“Locomotion No. 1” hauling a replica train of chaldron wagons with passengers, and the “directors” accommodated in a coach of the company.
EVERY reader knows that the 27th September 1825, was a memorable day in the history of the locomotive, for on that day a train made its first journey on the Stockton and Darlington Railway. To commemorate the hundredth anniversary of this historical event, special celebrations were held in Darlington during the first week in July.
Although, strictly speaking, the anniversary should have been commemorated during the last week in September, there was a good reason for holding the centenary celebrations in July. The International Railway Congress, consisting of represent-
On board the Hetton Colliery Loco. The drivers of early locos were exposed to the weather.
Knowing that readers would be interested in this historic event the Editor made a special journey to Darlington to obtain some photographs of the procession and, more particularly, some first hand details of the veteran locomotives and rolling stock and the other interesting exhibits that were on view at the Faverdale Works of the LNER.
When I arrived in Darlington I found the town “en fete” -
Everywhere one saw evidence of the spirit of the week -
The great event of the week was the procession of locomotives and rolling stock, which was to travel over the old railway, from Stockton to Darlington. From a very early hour on the morning of the 2nd July, visitors from all parts of the surrounding district poured into Darlington by train and bus, motor and cycle, and even on foot. Many hours before the procession was due, the streets of the town and the main road between Darlington and Stockton were thick with traffic and the police had s very busy time. Fields along each side of the railway, had been engaged for the occasion, and the spect-
The Hetton Colliery Locomotive (built 1822) which led the procession.
Between the villages of Dinsdale and Urlay Nook, grandstands had been erected for the accommodation of the Royal party and the distinguished visitors, guests of the LNER Company. They were brought to the grandstand by special trains direct from Hull, York, Newcastle and elsewhere. Many thousands of people congregated on the side of the railway opposite the grandstand, and there was great eagerness to see the Duke and Duchess of York, who were paying a special visit to inaugurate the Centenary Celebrations. Their train the progress of which had been reported by telephone and announced to the spectators by loud-
There was an interval of ten minutes after the arrival of the Royal party before the head of the eagerly awaited procession came in sight. The first indication we had of its approach was a cloud of black smoke, away down the line towards Stockton. We soon saw that the smoke came from one of the early locomotives, which was slowly approaching. In the distance the overhead mechanism could be seen rising and falling, as the old engine cheerfully “chuffed” along the line at a speed of six miles an hour. It turned out to be the Hetton Colliery engine (0-
“The Derwent” (1845) with driver and fireman in the “uniform” of the period. Note that the firebox is at the front of the loco.
The next to appear was the “Derwent” (0-
Following the “Derwent” came a number of goods and mineral train engines, illustrating various types and including LNER No. 10114 (0-
Then came a particularly interesting loco, LNER No. 2393 (2-
The next exhibit was a LNER Electric Freight loco (0-
A burst of cheering greeted the appearance of a full sized model of the famous “North Star” (2-
Then there came four examples of the Single Driver Express Engines so popular in the latter half of the last century, including the LMS “Cornwall” (2-
wheels in the world. As originally built the “Cornwall” had its boiler underneath the driving axle and was thus shown at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851.
Next we saw LNER No. 910 (2-
Eleven express passenger engines followed, illustrating in a most interesting manner the different classes and their develop-
Then came an old friend, behind whom I have often travelled -
LNER No. 2563 “William Whitelaw” (4-
Another Electric loco now came into view. This was LNER No. 13 (4-
A burst of laughter and cheering greeted the next exhibit, which for all the world resembled a cross between a bathing machine and a guard’s van! Trundling along quite merrily to the accompaniment of a clanging bell, it turned out to be No. 7133 (0-
The next exhibit -
LNER No. 2395, the huge Garratt Articulated loco (2-
Quite a contrast to the previous part of the procession was provided by the next three exhibits -
Then followed a LNER mineral train composed of 10½, 20 and 40-
A pleasing change to the long procession of locos was the Tableaux Train illustrating the history of the wheel in transport. The train was drawn by engine No. 130 (0-
The tableaux consisted of six wagons each carrying a separate “picture”. The first was allegorical and depicted a number of astrologers grouped at one side of a symbolic wheel, with a scene showing modern engineering practice on the other. The two scenes were joined through the spokes of the wheel by a huge chain, representing the links of time. The second tableau showed a tribe of prehistoric men, who, having felled a tree with their flint axes, were shown transporting the trunk on logs used as rollers -
The Tableaux Train passing the Grandstand.
The Tableaux Train was followed by a train of old four-
Next came a fine example of an articulated train, built at Swindon by the GWR and. used on that Company’s service between London and Plymouth. This train was drawn by the famous GW. 4-
The last exhibit in this wonderful railway pageant was, perhaps, the most eagerly awaited by the spectators. It was “Locomotion No. 1” the original engine that drew the first train over the Stockton and Darlington Railway on the 27th September 1825. Someone humorously suggested that it had been arranged for the “Locomotion” to bring up the rear of the procession because it was by no means certain that it would not break down! If this was the reason that the famous old engine came last, the fears of the authorities were groundless, for the “Locomotion”,' hauling a replica of the original train that made the same journey one hundred years ago, ran as well as it did on that memorable occasion, with its overhead mechanism rhythmically rising and falling.
One could well imagine the scene a century ago, and indeed everything possible had been done to make the resemblance as realistic as possible. On that memorable occasion in 1825 the train was made up of chaldron wagons, as the coal wagons of the period were called, and a man on horseback rode in front. The train carried many passengers and also a band, and the directors of the Stockton, and Darlington Railway travelled in the only coach in existence, which was specially described as “the long coach belonging to the Company”.
“Locomotion No. 1” and Replica Train. Inset: an old drawing of the same engine and train as it appeared on the opening day of the Stockton & Darlington Railway.
In the centenary procession the train was preceded by a man on horseback with a red flag, and the replicas of the chaldron wagons and the directors’ coach were filled with passengers attired in the same style of dresses as was worn by the original passengers a century ago. The men wore frock-
It had been arranged that the train should stop for a few moments near the grandstand and that the band should provide a musical interlude. As the old “Locomotion” drew near, emitting clouds of black smoke from its tall funnel and covering the be-
After the procession had passed, Viscount Grey presented the Duke of York with a silver replica of “Locomotion No. 1” and tender, and the Duchess with a silver replica of the historical Stockton and Darlington passenger carriage. The Royal pair then proceeded through dense crowds of cheering spectators to Stockton, where they and over 300 guests were enter-
The Duke and Duchess of York inspect the exhibits at the Faverdale Works, Darlington. The “Invicta” (0-
The Duke, in returning thanks for the kind welcome extended told a humorous story that evoked great laughter. “We all fully appreciate that no small amount of courage was required to face the oppositions that the opening of the Stockton and Darlington Railway evoked,” he said. “I understand that there was at least one doleful prophet who made the rash offer to eat all the coal the railway would carry! Had that prophet lived in 1923, he would have had to have eaten 217 million tons of coal!”
After lunch, the Duke and Duchess of York proceeded to St. John’s Crossing, Stockton, where they unveiled a tablet on the building from which the first railway ticket was issued. The tablet bears the inscription, “Here the Stockton and Darlington Railway Company issued the first passenger railway ticket thus marking an epoch in the history of mankind”.
Returning to Darlington, I paid a visit to the Faverdale Works of the LNER where a great collection of railway relics was on exhibition. Here were objects that would delight the heart of every reader -
It was here, too, that I was fortunate enough have a few minutes’ chat with Mr. W. Smith, the driver of “Locomotion No. 1” who had just brought his charge to a stand in the sidings, fresh from its triumphant progress in the procession. In reply to my enquiry as to how she ran, he said:-
“What do you think of my coat, Sir?” I was bound to admit that Mr. Smith’s tail-
“I am not so sure about this shirt front,” said my friend pointing to the dickie he was wearing. “It is a bit uncomfortable and I was so hot at one time that I nearly took it off, but I remembered I had not passed the grandstand!”
Thus ended my visit to Darlington, and I returned to Liverpool with only one regret -