Head of Steam Railway Museum
The Head of Steam Railway Museum, formerly known as the Darlington Railway Centre and Museum, first opened in 1975, and is housed within the North Road Station built in 1842.
This railroad museum has exhibits which are devoted to the area formly served by the North Eastern Railway and the railway industry of Darlington, and also focuses particularly on the Stockton and Darlington Railway, which was the world’s first steam powered passenger railway.
It currently displays the “Locomotion” No 1 built in 1825 by George Stephenson on the world’s first public railway. It hauled its first train on the Stockton and Darlington line on 27 September 1825, its prime purpose was for transporting coal from horse-drawn vehicles. The economical potential for carrying passengers was evident and the Stockton and Darlington Railway introduced steam hauled passenger services in 1833.
The Railway Museum also displays locomotives built in the 1800’s including one used on express trains and one in 1919 for freight trains, designed by and built by various organisations, including Timoth Hackworth and Sir Vincent Raven. For the train enthusiasts, the museum also holds a model of the Stockton and Darlington Railway.
In 1830 a branch was opened in Middlesbrough which became a major industrial centre. and further extensions took the line to Saltburn which helped in the development of a holiday resort. and westward into Teesdale and Weardale establishing vital links for development of iron and steel industry at Consett, and Stainmore across Pennines in West Cumberland. These examples give an indication of the wide-ranging economic and social benefits which resulted from development of the S & DR and associated lines; a feature which was to be repeated in areas of this country,
and throughout the world.
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