Exploring The S&DR

No other place in the world can showcase where the modern railway network began

Catch a train at Shildon

Ride on a train

Part of the original route of 1825 is still live railway line, conveniently connecting the two main railway museum attractions of Locomotion at Shildon and the Head of Steam Railway Museum at North Road in Darlington. Stay on board after North Road station in Darlington and head east over the Skerne Bridge just as the opening day participants did. The rest of the route to Stockton drifts on and off the line, but alight at Eaglescliffe for a trip to Preston Park Museum. Train times can be found at www.thetrainline.com/train-times

Walk the line

Much of the railway is accessible on foot, the two inclines at the west end of the line at Etherley and Brusselton are particularly well preserved. Self-guided walk booklets for the line can be downloaded for free here or purchased here. They can also be purchased at Locomotion in Shildon or the Railway Museum in Darlington.

Etherley Incline Today

Visit Locomotion

Locomotion Museum is located at what was once called New Shildon. As well as large modern engine sheds housing a range of engines, it has Kilburn’s Iron Warehouse of 1826 sitting alongside the line – an example of businesses moving premises to take advantage of the new railway. This is the new home of Locomotion No.1, the engine which hauled the train on the opening day in 1825. In 2025 it will spend half the year at the railway museum in Darlington. Hackworth’s house of 1830 has been recently restored and the impressive Coal Drops of c.1840 are all part of the early railway experience. Admission is free. From here you can catch a train to Darlington’s Railway Museum along the original 1825 route. Check their web site for opening times www.locomotion.org.uk.

Visit Darlington’s Railway Museum (Head of Steam)

This is located near North Road. It was here that the S&DR built a number of railway buildings many of which survive including the 1833 Goods Shed, the 1842 station and the 1856 Carriage works. A little to the east on the other side of North Road is the 1825 Skerne Bridge and the site of the 1826-7 Merchandising Station. Just down the road towards the town centre is the Railway Tavern (1826-7) and Edward Pease’s house and the site of the S&DR head offices.

The 1833 Goods Shed Window

Check their web site for opening times as the museum will close for improvement works ready for 2025 (and may also have a new name!) www.head-of-steam.co.uk

Visit Preston Park Grounds and Museum

The grounds of this museum include the earthwork remains of the 1825 route where Locomotion No.1 won the race against the horse drawn coach along Yarm Road. The nearest train station is Eaglescliffe. Use your self-guided walk booklet downloaded from here to help you spot more as you walk from the station.

Visit Stockton

The original S&DR buildings at St. John’s Crossing are still standing and can be viewed from the public path. This was a depot where goods and merchandise could be delivered and refreshments obtained at the Railway Tavern. Walk into Stockton’s High Street via the quayside where ships were once berthed to collect coal from the trains and see the Town Hall where the opening day banquet took place in 1825. You can catch a train to Stockton (Thornaby) from Shildon or Darlington.

Join the Friends of The Stockton & Darlington Railway

The Friends of the Stockton & Darlington Railway is a registered charity and Community Interest Organisation. It is a group of people who care deeply about the railway heritage of the North East of England and want to see the 1825 Stockton & Darlington Railway line receive the recognition and the protection it deserves as the start of the modern railway network from which all modern railways across the world developed.

The Friends of S&DR

The Friends run guided walks, carry out research and campaign to conserve and celebrate the remains of the S&DR.   Join us here.