Stockton & Darlington scheme gets £700K heritage grant

A SCHEME to preserve the history and heritage of the route of the Stockton & Darlington Railway – the world’s first public steam-operated line – and turn it into a world-class visitor attraction has been given a £700,000 boost.

Historic England has awarded the grant through its Heritage Action Zone programme. It will see work carried on features along the 26-mile route of the original line in advance of its 2025 bicentenary.

Nineteenth-century Darlington artist John Dobbin’s best-known work is the Opening of the Stockton to Darlington Railway, depicting the first train running over the Skerne Viaduct.

Sites for repair and restoration will be identified, while other projects will focus on the development of skills and training.

Friends of the Stockton and Darlington Railway chairman Trish Pemberton said: “We have been working to raise the profile of the railway for many years, and save its important heritage.

“We are so pleased that this will help us achieve this, and more importantly, make sure that the economic regeneration it can stimulate is maximised, and that new generations know about it and value it.”

Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen said: “Celebrating the birthplace of the modern railway is a critical part of the Tees Valley’s and County Durham’s heritage and we see developing and interpreting this internationally significant asset as a critical element of our economic development strategy.”

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