The Robert Stephenson Trust promotes the greatest engineer of the nineteenth century with the aim of making today's generation aware of his work and humanity to insire a new generation of engineers through his achievements.

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Posted By Robert. Stephenson


The Chair reported that all the speakers had accepted the invitation to present papers to the conference had now accepted with the exception of the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site and Sustrans, but she will be contacting Ironbridge Gorge and Sustrans for a response.

The dinner on the evening of the Conference will take place in the Great Hall at the Redworth Hall Hotel and arrangements were in hand.

Arrangements for the Cradle of the Railways walk in the Shildon area on the 16th June had been agreed.  It will be organised and conducted by Durham County Council.  This will be followed by a tour of the Timothy Hackworth Museum and then a drinks reception at Locomotion.

The Conference will take place on the 17th June from 9.30 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Displays will be at the main entrance to Locomotion.

A request has been made to the North of England Museum at Beamish for the loan of the working model of Locomotion No. 1.  This necessitates risk assessments and insurance which will be addressed.

The dinner on the evening of the 17th June at the Redworth Hall Hotel would be the get together for the key players to reflect on the presentations made at the conference, to work together to preserve what has been left of the original 1825 railway and to discuss the feasibility of a World Heritage Bid and what should be included.  Any potential bid for funding for the Conservation Management Plan and the World Heritage Site bid will have to address what is unique and special about the Stockton and Darlington Railway and all towns, villages and communities along the route must benefit from the protection, preservation and restoration of the route which includes economic regeneration.

Auckland Castle has been approached to form a link with the Friends and to participate in the conference.

It was anticipated that there would be 150 to 200 delegates present at the conference.  There would be no delegate fees and the three Councils would be asked to meeting any shortfall in the cost of the conference.

The National Railway Museum fully supported the conference.

A request had been made through the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport for the Secretary of State to open the conference, but no response had been received.  The Friends President, Lord Foster, will be asked to approach the Permanent Secretary.  A member suggested that the current Under Secretary of State for Transport be asked to open the conference if there had not been a response from the Permanent Secretary.  The Under Secretary of State is a Patron of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and is keenly interested in heritage railways. 

The Deputy Editor of the Northern Echo had been approached to chair the afternoon session.  The Deputy Editor is considering this and he will be asked again.

The meeting suggested that invitations to the conference be made to the Stephenson, Pease and Backhouse families.

The delegates list will include the Leaders, Cabinet Members and officers with responsibility for culture, heritage and economic regeneration with Durham County Council, Darlington Borough Council and Stockton on Tees Borough Council.  Two or three representatives from the Town and Parish Councils along the original route and from the railway heritage groups and local and national train operating companies.

A power point presentation was being drawn up to be taken to meetings of the Town and Parish Councils along the route of the railway.

There was a question about if it was the Stockton and Darlington Railway or the 1825 line which was different and it was decided that the 1823 Act be examined for the correct route.

Posted By Robert. Stephenson

About The Friends

1.   Who are the Friends

The Friends are a group of people who care deeply about the railway heritage of the area and want to see the 1825 Stockton and Darlington Railway line receive the recognition and the protection it deserves as the world’s first steam powered passenger railway and from which all passenger railways across the world developed.

2.   The Friends Vision

To work with statutory, non-statutory and voluntary bodies to identify, preserve, promote and develop the 1825 Stockton & Darlington Railway line as an educational, cultural and historic site of International significance and to develop its recreational, economic and tourism potential.

3.   Aims and Objectives of the Friends

  • To promote the educational, cultural and historic importance and international significance of the route of the 1825 Stockton and Darlington Railway.
  • To develop its recreational, economic and tourism potential and to encourage its enjoyment by all.
  • To recognise and raise the world wide profile and the importance of the 1825 Stockton & Darlington Railway line.
  • To foster pride in belonging to an area which has played a significant and important part in world history.
  • To maximise the tourist potential of the 1825 Stockton & Darlington Railway line thereby bringing tourists to the area and making the area a tourist destination.
  • To contribute to the economic regeneration of the area through the creation of jobs, generate income for businesses and encourage the relocation of businesses to the area on the back of its history.
  • To protect the route of the 1825 Stockton and Darlington Railway from development which does not respect the uniqueness of the line and seeks to sever and destroy any part of the route.
  • To promote the contribution which the route of the 1825 Stockton and Darlington Railway can make to good health, conservation and the environment.
  • To pursue National Heritage Listing for England and World Heritage Status for the 1825 Stockton & Darlington Railway line.




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