Could live steam be back on Stockton & Darlington for 2025?

By Niall Hammond

AMBITIOUS plans to conserve and promote the route of the Stockton & Darlington Railway – the world’s first modern locomotive-powered line – in the lead up to major celebrations for its 200th anniversary are now taking shape.

A partnership of the three local authorities, the Tees Valley Combined Authority, the National Railway Museum, Historic England, Friends of the Stockton & Darlington Railway and industry partners such as Network Rail, Hitachi Rail (whose state-of-the-art train factory sits next to the 1825 line) and train operating companies LNER and Northern Trains, are now all working together as a rail heritage board for the sole purpose.

Two icons of Britain’s railways: A3 Pacific No. 60103 Flying Scotsman crossing the S&DR Skerne Bridge of 1825, the world’s oldest continually-used railway bridge. In a separate story, on Friday, January 11, No. 60103 headed the ‘Scotsman’s Salute’ memorial tour honouring the late Sir William McAlpine from King’s Cross to the NRM at York, where Class 90 No. 90028 was officially named after him. PETER GIROUX

Studies have been commissioned to examine what survives of the 1825 line and what needs conserving, how to improve access, the overall interpretation and what the celebrations of 2025 look like.

In 2018, Historic England designated the full length of the track as a Heritage Action Zone, providing extra focus and resources.

The Friends not only want see major celebrations in 2025, but also to look at the long-term care of and access to the line.

Plans are developing to establish a walking and cycling rail trail using the route of the 1825 S&DR from Witton Park to Stockton-on-Tees, to ensure that the physical remains of the S&DR are protected, recognised and conserved.

Read more in Issue 250 of HR – on sale now!

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