Vintage cars bring a fresh mode of transport to Sunderland rail museum

The 1963 Rover P4
The 1963 Rover P4
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TWO vintage cars have undergone a radical revamp as they gear up to feature in a new museum development.

The display at Monkwearmouth Station Museum is almost ready to be revealed and new attractions have been put in place ahead of its opening this month.

Two important railway vehicles, which have been parked at the Sidings area of the museum since 1977, have undergone extensive conservation and restoration work.

The Sidings closed its doors in 2005 to allow work to begin on the new building, which will house the vehicles.

The newly restored Covered Carriage Truck will hold a classic 1963 Rover P4 car, on loan from the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, Hampshire as part of the new displays.

The car is typical of those carried on British Railways Motorail services in wagons of this type during the late 1950s and 60s.

Martin Routledge, keeper of history at Sunderland Museums, said: “These wagons are a true rarity – if they could talk they could tell fascinating stories of their role, and that of the railways, in delivering the raw materials and products of British industry, as well as moving people’s belongings around.

“It’s been very exciting to see the final pieces of the new displays come together, with the arrival of the classic Rover V4 the displays are coming life.”

Jo Cunningham, manager of Sunderland Museums, added: “It was great seeing the car arrive and the wagons are immaculate thanks to many hours of specialist conservation work.

“We’re looking forward to sharing this with our visitors - it’s a whole new era for Monkwearmouth with so much more to see and do in our new permanent display.”

The wagons are a Covered Carriage Truck built at Darlington in 1939 by the London North Eastern Railway and a Goods Brake Van built at Shildon by the North Eastern Railway in 1916.

Rovers were top-of-the-range family cars built to high standards of quality and luxury and became known as “the poor man’s Rolls-Royce”.

Made in Solihull, near Birmingham, this car has a 2.6 litre engine and a top speed of just over 100mph.

It became part of the National Motor Museum’s collection in 2005, having had only one owner from new.

The displays, interactives and films in the Wagon Shed will tell the remarkable stories of these vehicles and the important role the railways have played in our history.

The new development opens its doors to the public on October 22.

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