Posted by: travelrat | June 22, 2017

Shildon

 

ShildonShildon: 19th May 2017

If you have any interest in railway history, Shildon, near Darlington, is a place of pilgrimage. It was from Shildon in 1825 that the steam engine Locomotion, with George Stephenson at the controls, made its way to Darlington to pick up passengers for the run to Stockton, becoming the first-ever steam-hauled passenger rail service in the world.

It may have passed under what’s claimed to be the first … and therefore, the oldest … railway bridge in the world. It’s still in existence, although it’s now part of a larger bridge.

The Bridge, Shildon

(Here, I expect a lot of people will jump up and declare ‘That’s just a bridge, though … a railway bridge carries the railway OVER a road or river or whatever!)

Shildon was originally an engine factory, but was better known as a wagon works. When the manufacture of these ceased, it became an annex to the National Railway Museum … the main museum, in York, was running out of space, and where better to establish the extension than the former wagon works?

There’s a lot to see here, although it’s all static. Engines, of course, and carriages; especially notable are the luxurious ones used by various Royalty.

It’s not the first time I’ve been to Shildon. Some years ago, I came by train … and I thought at the time it was such a shame to ride in a shabby unit that had seen better days, over the line over which it all started.

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