Campaigners plan tourism boost with Darlington and Stockton Railway trail

The Northern Echo: Campaigners plan Darlington and Stockton Railway cycle and footpath trail Campaigners plan Darlington and Stockton Railway cycle and footpath trail

A HERITAGE group aims to boost North-East tourism by creating a footpath and cycle track along the route of the world's first passenger railway.

The Friends of the 1825 Stockton and Darlington Railway is drawing up plans to develop the 26-mile route of the line.

The proposals are still at an early stage but the friends group hopes to attract rail enthusiasts to the area to provide an economic boost to the region.

Alan Macnab, organiser of the friends group, said: “We have something unique here. We want to raise the profile of the railway as it was the first steam passenger railway in the world.

“This is not just of local or national importance but of international importance as railways changed the way that we travel.

“We hope to bring in tourism with a footpath and cycle track to help boost regeneration locally and to create jobs as tourism is a multi-million pound industry.

“I’ve no idea how much it will cost to create but it’s a worthwhile and exciting idea.”

The railway ran from Witton Park Colliery, near to Bishop Auckland, via Darlington to Stockton between 1825 and 1863.

It was built to connect County Durham’s coal mines with Stockton and Darlington.

Northern Rail still operates on a track which follows the route of the original line near Bishop Auckland and also at Middleton St George, near Darlington.

At present the friends group is trying to locate the exact route of the 1825 line as some of it has become lost over time.

The friends group is in talks with bodies across whose land the railway passes such as Stockton Council and Darlington Borough Council.

Funding applications are to be lodged and it is hoped to have the work underway by the railway’s 200th anniversary in 2025.

The Brusselton Bridges Preservation Group, which is looking to repair two damaged bridges on the route of the railway near to Shildon, County Durham, is offering help.

Mike O’Neill, of the Brusselton group, said: “We’d like to tie in with this but it’ll take a lot of hard work to make the scheme happen.”

Details on the scheme can be found at facebook.com/groups/304912612980375/

Comments (14)

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10:03pm Thu 23 Jan 14

LUSTARD says...

should be easy to find the line of the track using the splendid google maps
should be easy to find the line of the track using the splendid google maps LUSTARD
  • Score: -2

10:18pm Thu 23 Jan 14

jps101 says...

Well I'd definitely like to cycle it, but as I'll be 70 in 2025 it might just be too late for me.
Well I'd definitely like to cycle it, but as I'll be 70 in 2025 it might just be too late for me. jps101
  • Score: 1

10:52pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Andyleigh says...

LUSTARD wrote:
should be easy to find the line of the track using the splendid google maps
I think that you will find that Google was not around in 1825. Much better to use Ordnance Survey maps in the Durham County Record Office.
[quote][p][bold]LUSTARD[/bold] wrote: should be easy to find the line of the track using the splendid google maps[/p][/quote]I think that you will find that Google was not around in 1825. Much better to use Ordnance Survey maps in the Durham County Record Office. Andyleigh
  • Score: 3

2:59am Fri 24 Jan 14

Colcat says...

Andyleigh wrote:
LUSTARD wrote:
should be easy to find the line of the track using the splendid google maps
I think that you will find that Google was not around in 1825. Much better to use Ordnance Survey maps in the Durham County Record Office.
Or maybe they could use Google's satellite photos which are with the Google maps, as I'm sure LUSTARD meant!
[quote][p][bold]Andyleigh[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]LUSTARD[/bold] wrote: should be easy to find the line of the track using the splendid google maps[/p][/quote]I think that you will find that Google was not around in 1825. Much better to use Ordnance Survey maps in the Durham County Record Office.[/p][/quote]Or maybe they could use Google's satellite photos which are with the Google maps, as I'm sure LUSTARD meant! Colcat
  • Score: 1

10:49am Fri 24 Jan 14

MSG says...

The part in the whinnies at Middleton St George that was re-surfaced by McLeans builders is now overgrown and nearly lost again. Once you re-surface it you keep on top of it !
The part in the whinnies at Middleton St George that was re-surfaced by McLeans builders is now overgrown and nearly lost again. Once you re-surface it you keep on top of it ! MSG
  • Score: 0

10:56am Fri 24 Jan 14

Homshaw1 says...

