Stockton and Darlington Railway

Stockton and Darlington Railway

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The Stockton and Darlington Railway (S&DR), which opened in 1825
1825 in rail transport
-April events:* April 19 - The La Plaisance Bay Harbor Company receives a charter to build a half-mile railroad in Monroe, Michigan, the first charter issued in the area that will become that state.-June events:...

, was the world's first publicly subscribed passenger railway. It was 26 miles (40 km) long, and was built in north-eastern England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 between Witton Park
Witton Park
Witton Park is a village in County Durham, in England. It is situated to the west of Bishop Auckland.- Famous people born in Witton Park :* Brigadier General Roland Boys Bradford VC -- youngest ever Brigadier General in the British Army at 25 * Hebrew scholar Dr...

 and Stockton-on-Tees
Stockton-on-Tees
Stockton-on-Tees is a market town in north east England. It is the major settlement in the unitary authority and borough of Stockton-on-Tees. For ceremonial purposes, the borough is split between County Durham and North Yorkshire as it also incorporates a number of smaller towns including...

 via Darlington
Darlington
Darlington is a market town in the Borough of Darlington, part of the ceremonial county of County Durham, England. It lies on the small River Skerne, a tributary of the River Tees, not far from the main river. It is the main population centre in the borough, with a population of 97,838 as of 2001...

, and connected to several collieries
Coal mining
The goal of coal mining is to obtain coal from the ground. Coal is valued for its energy content, and since the 1880s has been widely used to generate electricity. Steel and cement industries use coal as a fuel for extraction of iron from iron ore and for cement production. In the United States,...

 near Shildon
Shildon
Shildon is a town in County Durham, in England. It is situated 2 miles to the south east of Bishop Auckland and 11 miles north of Darlington. It is 13 miles away from Durham, 23 miles from Sunderland and 23 miles from Newcastle-upon-Tyne...

. Planned to carry both goods and passengers, the line was initially built to connect inland coal mines to Stockton, where coal was to be loaded onto sea-going boats. Much of its route is now served by the Tees Valley Line
Tees Valley Line
The Tees Valley Line is a name for the railway route between Bishop Auckland and Saltburn via Darlington and Middlesbrough. Also operated on the line are services from Newcastle-upon-Tyne to Middlesbrough and Saltburn via Darlington....

, operated by Northern Rail
Northern Rail
Northern Rail is a British train operating company that has operated local passenger services in Northern England since 2004. Northern Rail's owner, Serco-Abellio, is a consortium formed of Abellio and Serco, an international operator of public transport systems...

. It was also the longest railway at the time. Over the next 38 years it steadily expanded into a substantial network serving south and west Durham, Cleveland and Westmorland, and running trains across Cumberland to within a few miles of the west coast. It was taken over by the North Eastern Railway
North Eastern Railway (UK)
The North Eastern Railway , was an English railway company. It was incorporated in 1854, when four existing companies were combined, and was absorbed into the London and North Eastern Railway at the Grouping in 1923...

 in 1863, but by agreement continued to operate independently for a further 10 years.

Planning and construction



The necessity of an efficient transport network for County Durham
County Durham
County Durham is a ceremonial county and unitary district in north east England. The county town is Durham. The largest settlement in the ceremonial county is the town of Darlington...

 had been realised as far back as 1767 by George Dixon
George Dixon (Cockfield Canal)
George Dixon , was a chemist, mathematician, engraver, china-painter, engineer, geologist and coalmine operator, who helped pioneer the use of coal gas in heating and gas lighting - one of his gas experiments leading to the destruction of his own house...

 and other coalmine operators. Loads of coal and iron ore had been moved by horse and cart over great distances to the nearest port. Various schemes were proposed, the most practical having been a system of canals. This was shelved because of the enormous cost, and rivalry between various towns, all of whom wanted to be included in the route.

Conceived by wealthy local wool merchant Edward Pease
Edward Pease (1767-1858)
Edward Pease , a woollen manufacturer from Darlington, England, was the main promoter of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, which opened in 1825.-Background and education:...

, the S&DR was authorised by Parliament in 1821 and was initially intended to be an ordinary horse-drawn plateway
Plateway
A plateway is an early kind of railway or tramway or wagonway, with a cast iron rail. They were mainly used for about 50 years up to 1830, though some continued later....

