The countdown begins for the 200th anniversary of the Darlington & Stockton Railway


Three-year countdown begins for Darlington & Stockton 2025 Rail Celebrations

The three-year countdown to the Stockton & Darlington Railway bicentenary celebrations has begun.

A new branding was unveiled ahead of the historic 2025s event, depicting the original steam engine, the 26-mile rail line between Witton Park and Stockton and a historic two-hole sleeping stone.

Inaugurated on September 27, 1825, the railway was made unique by its combination of steam locomotives. The importance of the railway is said to have inspired engineers from the UK, Europe and the USA, while transforming society, trade and transport across the world.

At the heart of the celebrations are plans for a recreation of the maiden voyage from Witton Park via Shildon and Darlington to Stockton using the Locomotion No 1 replica. This will lead to the launch of a permanent tourist attraction linking museums and historic sites across line. .

Read more: Updated plans for the ambitious Darlington Head of Steam Museum

Schoolchildren from Corporation Road School visited Head of Steam for the first glimpse of the Locomotion No 1 replica in its new home

It is hoped that the activity will also spark dozens of mini-carnivals, parades and celebrations in communities along the route, and with a program of outdoor theatre, visual arts and events.

The bicentenary celebrations are organized by the S&DR Railway Heritage Partnership, which includes the Mayor and Combined Authority of Tees Valley, Darlington Borough Council, Durham County Council and Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, in conjunction with the National Railway Museum, Historic England, Network Rail, Friends of SDR and others.

Cllr Shane Moore, Tees Valley Combined Authority Chief of Staff for Culture and Tourism, said: “With just three years to go until the 200th anniversary of the railway that transformed the world, we are kicking off the proceedings by launching the brand that will accompany the celebrations and direct people to the events, activities and festivities taking place to honor him.

“The people of our region are rightly passionate about our rich railway heritage, and this enthusiasm extends across the world, as our innovation has played a role in the development of transport in so many countries.

“To mark the occasion, we are planning a slew of events for everyone – from families eager to learn more to die-hard rail enthusiasts – to ensure the event gets the recognition it deserves. Now the countdown has begun and we are ready to turn all eyes on us as we bring even more tourists to our cities and communities, which will ultimately boost our brilliant local businesses.”

Locomotion No 1 at Head of Steam in Shildon

Cllr Steve Nelson, Chief of Staff for Health, Leisure and Culture, Stockton on Tees Borough Council, said: ‘To mark the occasion, we are planning a host of events for everyone – from families keen to more to die-hard rail enthusiasts – to ensure that the milestone event receives the recognition it deserves. Now the countdown has begun and we’re ready to have all eyes on us as we bring even more tourists to our cities and communities, boosting our brilliant local businesses.

“Modern railways started here almost 200 years ago, we plan to celebrate the many ways they have changed our lives and changed the world. Events planned for 2025 will cater to all tastes, not just steam train enthusiasts.

Cllr Jonathan Dulston, Leader of Darlington Borough Council, said: “The start of the countdown to 2025 celebrations marks an important milestone in our preparations to mark this historic occasion.

“One of the things I love most about Darlington is the way it wears its railroad heritage like a badge of honour. We are ready and looking forward to playing a key role in the 2025 celebrations, with our tourist attraction world-class Steam leader which is currently under construction and expected to be completed on schedule in 2024.

“It will be at the heart of our 2025 celebrations here at Darlington.”

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economics and Partnerships, said: “The modern railway was born here in our region on September 27, 1825.

“It is truly exciting, on the anniversary of this date, to look forward to celebrations marking the bicentenary of this historic moment. “The Stockton and Darlington Railway transformed the way people and goods were transported . The program of activities that we have planned for just three years in 2025, drawing on local creativity and talent, will show that this innovative spirit of 1825 is still very much alive.

An artist’s impression of what the renovated Head of Steam Museum in Darlington might look like

Niall Hammond, Friends of the Stockton & Darlington Railway, said: “We are delighted that several years of work by a wide range of partners and funders are now beginning to deliver a fantastic event for 2025 and a permanent and sustainable tourist attraction. for the years beyond.

We expect the world-class legacy of the S&DR to inspire our communities and draw international audiences to help us celebrate the railroad that put the world on track.

Sir Peter Hendy, Chairman of Network Rail & London Legacy Development Corporation and Trustee of the London Transport Museum & Science Museum Group, said: “The opening of the Stockton and Darlington Railway represents the start of an era in which railways began to connect our family of nations and various communities across the UK.

“The 200th anniversary of this event is a historic moment which I am delighted to see the authorities of Durham and Tees Valley mark so positively and which will form an important part of the national celebrations planned.”

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