Stockton & Darlington Railway

The Railway that got the world on track

200th Anniversary

27th September 2025









The S&DR is the railway that got the world on track.

Here on this line in North East England, people created the first successful locomotive powered public railway and changed the way the world trades, travels and communicates.

The S&DR is a story about people with vision, skills and determination who saw an opportunity and seized it. Through engineering innovation and ingenuity, the S&DR lit the fuse for the explosive international expansion of railways that changed the face of the world which connected places, people, communities and ideas which ultimately transformed the lives and experiences of people locally and around the globe.


The First Act of Parliament approves the building of the S&DR


George Stephenson meets Edward Pease and the railway is redesigned to use steam locomotive power


A Second Act of Parliament for the S&DR approves for the first time in the world the use of steam engines and passenger travel on a public railway.


The S&DR opens with Locomotion No.1 hauling the world’s first locomotive powered passenger train on a public railway.


Shildon becomes the world’s first railway town and the S&DR builds the world’s earliest railway station and passenger facilities.


Fifty miles of mainline and branch lines are operating, the town of Middlesbrough is founded at the terminus of the new Middlesbrough branch with new deep water harbour facilities


Locomotion No.1 is restored and mounted on a plinth outside North Road Station


The S&DR amalgamates with the North East Railway transferring about 200 miles of track and 160 locomotives.


The 50th anniversary celebrations take place of the opening of the S&DR


The centenary celebrations take place of the opening of the S&DR attended by royalty and with an international audience


The 150th anniversary celebrations take place of the opening of the S&DR, one of the largest ever gatherings of steam locomotives

  • 1821
  • 1822
  • 1823
  • 1825
  • 1826-7
  • 1830
  • 1857
  • 1863
  • 1875
  • 1925
  • 1975

Our Partners

The S&DR Railway Heritage Partnership brings together local and national heritage and rail organisations, local authorities and combined authorities. The Partnership seeks to establish a 26 mile, connected accessible and coherent visitor attraction comprising heritage buildings, museum collections, cycleways and footpaths, digital and physical interpretation. This enhanced, permanent visitor attraction will be launched by the programme that celebrates the 200th anniversary of its original creation.