From the Riverside Museum Press Pack:
Glasgow’s Riverside Museum is the UK’s newest and most exciting visitor attraction.
Located on the banks of the River Clyde, the world-class Riverside Museum is a marvel of design and engineering. Moored outside is the 19th-century sailing ship Glenlee, creating an iconic destination that explores our histories and embraces our future.
Inside the Zaha Hadid-designed museum, visitors will be struck by the stunning displays, packed with fascinating exhibits, high-tech and hands-on interactives, and inspiring and moving stories. They’ll be able to walk down our re-created 1900s street, drive a locomotive and tackle a tenement fire. They’ll be able to meet artists and entrepreneurs, dancers and drivers, peace protesters and shipwreck survivors. With more than 3,000 objects on display, from skateboards to locomotives, paintings to prams, velocipedes to voiturettes, there is something for visitors of all ages. Entry to Riverside Museum is free.
The South African Railways locomotive 3007
The South African Railways locomotive 3007, built in Glasgow in 1944–45, is destined to become one
of the highlights of the Riverside Museum. At almost four metres in height and 22.5 metres in length,
it’s not just physically impressive, it’s also a magnificent testament to Glasgow’s engineering legacy
and the effect its people and exports have had – and continue to have – upon the rest of the world.
Locomotive 3007 was taken out of service in 1988 and lay neglected, awaiting the scrap heap for
almost 20 years. Aesthetically the locomotive was in remarkably good condition when Glasgow
Museums staff rescued it. Internally, however, Loco 3007 had significantly deteriorated. On its return to
Glasgow, Loco 3007 underwent an extensive seven-month programme of conservation (about 7,500
hours!) and research prior to its move to Riverside in late 2010.
The history of locomotive 3007
Glasgow was once home to Europe’s largest manufacturer of steam locomotives, the North British
Locomotive Company. The company had three sites in the city, and it was at its Queen’s Park Works
in Polmadie that locomotive 3007 was built.
The class 15F locomotive was built in 1944–45 as part of an order of 60 such locomotives for
South African Railways. It cost £19,600 – almost £2 million in today’s money. In April 1945, it was
shipped to South Africa, where it was in service until 1988. During this time it hauled passenger and
freight trains, and towards the end of its working life it was used to shunt rolling stock in railway yards.
In 1987 the locomotive was involved in an accident in Bloemfontein, the provincial capital of the
Free State, and the next year it was finally taken out of service. From then until autumn 2006 it sat
on a siding in a Bloemfontein locomotive yard, destined for the scrapyard. Fortunately it was saved
by Glasgow Museums, who bought it in a sealed bid auction from the South African government rail
organisation Transnet, with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Loco 3007’s long journey back to Glasgow started with a final rail journey across South Africa, from
Bloemfontein to the coast at Durban, pulled by a diesel and electric locomotives. From there it was
shipped to Hamburg, Germany, before being transported by another ship to Immingham, England.
From Immingham it was taken by road to Glasgow, and in 2007 was displayed at George Square
to help launch the Riverside Museum Appeal. FirstGroup helped fund the return operation and subsequent conservation.
A truly significant locomotive
The North British Locomotive Company built 204 15F class locomotives between 1938 and 1948. The last order, for 100 of these locomotives, was in 1947. This was the largest single type order made by South African Railways.
The 15F class was a very powerful steam locomotive, vital for the heavy trains that were moved across great distances and over steep mountain ranges in South Africa. The 15F type was the backbone of South African Railways, and was the most common single type of steam locomotive in all of Africa. There were 255 15F locomotives used in South Africa alone, and many were used to pull the famous Blue Train from Johannesburg to Cape Town. Most were built by the North British Locomotive Company; the rest were made by German and other British firms.
Displaying the South African Railways locomotive 3007
Following its arrival back in Glasgow in 2007, SAR 3007 underwent considerable conservation work. Six ScotRail apprentices, working in teams of three, and over a period of 18 months, helped Glasgow Museums conservators in bringing the locomotive back to its working state. Museum curators also tracked down some of the North British Locomotive Company workers who built the locomotive. Their accounts, experiences and memories are a key part of the displays surrounding this mighty machine.