, which were then commonplace in the United Kingdom. However, George Stephenson
George Stephenson
George Stephenson was an English civil engineer and mechanical engineer who built the first public railway line in the world to use steam locomotives...

 had been perfecting his engines at Killingworth
Killingworth
Killingworth, formerly Killingworth Township, is a town north of Newcastle Upon Tyne, in North Tyneside, United Kingdom.Built as a planned town in the 1960s, most of Killingworth's residents commute to Newcastle, or the city's surrounding area. However, Killingworth itself has a sizeable...

 for about seven years, and had built the Hetton colliery railway
Hetton colliery railway
The Hetton colliery railway was an 8-mile-long private railway opened in 1822 by the Hetton Coal Company at Hetton Lyons, County Durham, England. It was the first to be designed from the start to be operated without animal power, and was George Stephenson's first entirely new line. When it closed...

. With the help of his manager from Killingworth colliery, Nicholas Wood
Nicholas Wood
Nicholas Wood was an English colliery and steam locomotive engineer. He helped engineer and design many steps forward in both engineering and mining safety, and helped bring about the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers, holding the position of President from its...

, he persuaded Edward Pease, on the day that the Act received Royal Assent, to allow him to resurvey the route and work it, at least partly, by steam.

Accordingly, a new Act of Parliament was obtained approving Stephenson's changes to the route, and a clause added to permit the use of "loco-motive or moveable engines". This latter clause narrowly escaped being struck out of the bill because of officials not understanding the meaning. The bill also included provisions for transporting passengers although, at the time, they were regarded as little more than a sideline. John Lambton, later Earl of Durham
John Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham
John George Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham GCB, PC , also known as "Radical Jack" and commonly referred to in history texts simply as Lord Durham, was a British Whig statesman, colonial administrator, Governor General and high commissioner of British North America...

, inserted a stipulation limiting the charge for coal to Stockton-on-Tees for shipment to ½d per ton per mile compared with 4d for land sale to protect his own exports from Sunderland. Ironically this formed a vital element in the success of the railway.

He had given up on the "steam springs" that were proving unsuccessful at Hetton, but retained other improvements, such as the direct connection of the pistons by crank rods, though the wheels were coupled by gears. He also made improvements to the track to overcome the problems with settling of the stone blocks on which they were laid, and used T-section malleable iron
Malleable iron
Malleable iron is cast as White iron, the structure being a metastable carbide in a pearlitic matrix. Through an annealing heat treatment the brittle as cast structure is transformed. Carbon agglomerates into small roughly speherical aggregates of graphite leaving a matrix of ferrite or pearlite...

 in fifteen foot lengths, for the rails, pioneered by John Birkinshaw
John Birkinshaw
John Birkinshaw was a 19th Century railway engineer from Bedlington, Northumberland noted for his invention of wrought iron rails in 1820. Up to this point, rail systems had used either wooden rails, which were totally incapable of supporting steam engines, or cast iron rails typically only 3 feet...

 at Bedlington Ironworks
Bedlington Ironworks
Bedlington Ironworks, in Blyth Dene, Northumberland, England, operated between 1736 and 1867. It is most remembered as the place where wrought iron rails were invented by John Birkinshaw in 1820, which triggered the railway age, with their first major use being in the Stockton and Darlington...

 in 1820.

Initially Stephenson's son Robert
Robert Stephenson
Robert Stephenson FRS was an English civil engineer. He was the only son of George Stephenson, the famed locomotive builder and railway engineer; many of the achievements popularly credited to his father were actually the joint efforts of father and son.-Early life :He was born on the 16th of...

 assisted him, but then went to join William James
William James (railway promoter)
William James was an English lawyer, surveyor, land agent and pioneer promoter of rail transport. "He was the original projector of the Liverpool & Manchester and other railways, and may with truth be considered as the father of the railway system, as he surveyed numerous lines at his own expense...

 in surveying a proposed new line between Liverpool and Manchester
Liverpool and Manchester Railway
The Liverpool and Manchester Railway was the world's first inter-city passenger railway in which all the trains were timetabled and were hauled for most of the distance solely by steam locomotives. The line opened on 15 September 1830 and ran between the cities of Liverpool and Manchester in North...

. George and Robert, with Edward Pease and Michael Longridge (owner of Bedlington Ironworks
Bedlington Ironworks
Bedlington Ironworks, in Blyth Dene, Northumberland, England, operated between 1736 and 1867. It is most remembered as the place where wrought iron rails were invented by John Birkinshaw in 1820, which triggered the railway age, with their first major use being in the Stockton and Darlington...

