Closure at Plant Works means end of the line for 150 years of history

A LONG and rich era of railway history reaches the end of the line tomorrow when the famous Doncaster Plant Works shuts its doors for the final time.

The last engine to be constructed at the home of The Flying Scotsman and the Mallard was scheduled to roll out of 'The Plant' today before plans to turn the land into a massive housing, retail and business complex go full steam ahead.

Project manager Richard Miller said it would be an emotional day for him and his Wabtec colleagues when a line is drawn underneath 153 years of train tradition.

"Obviously people will be feeling very sad when it closes," he said. "This will be the last locomotive to come out of the old Crimpsall works.

"Everbody here has still got a job at Wabtec Rail - that's the good thing about it. But people will definitely feel that it's the end of an era, particularly those in the railway industry.

"There's a lot of history here and it's a shame for the history of the town."

More than two thousand steam locomotives were built at the 75-acre Kirk Street site during a proud history stretching back to 1853.

Part of the works, where carriages and wagons were produced and a variety of maintenance work was performed, were sold off following privatisation but the Crimpsall workshop has remained open until now - after a contract was secured in 2003 to maintain the Class 91 locomotives that serve the east coast main line.

The jewels in The Plant's crown have remained The Flying Scotsman, the first locomotive to reach 100mph, and the record-breaking Mallard, which achieved a top speed of 126mph in 1938.

Some of the works' most celebrated engines returned to the site in July 2003 for a two-day gala celebration marking 150 years of production at the plant.