The Stockton and Darlington Railway celebrates it’s bi-centenary in 2025 and although still ten years away plans are now being made not only to celebrate the occasion but to make sure that the events of nearly 200 years ago are recognised locally, nationally and internationally. Both borough councils as well as Durham County Council and the National Railway Museum have come together to ensure that the railway line receives the recognition it deserves and with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund a supporting group, the ‘Friends of the Stockton & Darlington Railway’ has been formed .
The Friends held their first workshop at the NRM Locomotion in Shildon back in June and are holding their second one at Preston Park Museum from 10am on Friday 6 November . As well as workshop discussions there will be an afternoon walk along the original 1825 track-bed which runs through Preston Park and which is the only significant remaining length of the original railway in the Stockton area. The track-bed runs parallel to the busy A135, Yarm Road, and is now the subject of a self-guided walk leaflet available from the museum and which points out the track route, it’s cuts and embankments, sidings and spurs and even a ramp and possible platform, the shape of which is now almost lost among the under growth.
As a precursor to the workshop the Friends arranged two guided walks on the 23 October which were both led by Robin Daniels of Tees Archaeology and who will also lead the November walk too. I went along on the morning walk and was one of a group of fifteen or so people who were keen to know more about this local gem sadly hidden from view by creeping undergrowth and a boundary hedge dividing main road from railway track, indeed a boundary hedge which probably has it’s roots, pun intended, in the original 1825 Preston Hall hedge!
Photographs and details courtesy of David Thompson.