) together established a company at Newcastle-on-Tyne, to manufacture locomotives, which became Robert Stephenson and Company
Robert Stephenson and Company
Robert Stephenson and Company was a locomotive manufacturing company founded in 1823. It was the first company set up specifically to build railway engines.- Foundation and early success :...

.

The line was twenty six miles in total, with two cable-worked inclines at the western end, joined by a short horse-worked section. From Shildon
Shildon
Shildon is a town in County Durham, in England. It is situated 2 miles to the south east of Bishop Auckland and 11 miles north of Darlington. It is 13 miles away from Durham, 23 miles from Sunderland and 23 miles from Newcastle-upon-Tyne...

 the line was relatively level through Darlington to Stockton. The line's structures included one of the first railway bridges. Designed by architect Ignatius Bonomi
Ignatius Bonomi
Ignatius Bonomi was an English architect and surveyor, with Italian origins by his father, strongly associated with Durham in north-east England....

, the so-called 'first railway architect', the Skerne Bridge in Darlington is the oldest railway bridge still in use today. From 1990 until 2003, the bridge appeared on the reverse of Series E £5 notes issued by the Bank of England
Bank of England note issues
The Bank of England, which is now the Central Bank of the United Kingdom, has issued banknotes since 1694. Since 1970, its new series of notes have featured portraits of British historical figures. Of the eight banks authorised to issue banknotes in the UK, only the Bank of England can issue...

 which featured George Stephenson. The bridge is shown with a train hauled by Locomotion No 1
Locomotion No 1
Locomotion No. 1 is an early British steam locomotive. Built by George and Robert Stephenson's company Robert Stephenson and Company in 1825, it hauled the first train on the Stockton and Darlington Railway on 27 September 1825....

 crossing it.

S&DR's track gauge was required to accommodate the horse-drawn wagon
Wagon
A wagon is a heavy four-wheeled vehicle pulled by draught animals; it was formerly often called a wain, and if low and sideless may be called a dray, trolley or float....

s used in the older wagonways serving coal mines. This influence appears to be the main reason that 1435 mm (4 ft 8½ in) was subsequently adopted as standard gauge
Standard gauge
The standard gauge is a widely-used track gauge . Approximately 60% of the world's existing railway lines are built to this gauge...

.

Opening and early operations


Steam locomotives were then a new and unproven technology, and were slow, expensive and unreliable. The initial impetus for steam power had come during the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

, when horse fodder had become very expensive, and had still not settled down, while improving transport and mining methods was making coal more plentiful. However, many people weren't convinced that steam engines were a viable alternative to the horse. So at first, horse traction predominated on the S&DR, until steam could prove its worth.

The first locomotive to run on the S&DR was Locomotion No 1
Locomotion No 1
Locomotion No. 1 is an early British steam locomotive. Built by George and Robert Stephenson's company Robert Stephenson and Company in 1825, it hauled the first train on the Stockton and Darlington Railway on 27 September 1825....

, built at the Stephenson works though, in the absence of Robert, Timothy Hackworth
Timothy Hackworth
Timothy Hackworth was a steam locomotive engineer who lived in Shildon, County Durham, England and was the first locomotive superintendent of the Stockton and Darlington Railway.- Youth and early work :...

 had been brought in from Wylam
Wylam
 Wylam is a small village about west of Newcastle upon Tyne. It is located in the county of Northumberland.It is famous for the being the birthplace of George Stephenson, one of the early rail pioneers. George Stephenson's Birthplace is his cottage that can be found on the north bank of the...

. (On Robert's return he took charge of maintenance at the S&DR's Shildon's Soho works
Shildon railway works
Shildon railway works opened in 1825 in the town of Shildon in County Durham, England.- Overview :Shildon was the terminus of the Stockton & Darlington Railway, when it opened in 1825. Its first locomotive superintendent was Timothy Hackworth, who maintained their locomotives at the Soho Works...

.) Locomotion No 1 used coupling rods rather than gears between the wheels, the first to do so.

