1825 Walk at Preston Park, 23 October 2015

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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.

7 thoughts on “1825 Walk at Preston Park, 23 October 2015

  1. I use to live at 51 Albert Road, Eaglescliffe, close to the line of the original track, and recall that in the front garden path there was what appeared to be one of the original stone sleepers. It had four holes for shoe holding down bolts. I wonder if it’s still there?

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  2. I trust that the Clarence Railway and its historic North Shore Branch, ,which led to the growth of a number of important concerns will not be overlooked in these proceedings. My understanding is that the first real Stockton Station was situated near Tilery, where the North Shore Branch passed over Norton Road.

    We ought not to forget that it was the machinations of Edward Pease et al, which led to Stockton effectively being bypassed, the Stockton and Darlington Railway terminating at Port Darlington, ie Middlesbrough Docks as they came to be known.

    The Stockton and Darlington, by charging excessive fees for the use of a small section of their line by the Clarence Railway helped bankrupt the company.

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    • I agree with you absolutely Mr. Starr, and we must remember that the Clarence had the distinction of being ‘the first Railway ever to be built with the clear purpose of competing with one already at work’ (Jack Simmons, ‘The Victorian Railway’). The North Shore Branch alone served far more industry in Stockton than the S&D ever did.

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  3. It would be good if a new comemorative track could be laid along the original route where possible, even if it means digging up or digging out things in the way, one of this areas greatest heritage should not be lost within undergrowth

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    • There is a footpath which runs through the wood and parallel to much the original track bed. At one time there were some information or interpretation boards mounted on wrought iron sewing machine frames alongside the footpath but these were continually vandalised and removed several years ago .
      I understand that new boards will be supplied and the site ‘tidied up’ with possibly more archaeological work done too but when, I don’t know? At the moment all the running and impetus seems to be coming from the Darlington end of the line who appear to have gotten a good ‘Head of Steam’ up!

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      • I used to work at Visqueen on Yarm Road and I believe a photo in reception used to show an aerial view of the site with the old railway track marked out that ran, I believe, alongside the old fence of the plant near the roadside.

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