A PRIVATE collection of railway memorabilia, including stations signs from Oswestry and Ellesmere, will go up for auction next month.

At Hall's Fine Art Auction, to be held on May 5, five totem signs (railway station signs), including Pant, Oswestry, Ellesmere, Llanymynech and Gobowen, which will be bid on by collectors driven by a passion for the age of steam.

Estimated at low-mid-hundreds each, they are expected to surpass these estimates.

And for the hardcore locomotive fans there are a number of attractions including shed plates and a lantern, but the star of the show is the cast-iron Nunney Castle nameplate.

This will be sold with the cabside number plate and smokebox plate for the same locomotive (5029).

All were displayed in pride of place in the sitting room of the vendor’s home.

The other nameplate for this Oswestry locomotive sold for £17,860 (including premium) in 2003.

Given the market has changed since and this example has some damage on the top edge the estimate is £4,000 to 6,000.

Head of Fine Art at Halls, Gerry Berwyn-Jones, said it was 'impossible' to tell what the Nunney Castle plate would sell for.

"There is only one precedent for this locomotive nameplate at auction and so it is impossible to know what it will fetch at auction, especially in the current marke," he said.

"Nunney Castle was built in May 1934 and withdrawn from service in December 1963.

"The locomotive was then sold to the Great Western Society."

The other part of the collection features a number of model steam engines.

All of the engines are O-gauge and well made, with metal bodies, chassis and buffers.

The Great Western Railway locomotive ‘Dartmouth Castle’, is the pick of the collection, with its line painted green livery and is estimated to go for between £200 and 400.

"Whether a train enthusiast, or a model railway purist there is plenty to satisfy both parties," added Gerry.

"Aesthetics, authenticity and nostalgia for the former and action, precision engineering and entertainment for the latter.

"What unifies all though is a shared passion and the great fun that comes from indulging in one’s true hobby, in one of the most romantic of all modes of transport – steam locomotives."