'The Opening of the Stockton & Darlington Railway', 1825.
© NRM / Pictorial Collection / Science & Society Picture Library
Oil painting by Terence Tenison Cuneo, 1949. The Stockton & Darlington Railway was the world's first public railway. It was built under the guidance of chief engineer George Stephenson (1781-1848), to link collieries in West Durham and Darlington with the docks on the River Tees at Stockton in Durham. At the opening on 27 September 1825, large crowds saw Stephenson at the controls of 'Locomotion', the locomotive built for the railway by Robert Stephenson & Co, as it pulled 36 wagons to the Stockton terminus.