Is it just me, or is the NRM Locomotion site at Shildon rather disappointing? I visited yesterday, and wasn't hugely impressed by what was on offer. Given that the NRM is very good and widely recognised as one of the best museums in the country, I thought Locomotion would be up to a similar standard, albeit on a smaller scale, but I found it much poorer. For a start, the Welcome building and Hackworth cottage were firmly locked, which seems really strange and not a good start. I don't know if they have more restricted hours than the rest of the site, or if yesterday's closure was down to a post-World Cup England victory hangover, but I only found out afterwards that the Welcome building has some significant exhibits in it, including a lot of stuff that puts the museum in its local context as the birthplace of modern railways. The grounds around the main building were fairly interesting, but I was in for another disappointment when I got inside. There's some great exhibits in here, including some really historic stuff like APT-E and the prototype Deltic, but far too little is done to really show them off to the public, and the only access possible to most exhibits is from floor level, so you can't see inside. A lot of things are bunched up too much, making photography and a proper view really tricky, and this is inexcusable given that there's actually a lot of space available in the building. I really wanted to look at the 2-BIL unit, as I'm a big fan of the Southern and grew up in the middle of Southern Electric territory, but it was boxed in at both ends by other things, and there was no viewing platform allowing the inside to be seen - probably just as well, given that vandalism was evident on the inside, that no-one has bothered to repair or cover over. Also, it was on its own in a corner surrounded by unrelated exhibits, when the museum also contains a 4-COR motor coach, the Class 71, a Bulleid Pacific and the Night Ferry sleeping car, all of which grouped together would have made an excellent Southern display. Hardly any of the exhibits had much information provided, which makes it very hard for non-enthusiasts to appreciate their value or historical relevance. Also, what went into deciding which exhibits were on display in Shildon? Surely the Deltic and APT-E belong with other high-speed icons like Mallard, the Eurostar power car and the Bullet Train car at York? It led me to think that it is simply an overspill storage site like the LT Museum Depot at Acton, but not actually promoted as such, and without the efforts made at Acton to provide lots of things to do and help people interpret the exhibits. Maybe I'm being harsh, but it's possible to do much better than this, and I left feeling it's a wasted opportunity and a poor use of resources.