Great Idea

There is a railway line runs Whitby to Scarborough and it seems to be a major source of enjoyment for walkers and cyclists and generates economic activity - cycle hire etc.

This could be even better
Great Idea There is a railway line runs Whitby to Scarborough and it seems to be a major source of enjoyment for walkers and cyclists and generates economic activity - cycle hire etc. This could be even better Homshaw1
  • Score: 2

11:34am Fri 24 Jan 14

Alan Macnab says...

Abssolutely agree Hornshaw. In the USA they have rail trails where they use disused railway tracks for cycling and walking. It brings people to the area spending money and creating jobs. Evidence from English Heritage indicates that businesses relocate to those towns which have historuic buildings and sites.
Abssolutely agree Hornshaw. In the USA they have rail trails where they use disused railway tracks for cycling and walking. It brings people to the area spending money and creating jobs. Evidence from English Heritage indicates that businesses relocate to those towns which have historuic buildings and sites. Alan Macnab
  • Score: 1

11:54am Fri 24 Jan 14

Homshaw1 says...

Alan Macnab wrote:
Abssolutely agree Hornshaw. In the USA they have rail trails where they use disused railway tracks for cycling and walking. It brings people to the area spending money and creating jobs. Evidence from English Heritage indicates that businesses relocate to those towns which have historuic buildings and sites.
Yes. Take a ride through history. Should be a marketing and Tourist Information Officers dream.
[quote][p][bold]Alan Macnab[/bold] wrote: Abssolutely agree Hornshaw. In the USA they have rail trails where they use disused railway tracks for cycling and walking. It brings people to the area spending money and creating jobs. Evidence from English Heritage indicates that businesses relocate to those towns which have historuic buildings and sites.[/p][/quote]Yes. Take a ride through history. Should be a marketing and Tourist Information Officers dream. Homshaw1
  • Score: 1

12:24pm Fri 24 Jan 14

jps101 says...

Alan Macnab wrote:
Abssolutely agree Hornshaw. In the USA they have rail trails where they use disused railway tracks for cycling and walking. It brings people to the area spending money and creating jobs. Evidence from English Heritage indicates that businesses relocate to those towns which have historuic buildings and sites.
We have them here as well Alan
Bishop - Willington - Durham,
Durham - Consett.
The Castle eden walkway Stockton - Sunderland.
to name just two there are many more check out sustrans website.
[quote][p][bold]Alan Macnab[/bold] wrote: Abssolutely agree Hornshaw. In the USA they have rail trails where they use disused railway tracks for cycling and walking. It brings people to the area spending money and creating jobs. Evidence from English Heritage indicates that businesses relocate to those towns which have historuic buildings and sites.[/p][/quote]We have them here as well Alan Bishop - Willington - Durham, Durham - Consett. The Castle eden walkway Stockton - Sunderland. to name just two there are many more check out sustrans website. jps101
  • Score: 1

1:13pm Fri 24 Jan 14

pixie4612 says...

If it's a 26 mile route it might be good as a running track as well as for cycling.
If it's a 26 mile route it might be good as a running track as well as for cycling. pixie4612
  • Score: 0

4:20pm Fri 24 Jan 14

trugggg says...

I have never been able to understand why Darlo and Stockton councils have never cashed in on this. Plenty of information boards along the route and the odd café.
Some years ago I once met a man who had travelled from Norway to visit the home of passenger railways in Darlington. He was disappointed that all that was on offer was the museum.
This should generate a bit of income for the area from the railway buffs.
I have never been able to understand why Darlo and Stockton councils have never cashed in on this. Plenty of information boards along the route and the odd café. Some years ago I once met a man who had travelled from Norway to visit the home of passenger railways in Darlington. He was disappointed that all that was on offer was the museum. This should generate a bit of income for the area from the railway buffs. trugggg
  • Score: 3

4:48pm Fri 24 Jan 14

Homshaw1 says...

trugggg wrote:
I have never been able to understand why Darlo and Stockton councils have never cashed in on this. Plenty of information boards along the route and the odd café.
Some years ago I once met a man who had travelled from Norway to visit the home of passenger railways in Darlington. He was disappointed that all that was on offer was the museum.
This should generate a bit of income for the area from the railway buffs.
The whole area is undersold. Weardale, Teesdale Swaldale, Wensleydale, North York Moors and the Cleveland Hills and the gorgeous Coast Line.

