The following was sent to me over the weekend by a newspaper syndication
company. I'm just off to book my hols to the island of Sanserif . . .
WEMBLEY LOCOMOTIVE TO BE DUG UP
IN the year in which the FIFA World Cup is to be held in Korea and Japan, a
consortium of south-east Asia businesses, Wembley Investments plc and Brent
Council are pleased to announce the joint sponsorship of an archaeological
excavation in advance of the redevelopment of Wembley Stadium, London.
Originally known as the Empire Stadium, after the British Empire Exhibition
for which it was built, Wembley Stadium is the spiritual home of English
football - from the ‘White Horse Cup Final’ of 1923 to the last game staged
there, in October 2000.
Plans are currently at an advanced stage pending the award for the design of
the New Wembley Stadium. One feature of the design is to be an underground
car-park. Ahead of construction, a six-week programme of excavation has been
built in to the developer’s schedule.
The primary aim of the excavation is the recovery of a steam locomotive. The
locomotive was used to transport prefabricated concrete sections to the site,
and was abandoned and buried at the end of the Stadium’s construction.
It is believed the locomotive is an A1-class 01-04-02 ‘Gresley Pacific’, of
similar design to the famous LNER No. 4472 ‘Flying Scotsman’, designed by
Sir Nigel Gresley (1876-1941), which was itself displayed at the British
Empire Exhibition in 1924 and 1925.
The practice of burying constructor’s equipment at the end of a project has a
modern parallel. At the end of the Channel Tunnel project, a Tunnel Boring
Machine (TBM) was driven below the Tunnel’s floor level and capped with
concrete. This was the most cost-effective method of disposing of that
In all the years of Wembley’s use there can have been few amongst the
thousands of people to have appeared there - from the world’s greatest
sportsmen and women, to pop-stars, royalty, Nelson Mandela and the Pope - who
knew about the long lost steam locomotive lying beneath their feet.
Excavation of the ‘Wembley Locomotive’ is due to begin on 2 June 2002, the
date of England’s opening game in this year’s World Cup Finals.
It is hoped that if the locomotive is recovered substantially intact, it can
be restored and brought back to steam, in time for the opening ceremony of
the New Wembley Stadium.
For Wembley facts and statistics:
For Wembley views:
For Wembley trivia, and further information on the locomotive: