27 September 2016
Stockton and Darlington Railway opened on 27 September 1825
On this day in history, 1825: the world's first public railway to use steam locomotives, the Stockton and Darlington Railway, is ceremonially opened.
The Stockton and Darlington Railway (S&DR) operated in north-east England from 1825 to 1863. Its first line connected collieries near Shildon with Stockton-on-Tees and Darlington.
The movement of coal to ships quickly became a lucrative business, and the line was soon extended to a new port and town at Middlesbrough. While coal waggons were hauled by steam locomotives from the start, passengers were carried in coaches drawn by horses until carriages hauled by steam locomotives were introduced in 1833.
The S&DR was involved in the building of the East Coast Main Line between York and Darlington, but its main expansion was at Middlesbrough Docks and west into Weardale and east to Redcar.
The opening of the S&DR was seen as proof of the effectiveness of steam railways and its anniversary was celebrated in 1875, 1925 and 1975. Much of the original route is now served by the Tees Valley Line, operated by Northern.
Pictured: Map of the original planned route of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, taken from the prospectus of 1821.