The official opening of the line was on 27 September 1825. The first passenger train took two hours to complete the first 12 miles (19 km) of the journey, and most of 600 passengers sat in open coal wagons while one experimental passenger coach, resembling a wooden shed on wheels and called "The Experiment", carried various dignitaries. By contrast W. Fallows reported to the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1863 that, for the inaugural run, a locomotive pulling 33 waggons (five laden with coal, one of flour, one of "surveyors, engineers, &c.", six with "strangers", fourteen with "workmen and others", and last of all, another six of coals) passed from one end of the line to the other. Fallows added that "The whole train moved at a rate of 10-12 miles per hour, with an estimated weight of 86 tons. It was computed that about 700 people were drawn in this train, a number which created the greatest astonishment.".
An experimental regular passenger service was soon established, initially a horse-drawn coach with horse provided by the driver. While passenger carrying was contracted out, locomotive coal trains were either paid by the ton, contractors providing their own fuel, which meant they tended to use the cargo, or by fixed wages, which meant they did not bother to economise.

Three more engines were built similar to Locomotion then, in 1826, Stephenson introduced the "Experiment" with inclined cylinders, which meant that it could be mounted on springs. Originally four wheeled, it was modified for six. Not all engines came from Stephenson. In 1826 also, Wilson, Robert and Company, of Newcastle, produced one for the line which, rather than use coupling rods, had four cylinders, two to each pair of wheels. Possibly because of its unusual exhaust beat, it became known as Chittaprat. After suffering a collision it was not rebuilt. These early locomotives were slow and unreliable and Hackworth set out to produce an improved design and in 1827 introduced the Royal George, salvaging the boiler from the Wilson engine. He also invented a spring-loaded safety valve
Safety valve
A safety valve is a valve mechanism for the automatic release of a substance from a boiler, pressure vessel, or other system when the pressure or temperature exceeds preset limits....

, because drivers had been tying them down to prevent them opening when the loco went over a bump.

Steam traction was expensive in comparison to horse drawn traffic, but it soon proved that it was viable and economic. Steam locomotives could haul more wagons, and haul them faster, so in a typical working day the expensive steam engine could haul more coal than the cheaper horse. It soon became apparent that mixing faster steam-hauled and slower horse-drawn traffic was slowing the operation down, and so as steam technology became more reliable, horse-drawn traffic was gradually abandoned.

At first, the organisation of the S&DR bore little relation to that of most modern railways, and was run in the traditional manner of the wagonway
Wagonway
Wagonways consisted of the horses, equipment and tracks used for hauling wagons, which preceded steam powered railways. The terms "plateway", "tramway" and in someplaces, "dramway" are also found.- Early developments :...

s of the time. The S&DR merely owned the tracks and did not operate trains; anyone who paid the S&DR money could freely operate steam trains or horse-drawn wagonloads on the line. This separation of track from trains resembled the canals, where canal companies were often forbidden from operating any boats. There was no timetable
Public transport timetable
A public transport timetable is a representation of public transport information to assist a passenger with planning a trip using public transport. A timetable details when vehicle will arrive and depart specified locations and may be organised for by route or for a particular stop...

 or other form of central organisation. Trains ran whenever they wanted, and fights often broke out when rival operators came into conflict over right-of-way on the tracks.

This chaotic situation was tolerable on completely horse-drawn traffic wagonways, but with faster steam trains it soon became unworkable, as the faster speeds meant a collision could have serious consequences. With the advent of steam, new operating methods had to be developed.

The S&DR proved a huge financial success, and paved the way for modern rail transport
Rail transport
Rail transport is a means of conveyance of passengers and goods by way of wheeled vehicles running on rail tracks. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles merely run on a prepared surface, rail vehicles are also directionally guided by the tracks they run on...

.

The expertise that Stephenson and his apprentice Joseph Locke
Joseph Locke
Joseph Locke was a notable English civil engineer of the 19th century, particularly associated with railway projects...

 gained in railway construction and locomotive building on the S&DR enabled them a few years later to construct the Liverpool and Manchester Railway
Liverpool and Manchester Railway
The Liverpool and Manchester Railway was the world's first inter-city passenger railway in which all the trains were timetabled and were hauled for most of the distance solely by steam locomotives. The line opened on 15 September 1830 and ran between the cities of Liverpool and Manchester in North...

, the first purpose-built steam railway, and also the Stephensons' Rocket
Stephenson's Rocket
Stephenson's Rocket was an early steam locomotive of 0-2-2 wheel arrangement, built in Newcastle Upon Tyne at the Forth Street Works of Robert Stephenson and Company in 1829.- Design innovations :...

locomotive. The company also proved a successful training ground for other engineers: in 1833 Daniel Adamson
Daniel Adamson
Daniel Adamson was a notable English engineer who became a successful manufacturer of boilers and was the driving force behind the inception of the Manchester Ship Canal project during the 1880s.-Early life:...

 was apprenticed to Timothy Hackworth
Timothy Hackworth
Timothy Hackworth was a steam locomotive engineer who lived in Shildon, County Durham, England and was the first locomotive superintendent of the Stockton and Darlington Railway.- Youth and early work :...

