In September 1825, this humble looking railway station would take it’s place in history. Today it is known as Heighington Lane Railway Station, but almost 200 years ago it was merely a convenient place to access the rails of the Stockton & Darlington Railway Company with a locomotion.
Locomotion No 1 was transported here, down the Great north Road (now the A167) to south County Durham from the workshop where it was made in Newcastle Upon Tyne, and was placed on to the rails for the very first time.
From here it made the journey to Shildon in County Durham from where it would make the first journey with fare paying passengers from members of the public.
This little corner of the county can make the rightful claim of being the global birthplace of passenger railways. Any passenger service, anywhere in the world simply followed in its footsteps.
Locomotion No. 1 would operate on the Stockton & Darlington Railway Company line for three years, but then disaster struck at Aycliffe. The engine’s boiler exploded on the 1st July 1828, killing the driver, John Cree. Following the extensive damage to the engine, the company decided to have the engine rebuilt and it would remain in operation until around 1850, after which its use was converted to a static engine.
The rebuilt Locomotion No. 1 is on display at the aptly named Locomotion Railway Museum at Shildon which was built on the site of the old wagon works and preserved some of the original buildings of the railway works.
A replica version of Locomotion No. 1 is on display at the Head of Steam in Darlington, which is housed at North Road Railway Station. (If you visit, don’t forget to ask about the station’s ghost.)