Shildon Works

The Stockton and Darlington Railway operated in north-east England from 1825 to 1863. The world’s first public railway to use steam locomotives, it connected collieries near Shildon with Stockton-on-Tees and Darlington, and was officially opened on 27th September 1825.

Shildon Railway Works’ first locomotive superintendent, Timothy Hackworth, was born in Wylam in 1786, five years after fellow railway pioneer George Stephenson had been born in the same village The S&D locomotives which shared the line with horse-drawn carriages were by far the most unreliable of the two and the company directors came close to abandoning steam altogether.  It was  Hackworth who persuaded the company to give him a free hand to build a locomotive of his own design and, in 1827, built the Royal George, followed by the “Globe” in 1830, the first specialist passenger engine. Ten more locomotives were built between 1863 and 1867, but most of the work was transferred to Darlington and in 1871 all locomotive work ceased while Shildon became a centre for wagon building, surviving until 1984.

The Locomotion Museum is built on the site of the old Shildon Works and contains an impressive array of preserved locomotives and wagons, many of the latter built at Shildon.  It was here I escaped to earlier this week while the Good Wife did other womanly things – I am always content when in or around machines, particularly those emitting steam or Castrol R, the two finest smells in the world.  Eat your heart out Chanel.

Green Arrow, LNER Class V2 4771

Green Arrow, LNER Class V2 4771

Winston Churchill, Battle of Britain Class, BR 34051

The Bulleid Firth Brown wheel

E5001 in the workshop

Hardwicke, built at Crewe in 1873

Green Arrow and Winston Churchill




  1. Tish Farrell · January 4, 2019

    Ah, the sweet whiff of steam and infant memories of always seeming to be arriving at or leaving Crewe station.

    • northumbrianlight · January 4, 2019

      Happy New Year Tish! I knew Crewe well – many’s the time I was evicted from the station along with a fellow army of school-capped trainspotters. Innocent times and innocent pastimes but we were still frowned upon 🙂 Here’s a test of memory and observation – do you remember the sausage wagons that were a permanent fixture in the north east sidings and if so, what was the make? 🙂

      • Tish Farrell · January 4, 2019

        Ha! Now you’ve got me, Robin. Sausage wagons? If they were there, I would not have been allowed to fix my gaze upon them. Too much chivvying going on from the mother figure. Actually, my memories are all of the underparts and couplings of carriages, and large oily wheels, and the steep drop on to the track, and the gap between the platform and doorstep thingies. And the tea urn steam in the caf. Happy days! How funny if our paths were crossing back then. Very Alan Garnerish. Happy New Year. I miss your presence on WP, though am sure you have much better things to do with your time. As do I, truth be told.

      • northumbrianlight · January 5, 2019

        Palethorpe Sausages – remember those, Tish? I assume/hope the wagons were empty as they never moved in years 🙂 The world seemed smaller then with many less options – Chester Zoo, Old Trafford, a variety of railway stations and Oulton Park more or less covered my entire upbringing. This video of Manchester Victoria is exactly as I remember, especially the railway policeman shepherding trainspotters off the tracks 🙂

        I must find more time for WP – about now the golf club admin begins to take over (end year accounts, AGM, etc etc) and before we know it the days are longer and there is much golf to play and motorcycles to be ridden.
        All the best, R

  2. Aviationtrails · January 4, 2019

    Fabulous images of great British engineering!

  3. milfordstreet · January 4, 2019

    Locomotives are just fascinating. You made a nice collection of images. Cheers!

  4. J.D. Riso · January 5, 2019

    There’s something so nostalgic about the smell of steam and a locomotive engine. Wonderful photos as always. And Happy New Year to you, Robin.

    • northumbrianlight · January 5, 2019

      Thanks and likewise Julie, have a great 2019 – looks like you have found your way back home.

  5. Graham Stephen · January 6, 2019

    some nice dutch tilts there!

    • northumbrianlight · January 6, 2019

      Thanks Graham, I do tend to overdo the tilts but it’s not really for art’s sake, it’s to get everything I want in frame 🙂 By contrast, I hate horizons that are fractions off the level 😉

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