Heritage Locations

Darlington North Road Station

Restored 1842 station on the Stockton and Darlington Railway, now a museum


Period of construction:
1800 - 1849

Transport Trust plaque:

Transport Mode:

Darlington Railway Museum, North Road Station, Darlington DL3 6ST


Nearest Town:

Heritage Centre:

Between 1827 and 1833, passengers on the Stockton & Darlington Railway waited for trains in a shed adjacent to where the Great North Road in Darlington crossed the tracks. From 1833, passengers utilised a recently-built warehouse which stood to the east of the Great North Road; because the track ran high on an embankment, this building was three storeys high (it was demolished in 1864). This first North Road station was only used by passengers for five years.

In 1839, the S&DR built another shed, on the west side of the Great North Road, on top of which the second North Road station was constructed in 1842. It faced on to the Great North Road, which then took a more westerly course than today; in 1856, the Great North Road was straightened, leaving the station some distance from the main road.

A further blow to North Road Station was that, in 1841, York was connected with Newcastle with a stop at Darlington's Bank Top Station (see OTH entry). The north/south traffic grew and surpassed the east/west. In 1883, it was decided to build a proper station at Bank Top Station which took still more trade away from North Road. Progressively, North Road station saw its traffic fall and, by 1973, closure seemed imminent; however, collective action by concerned local people, the town council, the museums service and the tourist board saw the station restored and revived as a museum - 'Head of Steam'.

The museum is devoted to the area formerly served by the North Eastern Railway, with particular reference to the Stockton & Darlington Railway and the railway industry of Darlington. Exhibits include Stephenson's "Locomotion No. 1", built for the opening of the Stockton & Darlington Railway, and "Derwent", the earliest surviving Darlington built locomotive, on loan from The National Railway Museum Collection. Locomotion is one of the oldest surviving steam engines in the world and the first ever steam train to carry fare paying passengers.

A range of smaller items including station and lineside signs, uniforms, furniture, tableware and paintings, complements the larger exhibits. The entrance hall and ticket office are restored in period style, enhanced by displays of items such as porters' barrows, luggage, posters and advertising signs. The Ken Hoole Study Centre houses an extensive collection of documentary material, photographs, plans, books and periodicals, including the library collection of the North Eastern Railway Association.


Barman, Christian, An Introduction to Railway Architecture, Art & Technics, (1950)

Biddle, Gordon,
Great Railway Stations of Britain, David & Charles,  ISBN 0 7153 8263 2 (1986)

Biddle, Gordon,
Britain's Historic Railway Buildings, Oxford University Press, ISBN-10: 0198662475 (2003)

Biddle, Gordon,
Victorian Stations, David & Charles, ISBN 0 7153 5949 5 (1973)

Biddle, Gordon & Nock, O.S.,
The Railway Heritage of Britain : 150 years of railway architecture and engineering, Studio Editions, ISBN-10: 1851705953 (1990)

Biddle, Gordon and Simmons, J.,
The Oxford Companion to British Railway History, Oxford, ISBN 0 19 211697 5 (1997)

Biddle, Gordon,and Spence, Jeffry,
The British Railway Station, David & Charles, ISBN 0 7153 7467 2(1977)

Butt, R.V.J.,
The Directory of Railway Stations, Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-8526-0508-1. (October 1995, 1st Edition)

Conolly, W. Philip,
British Railways Pre-Grouping Atlas And Gazetteer, Ian Allan Publishing, ISBN 0-7110-0320-3 (1958/97)

Dunstone, D. For the Love of Trains. ISBN 0 7110 3301 6 (2007)

Hoole, K. Railway Stations of the North East (1985)

Hoole, K. The Stockton & Darlington Railway (1975)

Hoole, K. A Regional History of the Railways of Britain: North East. ISBN 0 7153 6439 1 (1974)

Larkin, E.J. & Larkin, J.G. , The Railway Workshops of Great Britain 1823-1986. Macmillan Press, (1988)

Lloyd, David and Insall, Donald, Railway Station Architecture, David & Charles, ISBN 0 7153 7575 X (1978)

Simmons, J., The Railways of Britain, Macmillan, ISBN 0 333 40766 0 (1961-86)

Simmons, J., The Victorian Railway, Thames & Hudson, ISBN 0 500 25110X (1991)

Rennison, R.W. Civil Engineering Heritage, Northern England, Thomas Telford Ltd for Institution of Civil Engineers, ISBN 07277 2518 1 (1981)

Opening Times:

Opening times vary - visit website

How To Find:

By road: Off A167, near to Darlington town centre; free on site parking

By rail: Adjacent to North Road Station (Saltburn to Bishop Auckland line)

By bus: A variety of bus services from Darlington stop near the museum


Weather Feed currently unavailable.