Stockton & Darlington Railway Co

The Stockton & Darlington Railway (S&DR) was the first steam operated public railway in the world when it opened in 27 September 1825. The object of the railway was to reduce the cost of carriage of coal sent from the small coal mine in the Shildon area to Darlington & Stockton and at first it was not thought that there would be any need to provide facilities for passengers. For the first eight years the few passengers were carried in horse-drawn coaches operated by the contractors, it was not until 1833 that the company started to operate passenger trains hauled by locomotives.

Synonymous with the S&DR are the names Pease and Stephenson. The Pease family, led by Edward Pease strongly supported the railway and Edward's son, Joseph, prepared the original prospectus and became the company's first treasurer. George Stephenson was appointed engineer in January 1822 to see to the survey and the building of the line, he also supplied the first locomotives which were built be his son, Robert Stephenson.

In May 1825 Timothy Hackworth was appointed locomotive foreman and worked with the company for eight years and designed a type of locomotive more suitable for coal traffic, with six-coupled wheels.

Most of the branches and extensions to the Stockton and Darlington Railway were built by separate companies, although worked by the S&DR, however most of these companies were taken over by S&DR in 1858.

In 1863 the Stockton & Darlington Railway ceased to exist as a separate concern, but until 1876 it was run as the Darlington section of the North Eastern Railway.