Stockton & Darlington Railway 1825; The birthplace of the modern railway
On 27th September 1825, large crowds gathered to watch the opening of the Stockton & Darlington Railway which was generously funded and backed by a group of entrepreneurs, including Edward Pease. With George Stephenson at the controls, Locomotion No. 1 moved forward pulling 30 wagons carrying coal and flour, workmen and guests - including those lucky enough to ride in the railway passenger coach ‘Experiment’. Locomotion didn’t just pull one single train - it symbolically pulled the world into the mass transport era of the railway age. Here on the 26 miles of track that went through Shildon, Darlington and Stockton, engineering excellence combined with entrepreneurial zeal brought together the components of the modern railway for the first time. The S&DR, where the modern railway was born, provided the model from which all others would take inspiration and spread across the globe.
2025 will see the 200th year anniversary of this momentous occasion and offers an exciting opportunity for the region and the UK as a whole to celebrate this world changing event on a global scale.
Representatives from Darlington Borough Council, Stockton Borough Council and Durham County Council (the three Local Authority areas in which the Stockton to Darlington rail track enters); along with representatives from the National Railway Museum and the Friends of Darlington to Stockton Railway, have committed to working together to plan activities and events to mark this 200th anniversary of the Stockton and Darlington Railway.
We will keep this webpage up to date with developments in 2025 preparations and events in the run-up.
191st Anniversary celebrations
The 27 September this year marks the 191st Anniversary of the birth of the modern railway.
Exciting family friendly events are planned to celebrate Locomotion No.1’s 191st birthday across Darlington, Durham and Stockton.
Come along and join the party!
Details: Come along to Head of Steam and enjoy a Victorian themed family fun day, activities include children’s entertainer, flea circus, Punch and Judy, face painter, mini train ride, arts and crafts and a Victorian themed trail.
Details: Join us for a grand exhibition of Victorian locomotive contraptions! Get on board cabs of selected steam locomotives, take a steam train ride behind Furness Railway No. 20, and browse the excellent selection of steampunk trade stands!
Details: Track is an environmental work and moveable participatory installation by Graeme Miller that throws landscape through 90 degrees and sets it in motion. Face-up and camera-style, the viewer is gently pushed by their individual ‘grip’ on a slow journey along a 100 metre length of dolly track and invited to gaze upwards.
For the participant, the work creates a total shift in relationship with whichever environment it is installed, whether built or natural, indoor or outdoor. For the onlooker, that space is transformed by the vanishing tracks and the continuous, hypnotic motion of the viewers and the people pushing them.
191st Programme supported by: