Saturday, 16 July 2011

Darlington. Another Railway Town.

Today didn’t quite go as planned, which was a trip into Durham. Dot had contacted our Doctor for a repeat prescription to be sent to a chemist in Scarborough which we planned to pick up tomorrow on our travels. Luckily she had the fore thought to ring the chemist to ensure they had received it, which it turned out they hadn’t. Ringing our Doctors surgery they assured us that the prescription had been posted out. Lost in the post again!

Darlington Technical College.Darlington Technical College.

We had a similar problem once before and we solved it by going to a NHS Walk In centre. A quick internet search revealed one such establishment in Darlington. Luckily we have a bus stop at the gate once again, so it was off into Darlington this morning. The bus driver was very good and dropped us off at the correct stop as we had no idea where to go. Having checked a street map I knew which streets we were looking for so it only took 10 minutes to find the place. At the centre we were spoken to immediately by the receptionist who gave us an appointment for 11.30am, a three quarter of an hours wait. OK no big deal!  Eleven o clock and the doctor appeared calling Dot into the surgery, five minutes later and we were walking out of the door, prescription in hand. Now that’s what we call service and the locals complain about it. They have never had it so good.

The Bulmer Stone. Darlingtons oldest land mark.The Bulmer Stone. Darlingtons oldest land mark. Circa 10,000BC it once marked the northern boundary of the town.

Walking into town to find a chemist we saw signs to the “Railway Museum” only 800m away. While we waited for the prescription to be made up we went into Costa’s for a coffee and snack and then returned to the chemist.

146 Northgate, Darlington where the Stockton to Darlington Railway originated from. Everything was planned here.146 Northgate, Darlington where the Stockton to Darlington Railway originated from. Everything was planned here.

Prescription in hand we headed off in the direction of the museum. Along the way I spoke to a gentleman who was standing in the doorway of his shop to ensure we were heading the right way. This turned out to be quite a surprise because he informed me that the building I was standing in front of was the actual building where all the planning for the Stockton to Darlington Railway took place including the plans for Loco’s and rolling stock. This was duly photographed before we went in search of the museum.

North Road station home to the "Head of Steam" museum Darlington.North Road station home to the "Head of Steam" museum Darlington.

The “Head of Steam” Darlington Railway Museum is housed in the old North Eastern Railways North Road station which is still in use on the Bishop Auckland line. Only one platform is in daily use by commuter trains, the rest is all part of the museum. The four loco’s housed there cover the history of steam power on the railways from Locomotion through to the N.E.R heavy Q7 goods loco before dieselisation.

Darlington.Darlington.

The station side of the display covered right from the ticket office to everything that you would have expected to see on a late 19th century, early 20th century railway station including the Gents urinals over a 50 year period. There is also a very well made 12 foot long diorama of the Stockton to Darlington railway where mine and quarries were served, right down to the docks at Stockton where goods were transhipped to boats for transportation South. As the railways grew sea travel around the coast diminished.

Locomotion. The first loco to run on a public railway. Ran from 1825 until 1841. In 1850 it became a static boiler at a factory.Robert Stephenson’s Locomotion. The first loco to run on a public railway. Ran from 1825 until 1841. In 1850 it became a static boiler at a factory.

Ex North Eastern Railway station Darlington.Ex North Eastern Railway Station Darlington.

The museum has a link with the National Railway Museum at York because all the locos were on loan. There was some rolling stock out in another part of the station grounds and there are plans to open another section to the public in September, but for the time being this must be one of the smallest railway museums around.

Tennant #1463 built 1885 withdrawn and preserved 1927. The only remaining one of its class.Tennant #1463 built 1885 withdrawn and preserved 1927. The only remaining one of its class.

Platform bookstall found on many a railway station.Platform bookstall found on many a railway station.

Inside North Road station. Head of Steam museum.Inside North Road station. Head of Steam museum.

For the past two evenings we have been entertained by members of a local Aero modelling club flying their radio controlled aircraft in the adjacent field. Helicopters, stunt planes, powered gliders and a V jet aircraft which was flown too high and went out of sight it eventually crashed landed in the wheat field opposite. The wheat appeared to soften the impact as it came back unscathed.

4 comments:

Carol said...

Hi both,
Had to tell you how much I've enjoyed your journey over the months - brilliant, with great pictures and not too many words!
Kind Regards

Derek and Dot said...

Hi Carol
Thanks for those lovely comments, we haven't quite finished yet. Another canal fix coming up too, yippee.
Dot

Paul and Elaine said...

Darlington was my favourite train-spotting spot when we lived "Up North" in the mid 60s.
We lived in a little seaside village called Marske by the Sea.
We went to school in Middlesborough and the train was often steam hauled on the branch line from Saltburn to the Boro
Really enjoyed living up there at that time its was very "Heartbeat"

Derek and Dot said...

Hi Paul and Elaine
Small world isn't it? Another ex Pom moved down under!