Not stuck for places to go within an hour of Darlington
[quote][p][bold]trugggg[/bold] wrote: I have never been able to understand why Darlo and Stockton councils have never cashed in on this. Plenty of information boards along the route and the odd café. Some years ago I once met a man who had travelled from Norway to visit the home of passenger railways in Darlington. He was disappointed that all that was on offer was the museum. This should generate a bit of income for the area from the railway buffs.[/p][/quote]The whole area is undersold. Weardale, Teesdale Swaldale, Wensleydale, North York Moors and the Cleveland Hills and the gorgeous Coast Line. Not stuck for places to go within an hour of Darlington Homshaw1
  • Score: 1

7:09pm Fri 24 Jan 14

trugggg says...

Homshaw- How true that is.
I am sure that with the right investment there is money to be made and jobs created from our very rich heritage. I was born in Middlesbrough and I always talk about my home town with pride. I have lived in Darlo ( under orders from the wife!) and that town too does not blow its own trumpet nearly enough.
Short sightedness from the planners in this area means we have lost historical buildings such as the first passenger railway bridge over the Skerne, and the Royal Exchange buildings in Middlesbrough.
Homshaw- How true that is. I am sure that with the right investment there is money to be made and jobs created from our very rich heritage. I was born in Middlesbrough and I always talk about my home town with pride. I have lived in Darlo ( under orders from the wife!) and that town too does not blow its own trumpet nearly enough. Short sightedness from the planners in this area means we have lost historical buildings such as the first passenger railway bridge over the Skerne, and the Royal Exchange buildings in Middlesbrough. trugggg
  • Score: 1

8:47pm Fri 24 Jan 14

Luther95 says...

trugggg wrote:
Homshaw- How true that is.
I am sure that with the right investment there is money to be made and jobs created from our very rich heritage. I was born in Middlesbrough and I always talk about my home town with pride. I have lived in Darlo ( under orders from the wife!) and that town too does not blow its own trumpet nearly enough.
Short sightedness from the planners in this area means we have lost historical buildings such as the first passenger railway bridge over the Skerne, and the Royal Exchange buildings in Middlesbrough.
Agreed Truggg that the Middlesbrough Exchange was a huge loss - and I worry for the future of the old Town Hall in St Hilda's, boarded up and forgotten in the middle of a wasteland.

My sense is that Darlington has been much more careful (and been lucky) at key points over the last fifty years and has retained more of its heritage than either Middlesbrough or Stockton.

The first passenger bridge over the Skerne (the '£5 note bridge') is still very much there, for example http://www.thenorthe
rnecho.co.uk/history
/railway/stockton/31
66608.How_first_rail
way_architect_became
_a_figure_of_note/

There are long-standing plans to run a cycle route under the bridge between Haughton and the town centre which should open the bridge up to a lot of new admirers!
[quote][p][bold]trugggg[/bold] wrote: Homshaw- How true that is. I am sure that with the right investment there is money to be made and jobs created from our very rich heritage. I was born in Middlesbrough and I always talk about my home town with pride. I have lived in Darlo ( under orders from the wife!) and that town too does not blow its own trumpet nearly enough. Short sightedness from the planners in this area means we have lost historical buildings such as the first passenger railway bridge over the Skerne, and the Royal Exchange buildings in Middlesbrough.[/p][/quote]Agreed Truggg that the Middlesbrough Exchange was a huge loss - and I worry for the future of the old Town Hall in St Hilda's, boarded up and forgotten in the middle of a wasteland. My sense is that Darlington has been much more careful (and been lucky) at key points over the last fifty years and has retained more of its heritage than either Middlesbrough or Stockton. The first passenger bridge over the Skerne (the '£5 note bridge') is still very much there, for example http://www.thenorthe rnecho.co.uk/history /railway/stockton/31 66608.How_first_rail way_architect_became _a_figure_of_note/ There are long-standing plans to run a cycle route under the bridge between Haughton and the town centre which should open the bridge up to a lot of new admirers! Luther95
  • Score: 0

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