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Stockton and Darlington Railway awarded over £3m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund

Published February 08, 2023 11.24am

An award from The National Lottery Heritage Fund will enable a community engagement programme to celebrate the Stockton and Darlington Railway (S&DR).

Cllr Elizabeth Scott

Cllr Elizabeth Scott

The award of £3,211,632, made possible by National Lottery players, will contribute towards the delivery of an activity plan to engage with communities up and down the length of the route of the Stockton and Darlington Railway. Celebrations of the bicentenary of the route take place in 2025. 

The grant will enable the delivery of a comprehensive activity plan along the 26 miles of the S&DR as well as a programme of small grants to empower communities along the line to organise their own events and projects.

The successful bid to the Heritage Fund was made possible through collaboration with Darlington Borough Council, ourselves, Stockton Borough Council and the Friends of Stockton and Darlington Railway.

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, our Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: "We are delighted that The National Lottery Heritage Fund is supporting our ambitious plans to make the former Stockton and Darlington Railway line a hive of activity, both during its bicentenary celebrations in 2025 and beyond. It is great that this funding will allow community activity right along the 26 mile route and this can only complement the exciting developments already underway at Locomotion in Shildon, where the first journey on the Stockton and Darlington Railway began."

The funding will also contribute towards the capital costs for Darlington's new Rail Heritage Quarter - which will see the redevelopment of a cluster of heritage buildings around the town's Head of Steam museum.

A lasting legacy

Niall Hammond, from the Friends of Stockton and Darlington Railway, said: "Thanks to The National Lottery Heritage Fund the creation of a Community Grants Scheme provides a wonderful opportunity to enable the involvement of voluntary groups along the 26 miles of the Stockton and Darlington Railway celebrating not just the 2025 bicentenary, but putting in place a lasting legacy."

Helen Featherstone, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: "The North of England is home to some of the most famous railway heritage in the world, and the Stockton and Darlington Railway is one of the jewels in that crown. As we approach the railway's bi-centenary, we are incredibly excited to be supporting the creation of this new attraction in the Heritage Rail Quarter that will share this fascinating history with visitors from near and far through innovative techniques. We're also delighted, that thanks to National Lottery players, we are able to support the programme to empower communities along the historic railway line to celebrate this heritage in ways that matter to them the most."