Riverside Museum

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The story of Glasgow’s biggest and newest locomotive

with 2 comments

The South African Railways locomotive 3007 will be the largest object in the new Riverside Museum. At just under four metres in height, it absolutely dwarfs anyone standing next to it. I found this out for myself when I first saw it in Bloemfontein in South Africa, in April 2007.

My colleague Louise Lawson, Riverside’s Head of Conservation, and I were lucky enough to be able to visit and assess SAR loco 3007 before it was moved to Glasgow. After 20 years in the scrap line, it was time to come back to the city of its creation. Louise and I were tasked with completing a conservation report, which would be the basis for all the work that would have to get done to make the locomotive ready for display. But even after all those years exposed to the elements, the locomotive was in very good condition – a testament to the men of the North British Locomotive Company who constructed it.

My first encounter with SAR loco 3007 was at a working railway yard at Bloemfontein, South Africa, in 2007. There, it was readied for the epic return journey to Glasgow.

To me, Loco 3007 is a vital addition to Glasgow Museum’s transport collection. It represents Glasgow’s industrial heritage and how this city’s engineering experience and expertise was exported across the globe. In its engineering heyday, the city of Glasgow produced more steam locomotives than any other city in Europe. The South African Railways locomotive 3007 is a perfect example of this great industry.

The months of hard work that has gone into conserving this metal monster is truly amazing. Gone is the rusting hulk, replaced by a proud, shining engine. I know that visitors will be wowed when they see it up close in Riverside Museum.

And now that SAR loco 3007 is in Riverside, the story of its journey – from its construction in Polmadie in 1945 to its export to South Africa and its return home – is complete. It spent more than 40 years in constant service across South Africa and another 20 years on the scrap line – a unique 60-year history, and one that I feel privileged to have had a small part in. 

Slideshow: South African Railways locomotive 3007 arrives at its final destination

Slideshow: The conservation of South African Railways locomotive 3007

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2 Responses

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  1. […] biggest move we’ve made recently has been the South African Railways locomotive 3007 – featured on this blog and in the press. I was lucky enough to courier both the engine and the […]

  2. Saw the TV documentary on her move to Glasgow- a massive undertaking!!

    Paul Strathdee

    February 19, 2011 at 7:53 pm


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