Save Heighington Station
Why Save Heighington Station?
Heighington Station building was commissioned by the Stockton & Darlington Railway in 1826. It is one of the S&DR’s pioneering railway buildings, designed and built before railway stations had been invented. This building was a recognition by the railway company that users of the railway and its adjacent depot needed somewhere sheltered to wait on trains, to obtain refreshments and to act as a collection point for goods and parcels being transported by rail. As such it is now recognised as being the earliest railway station in the world. The building is Grade II* listed (n the top 8% of English Historic buildings), and officially ‘At Risk’. The full listed building description and history can be found here https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1322808?section=official-list-entry
The Site Today
The station buildings remained in their original use as accomodation for passengers and housing for railway workers until the station was downgraded in the 1970s to an unstaffed halt. They began to fall into disrepair until the story came full circle and the station building was purchased and renovated back into an inn in 1984, when it operated as an inn called Locomotion No. 1 until closure in 2017. A previous effort to reopen was sadly aborted after vandalism and criminal damage. Since then the building has remained empty and is at risk of once again falling into ruin.
Saving the Building for the Community
The Friends of the S&DR are seeking to purchase the property through a wide ranging fund raising campaign. Applications to amongst others the Community Ownership Fund and National Lottery Heritage Fund will hopefully be matched by public donations and the support of business and community. The world’s oldest railway station is of international heritage importance, and we want people from around the world help us save and make it accessible to all. Once purchased the Friends will seek to restore the buildings to reflect their origins as an early station and inn. This will include a Georgian themed inn offering food and drink to visitors and local residents as well as a space for local businesses and communities to meet.
The building is of course accessible by rail on the world’s oldest operating mainline, at the edge of the Aycliffe Business Park and a short distance from Heighington and Aycliffe villages. Roughly half way between Darlington and Shildon with their railway museums and connected by the new long distance S&DR walking route opening in 2025, help us to make it once again a place to welcome and serve travellers on the railway and tell the story of the Stockton & Darlington Railway where modern railways began 200 years ago.
How you can help?
The first phase of the rescue involves the purchase and reopening of the pub in time for the 2025 celebrations. This will cost approximately £500,000 of which we hope grant bodies will provide up to 80%. This leaves us with needing to raise £100,000 for the project. You can donate to the project through the donate link below. If you would like to discuss major sponsorship of the project or elements of it then please email firstname.lastname@example.org
We also need to demonstrate that there is support for our grant applications so please also sign our petition and offer us your support which will help us secure funding, it will cost you nothing but a few minutes of your time!
If you live in the area please let us know what the pub means to you and how the reopening of the pub will be a benefit to the community. You can do this by filling out the form below.
The form can also be downloaded as a .pdf and filled in by hand and posted to us.
Phase 2 will take place over a longer period of time and include further repairs, events and listening to all our supporters about what they would like to see happen on site (Georgian themed bedroom accommodation, model live steam railway?…we’re open to ideas!)
Thank you for your help.