Half-a-century later, the coal-driven train is providing as much pleasure to countless people as it ever did.
To mark the occasion a 50th Anniversary weekend is to be held over July 2 and 3.
The 16 places where most crime was reported across South Tyneside in June
Extension plans rejected for South Shields home
‘Sinister’ paedophile watched children play and offered them doughnuts after moving into new neighbourhood
‘It could have been much worse’ – see pictures of fire devastation at Hebburn home
Angry patient trashed doors at South Tyneside District Hospital after falling asleep and missing treatment
It begins at 10.30am on Saturday, July 2 with a reopening ceremony by Anthony Coulls, historian and senior curator of Rail Transport at the National Railway Museum in York, followed by an opening train recreation.
The railway began in the early 1970s as an idea from engineers and enthusiasts Jack Wakefield and Don Proudlock. A special trio was completed by the third founder, Micheal Henderson who still owns the railway today.
The day is also significant as for only the second time in the railway’s history there will be up to six visiting and resident locomotives working in the park. The engines are arriving from as far as Crewe in Cheshire and Malvern in Worcestershire.
Another special visitor will also be coming from what was Scotland’s oldest miniature railway, Auld Reekie, from the Kerr’s Miniature Railway in Arbroath which sadly closed in 2020.
Auld Reekie is the sister of South Marine Park’s own original engine, Mountaineer. It will be the first time the two have ever “met” or are likely to ever do so.
There is also a dash of royalty in the form of two 1924 Wembley Exhibition carriages, once rode in by George V during a rare public appearance.
Organisers say the railway is the last public steam-hauled working railway of the 9 ½ inch gauge to be found anywhere in the country. So a gathering of such engines is very rare.
Mark Nunn is Lakeshore Railroad’s archivist and events and marketing manager.
He said: “Having been operating for half a century, we are now seeing grandparents bringing their grandchildren for a trip, having been on themselves as a child.
“After all these years too it’s still the same engines, same carriages, same people and most importantly the same friendly ethos keeping it running.”