, and later established his own successful boiler-making business in Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

.

Conventional railway




By 1833, the S&DR had become entirely steam-operated, nd it gradually began to resemble a modern railway. The S&DR company became the sole train operator on the line, parallel double track
Double track
A double track railway usually involves running one track in each direction, compared to a single track railway where trains in both directions share the same track.- Overview :...

s were built for trains traveling in opposite directions, timetables were established and a crude signaling system was established to prevent collisions. These methods of operation became standard on railways across the world.

In 1833 the railway was extended to Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough is a large town situated on the south bank of the River Tees in north east England, that sits within the ceremonial county of North Yorkshire...

. This speeded up the transportation of coal to the sea as the River Tees
River Tees
The River Tees is in Northern England. It rises on the eastern slope of Cross Fell in the North Pennines, and flows eastwards for 85 miles to reach the North Sea between Hartlepool and Redcar.-Geography:...

 there was deeper. Further upstream around Stockton-on-Tees
Stockton-on-Tees
Stockton-on-Tees is a market town in north east England. It is the major settlement in the unitary authority and borough of Stockton-on-Tees. For ceremonial purposes, the borough is split between County Durham and North Yorkshire as it also incorporates a number of smaller towns including...

 shallow waters greatly hindered shipping. In 1834 a rival line, the Clarence Railway, was also built for the shipping of coal, this branched off from the Stockton and Darlington Railway at Shildon
Shildon
Shildon is a town in County Durham, in England. It is situated 2 miles to the south east of Bishop Auckland and 11 miles north of Darlington. It is 13 miles away from Durham, 23 miles from Sunderland and 23 miles from Newcastle-upon-Tyne...

 and terminated at Haverton Hill
Haverton Hill
Haverton Hill is an area within the borough of Stockton-on-Tees and ceremonial county of County Durham, England.It is situated to the north of the River Tees, near Billingham. The A1046 is the main road linking to Stockton and the A19 in the west and Port Clarence and the A178 in the east.- History...

 and Port Clarence
Port Clarence
Port Clarence is a small village now within the borough of Stockton-on-Tees and ceremonial county of County Durham, England. It is situated on the north bank of the River Tees, and hosts the northern end of the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge.-History:...

 on the opposite side of the river to Middlesbrough.

The S&DR was absorbed into the North Eastern Railway
North Eastern Railway (UK)
The North Eastern Railway , was an English railway company. It was incorporated in 1854, when four existing companies were combined, and was absorbed into the London and North Eastern Railway at the Grouping in 1923...

 in 1863, which merged into the London and North Eastern Railway
London and North Eastern Railway
The London and North Eastern Railway was the second-largest of the "Big Four" railway companies created by the Railways Act 1921 in Britain...

 in 1923. Much but not all of the original S&DR line is still operating today, together with the later lines to Saltburn and Bishop Auckland, but the rest of the substantial network the S&DR built up has been closed and dismantled.

See also

  • Shildon Locomotion Museum
    Shildon Locomotion Museum
    Shildon Locomotion Museum is a railway museum in Shildon, County Durham, England. The museum is a branch of the National Railway Museum , which is part of the National Museum of Science and Industry...

  • Darlington Railway Centre and Museum
    Darlington Railway Centre and Museum
    Darlington Railway Centre and Museum, also known as Head of Steam, is located on the 1825 route of the Stockton and Darlington Railway which was the world's first steam powered passenger railway. Run by Darlington Borough Council the museum is located in the northern suburbs of Darlington in the...

  • June 2007 in rail transport
    June 2007 in rail transport
    - June 3 - June 9 :June 4* – New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority announces the appointment of Helena Williams to the position of President of Long Island Rail Road . Williams succeeds Raymond P. Kenny, the interim President who held the office since James J. Dermody stepped...

     - original stone blocks discovered
  • Horse drawn railway
    Horse drawn railway
    Horse drawn railways were used before the advent of steam locomotive traction, which gradually superseded them in most instances.- Examples :Examples include :...


Further reading

  • A Place In History — A Scarsdale Books (Publishing Services) book on the history of Darlington Railway Centre and Museum.

External links