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The Opening of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, 1825

The opening of the Stockton & Darlington Railway on 27 September 1825 was a great occasion. Not only was it the first public passenger railway in the world, but it was pulled by one of the first steam locomotives. Most people had never seen anything like it before and 40,000 people turned out to witness it.

The Opening of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, 1825 by John Dobbin

This painting by John Dobbin shows Locomotion 1 pulling wagons full of coal, flour and, for the first time, people, across Skerne Bridge – one of the world’s first railways bridges. Dobbin was born in Darlington and would have been about ten years old when the Railway opened. He painted this 50 years later from sketches made by his father – and possibly from his own memories of the day. This is his most famous painting and an important record of this world famous occasion.

Image courtesy of Head of Steam – Darlington Railway Museum

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