Posted by: travelrat | January 4, 2018

Head of Steam

Head of Steam museum Darlington

Darlington: 23rd December 2017

The old Darlington/North Road railway station is a most appropriate place for a rail museum, for it was from very near here that, on the 27th September, 1825 that Locomotion No. 1, driven by George Stephenson, set off for Stockton carrying the first-ever passengers on a railway hauled by a steam locomotive,

Contrary to popular belief, though, Stephenson didn’t ‘invent’ the railway. They had been in existence in mines and quarries since mediaeval times, sometimes driven by stationary steam engines, or locomotives. Nor was it the first passenger railway; people had travelled on such contraptions before, but drawn by horses. He was, however, the first person to bring railways, steam locomotives and passengers together, and take them any distance.

The real hero, Locomotion No.1, has been preserved, and is exhibited at the Head of Steam Museum, which now occupies most of the site at North Road Station. Also on show are several locos and carriages from the days of the North Eastern Railway.

Locomotion No 1

However, North Road station has been largely replaced by the main line Bank Top station. But, the platform is still in use, and serves a minor branch line to Bishop Auckland. You can ride this train to the National Railway Museum’s annex at Shildon … from where Stephenson drove his train to pick up its passengers at Darlington. A historic line, indeed!

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