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Centenary celebrations of the opening of the Stockton & Darlington Railway

The opening of the Stockton & Darlington Railway was of national and international significance. It marked the beginning of a transport revolution that would enable companies to easily transport goods and hundreds of people to travel to places previously beyond their reach. Anniversaries were celebrated 50, 100 and 150 years after its initial opening in 1825.

Centenary celebrations of the opening of the Stockton & Darlington Railway

This photograph was taken during the celebrations to mark the centenary. It shows a replica of Locomotion 1 pulling the world’s first rail passenger coach Experiment, and passengers sitting in wagons, in a mock up of the opening event in 1825. The anniversary events were attended by the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and the Queen Mother), as well as hundreds of ordinary people and enthusiasts.

There were, of course, no cameras to record the opening in 1825. Sketches, descriptions and John Dobbin’s famous painting ‘Opening of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, 1825’ give us a good idea of what the original event must have looked like.

Image courtesy of Head of Steam – Darlington Railway Museum