AN HISTORIC public house on a site which played a major role in the North-East’s transport past is up for sale.

Locomotion No 1 pub sits opposite the platform of Heighington train station, Newton Aycliffe, where its namesake and first steam locomotive to run on the Stockton and Darlington Railway (SDR) was assembled on the tracks in 1825 - heralding the start of the railway system in Britain.

Dating back almost 200 years, the public house and former Heighington Station is now up for sale and will be auctioned at the Gosforth Marriot Hotel, in Newcastle, next month with a reserve price of £230,000 plus VAT.

Chris Watson, of Events DTV, which is handling the sale on behalf of the owner, said: “It has been pubs over the years on and off but they haven’t worked and it has been closed for a long time.

"Hopefully it will go to the right person who can do something with it.” Mr Watson said interest had already been shown by a prospective buyer who would like to see it reopened as a pub and extended as a business, with the addition of a caravan park or glamping area.

Its current owner bought the property in 2011.

The business was set to reopen earlier this year but Durham Police said the landlady’s plans were dashed by a burglary in July.

The building comprises the kitchen and pub, a cellar, flat and bedrooms upstairs, the old ticket office and platform, a car park and land to the rear.

According to a booklet by the Friends of the Stockton and Darlington Railway (FSDR), the original part of the building, closest to the tracks, was completed in 1827 and opened as an inn two years later having finally secured a licence.

By 1848 it was no longer in use as a pub and the building eventually housed a station master and his family.

Extensions made to the Grade II-listed building throughout the centuries have included major additions between 1841 and 1851 and as recently as 1980.

A spokesperson for FSDR said: “The pub itself is one of the first lineside buildings, built in the days before anyone had developed the modern concept of a station, so the publican was expected to do everything: sell train tickets, receive parcels and sell coal while also serving beer and knocking up a quick snack for his customers.

"The pub is one of just three anywhere in the world that can tell this story – the others are in Darlington and Stockton – although its great boast may be about having the world’s oldest railway platform.

"It is an extremely rare and in many ways unique piece of local history that has a worldwide interest, and it is very sad to see it in such a forlorn state.”

It is hoped it can be brought back to life in time for the line’s 200th anniversary.