THIS weekend, visitors to Preston Park Museum & Grounds will be encouraged to jump ‘all-aboard’ and join in the celebrations to mark the 190th anniversary of the opening of the Stockton & Darlington Railway. The museum will host Tees Tracks, a two-day railway themed event for all the family to enjoy.
Taking place on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 October from 10am to 3.30pm, activities will include hidden track bed tours, model railways in all their glory, local artefacts from the Stockton & Darlington Railway collection, miniature train rides and the chance to make your own locomotion to take home.
Preston Park became part of one of the most revolutionary events in world history when on 27 September 1825 the Stockton & Darlington Railway opened. The line ran through the grounds of the Hall (in the trees that now separate the road from the parkland around the museum). Built by the great engineers George and Robert Stephenson, it was designed to supply coal from the Durham coalfields to Stockton’s port for export but soon outgrew this role and became the world’s first passenger-carrying railway line.
The railway track with its steam locomotives like the famous ‘Locomotion No.1.’ proved that a steam-powered railway was viable and economic, leading the way for other railways across the world.
As part of Tees Tracks, Robin Daniels from Tees Archaeology will give a guided tour of the hidden track beds. Walks will start at the front of Preston Park Museum on Friday at 11am and 2pm lasting for about 90 minutes, returning to the hall.
Members of the public can also meet artist Steven Ward Fox whose work ‘Hot Coals and Ashes’ is currently on display at the museum and was inspired by the North East’s rich railway heritage.
Councillor Norma Wilburn, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Arts, Leisure and Culture, said: “We are privileged to have one of the most revolutionary events in world history take place on our doorstep and Tees Tracks at Preston Park Museum & Grounds is an excellent way to mark this special anniversary. It gives all the family the opportunity to learn more about our incredible railway heritage.”
Tees Tracks is free with museum admission (a small fee of 50p will be charged per ride on the miniature train).