THE archive of The Northern Echo contains many packets of photographs that have not been investigated for years.

There's one, bursting at the seams with 1960s pictures, is simply labelled "Darlington. Roads. Bypass. Workings."

Inside is a collection of pictures showing the A1 taking shape in the early 1960s as it swept north from Scotch Corner to Crumbley Corner - the name of the junction between Coatham Mundeville and Aycliffe Village.

Now that junction is simply No 59.

This stretch of motorway was very unusual in that it largely followed the trackbed of a railway: the Merrybent Railway which opened in 1870.

It ran off the Barnard Castle branchline at Merrybent and went south towards Scotch Corner to collect the stone and minerals from the quarries at Barton.

The pictures therefore are an almost unique record of that railway before it was obliterated by a road.

The A1 Darlington by-pass opened on May 15, 1965, and there's a remarkable, female-free picture of the ceremony.

If you can add any information to these pictures, please email