Stockton and Darlington Railway - The Early Years
Even though the first
steam railway service wasn’t opened until 1825, the principals of
early railway date back to the 17th century to Blyth in
Northumberland. Wagon ways can be dated as far back as 1609 when
they were probably used to transport coal from the mines at
Bedlington to the coast and the River Blyth.
These early wagon ways were deemed unsuccessful and were closed
down by 1614. However, these very early developments must be
seen as firm building blocks for the mine owners of Durham and
Northumberland who rapidly built an extensive wagon way during
the late eighteenth century.
The purpose for these wagon ways was to cheaply and
swiftly transport coal to the River Tyne and Wear.
Records prove that lines where in existence in
Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, Penshaw and Beamish.
At the turn of the nineteenth century, an engineer
called Richard Trevithick built the world’s first steam
locomotive (left). The engine was built at Coalbrookdale
in Shropshire; however there is no evidence to say this
engine ever ran. In 1804, Trevithick built a locomotive
for the Penydarren Ironworks in South Wales, which did
pull 10 tonnes of iron and 70 men and in 1805,
Trevithick built an engine which ran at Wylam Colliery
Richard Trevithick was born at Camborne in 1771 and more
information about this great engineer and inventor can
be found at the following website: