‘Iron & Steam Dawn of the Stockton & Darlington Railway’


A feature documentary is being produced to mark the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Stockton & Darlington Railway (S&DR).

Title Iron and Steam Dawn of the Stockton & Darlington Railwaythe film was launched at the Head of Steam Museum in Darlington

At the launch, excerpts from the film that have been produced so far were shown along with short speeches and interviews with people connected to the project, including the filmmakers, Barclays and Stockton and Darlington Borough Councils.

The film is produced by Lonely Tower Film & Media, based in County Durham. will tell the story of the S&DR, which, according to Caroline Hardie of the Friends of Stockton & Darlington Railway, is “the railway that put the world on track”.

Credit: Dawn of the Stockton & Darlington Railway.

Using newly filmed accounts from experts and enthusiasts associated with the history of the S&DR, this film will tell the full story of the S&DR from before its inception in 1825 to its expansion to Middlesbrough in 1830. will focus on local innovations that have brought this industrial and cultural icon to fruition.

Barclays is the main supporter of the film and community engagement project; the relationship between Barclays and the Stockton & Darlington Railway predates the opening of the railway in 1825. One of the company’s main backers was Backhouse’s Bank, based in Darlington, and the central branch- Darlington town of Barclays is still in an original Backhouse’s Bank. building.

The film is expected to be completed in Summer/Fall 2023 and will be available for purchase on DVD and Amazon Prime.

Marie Gardiner, producer and director at Lonely Tower Film & Media, said:

“Working with Barclays on this project is the perfect fit. The historical connection is there and Barclays has been incredibly supportive of what we are trying to achieve. iron, so that everyone can feel the pride of living in a region with such an important history by 2025. Barclays has also opened its archives to support film research and we are very excited about what we will discover.

Susan Theobald, Barclays Darlington Branch Manager, said:

“Barclays has been an integral part of communities in the North of England for generations. When James Backhouse and his son Jonathan officially incorporated their bank in Darlington in 1774, they established a valuable partnership between financial services and society throughout the North East. The direct link we have with the origins of the Stockton & Darlington Railway is something we are truly proud of; we were there in 1825 and we will be there in 2025 to celebrate the first steam locomotive railway.

Mark Thorburn, producer and director at Lonely Tower Film & Media, said:

“The Stockton & Darlington Railway is a shining example of how a bold technology company has managed to change the world. Exciting plans are being developed to mark 2025, and this film’s role will be to ensure that everyone in the region, and around the world, fully understands and is excited about the story behind the headlines. . Yes, it will be about the development of the modern railway; but more than that, it is the story of people and communities taking a leap of faith and seizing opportunity in the face of incredible change.

Caroline Hardie, Friends of Stockton & Darlington Railway, who was interviewed in the film, said:

“The Stockton & Darlington Railway is inspired by everything that happened in different places at different times. It sort of fits the zeitgeist if you will, yes the railroads had been used to transport coal from the coal face to the river, but what’s happening here is that all the technology is collected in one place. You have the beginning of a network that will span not only the whole country, but the world, and it starts here.

Anthony Coulls, Senior Curator of Rail Transport and Technology at the National Railway Museum, interviewed in the film, said: ‘The Stockton & Darlington Railway meant more in 1825 than we can imagine now.

“Whether you’re interested in the locomotives, the business, the machinations, the politics of how it came about – or you’re interested in what the railway means in terms of culture and landscape, the Stockton & Darlington Railway transcends all of these specialties and brings them together, and there’s something that excites me about every part of it.


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