Something To Get Steamed Up About!

On display inside the marquee and for many the star of the show will be the original memorial plaque which ‘disappeared’ from the original ticket office at Bridge House-St Johns Crossing several years ago. The plaque was rediscovered in July after it made a fleeting appearance on BBC Look North who were reporting on the recent takeover of the William Lane Foundry in Middlesbrough, the last traditional foundry in the old Ironmasters District of the town. Unfortunately after it was removed the plaque was forcibly folded to aid it’s removal and obvious intention of being melted down but this was thwarted by the police who passed it onto William Lane for safe keeping and possible restoration.

The plaque dates to 1925 and celebrates the centenary of the S&DR.  It was unveiled by the then Duke of York (later King George VI) and carries the LNER Coat of Arms together with those of the towns of Stockton and Darlington. It reads “Here in 1825 the S&DR booked the first passenger, thus marking an epoch in the history of mankind”.  As we now know, this isn’t quite correct, but it’s still a hugely important artefact and deserves better than it’s current condition and status. The estimated cost of repair is in the order of £2,000 but the plaque was not insured by the Bridge House charity and at present funding is still required to repair and re-instate the plaque although a more suitable and safer home such as Preston Hall Museum may be considered.

Photographs and details courtesy of David Thompson.

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The Brusselton Incline Walk: A Walk to celebrate the 192nd Anniversary of the Stockton and Darlington Railway on Wednesday 27th September meeting at 10.30am in the car park opposite the Whistle Stop Cafe in Redworth Road, Shildon. The walk will start at 11am. Further details can be obtained from Jane Hackworth-Young on 01833 627712 or email.

The Durham Music Service Evening Concert: Featuring Durham County Youth Big Band, Locomotive Rhythm and Durham Alumni Big Band on Wednesday 27th September at the NRM Locomotion, Shildon at 6.30pm. Free entry – all welcome.

LMS Tank No. 42477 at Jacksons Bakery c1964

An ex LMS tank no. 42477 with passenger train headed for Darlington. The photograph was taken on the 18th July, 1964 at Jacksons Bakery which used to be in Yarm Road between Stockton and Eaglescliffe. I believe there is a garden centre there now. The railway used to have four tracks, two for Stockton and two for Thornaby. Now there are just two tracks with the Stockton and Thornaby lines diverging near to where the photograph was taken with the A66 dual carriageway crossing the lines nearby.

Photograph and details courtesy of Garth McLean.

Hartburn Signal Box c1965

This photograph was taken when Hartburn signal box was still in existence and there were 4 tracks. Because it was near the road, the signal box was a favourite spot for trainspotters in the winter because the fire chimney backed onto the road and you could warm yourself on the wall. For those interested in the railway aspect the loco is a WD and is hauling a northbound freight in December 1965. Such a difference now but at least the railway is still there and Ropner Park too.

Photograph and details courtesy of Garth McLean.

Stockton & Darlington Railway Brass Plaque, ‘Tittybottle Park’, Eaglescliffe

This small park in Eaglescliffe is bounded by Yarm Road, Albert Road and Victoria Road, the names give a clue to its age and origin as the houses are mostly well established of Edwardian design dating back to the late 19th century with larger and slightly older houses being found in The Avenue nearby. The park will be familiar to many as the Eaglescliffe War Memorial stands within it but also here is another piece of history. A brass plaque explaining the quaint naming of the park mounted on a relic of the original Stockton & Darlington railway. A relic I had walked past many times but had never taken the trouble to read and which should be afforded greater provenance given its historic significance. Taken December 2016.

Photographs and details courtesy of David Thompson.

Large Load on Belasis Avenue, Billingham

This is a group of four images of one of the many large loads that were transported into I.C.I. Billingham. They were taken on Belasis Ave, Billingham as the load negotiates the various obstacles, and attracted a large crowd. We have this dated around 1983/1984, only because I was using slide film at that time.

Photograph and details courtesy of Alec Moody.

Billingham Bus, Billingham Town Centre

A Teesside Municipal Transport bus outside of the bowling alley in Billingham Town Centre, I can hazard a guess as to the date, I think it is very likely to be about 1969.

Before the formation of Teesside County Council this bus was part of the Stockton Corporation fleet and it looks to me as if the advertising poster on the side of the bus is covering up the old logo, it took many months to re-paint the fleet in the new colours, of course a few years later the fleet was renamed ‘Cleveland Transit’.

My wife remembers using the number 51 to travel to work in Stockton in the late 1960s and early 1970s, prior to that time the Corporation ran the 10 and 10A from Billingham town centre to Willey Flatts in Yarm and also ran the 2 and 2A, the 2 ran from the Transporter Bridge to Stockton High Street and the 2A from Cowpen Village to Stockton High Street, I seem to remember that the 2A wasn’t a full time service.

Photograph and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

High Speed Train approaching Yarm c1979

The images is of a High Speed Train, lead power unit number 254 018 (I believe the trailing power unit would be 254 019), which is in British Rail Intercity 125 colours. The first image was taken from Aislaby Road bridge as the train was approaching Yarm viaduct, and the second as the same train started to cross the viaduct. Probably early 1979.

Photographs and details courtesy of Alec Moody.