, signal posts and thousands of other rail related gems. They were moved from Hall Cross Academy in 2020 and are now archived in the former Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery.
A selection of this collection will feature in Danum Gallery, Library and Museum and will be regularly refreshed to bring more historical items into the public gaze. Chris Barron, speaking on behalf of the Trustees of the Doncaster Grammar School Railway Collection, said: “This is the culmination of what we have worked on for several years. The new rail heritage centre gives the opportunity for everyone to see this unique and important collection for the first time. We have been grateful that Hall Cross Academy has continued to house the collection for over 70 years, but the problem was that few people ever got to see it. Although we can only display a small fraction of the entire catalogue, in partnership with Heritage Doncaster, we will be able to rotate the displays on a regular basis.
For further details on Danum Gallery, visit the Doncaster Council website.