Unfortunately, the bridge was a disaster! As the engine pulling 16 coal trucks entered the bridge, it swayed and buckled so much that the train became uncoupled, with the front half completing the journey across, while the rear half rolled alarmingly backwards. The bridge was propped up, with some limited success but, ultimately, the world’s first railway suspension bridge was a failure. In 1842, Robert Stephenson started building a conventional replacement bridge beside it to accommodate the rail traffic to Port Darlington. The suspension bridge was demolished in 1880.
The text on the obverse (bridge side) reads:
Suspension Bridge Near Stockton
Dec. 27. 1830
The text on the reverse reads:
Stockton & Darlington Railway Cos Coal Staiths at Middlesbro’
Published by J. W. James
Image courtesy of Preston Park Museum and Grounds