Graphic explaining Storylines Celebration Event featuring an illustration of a person on a train.

Event: ‘Storylines Live’ A night of poems, songs & films about life today along the world’s oldest public passenger railway.

Date: 27 September 2023, Doors 7, 7.30 – 10pm at The Forum Music Centre, Darlington

Description: Live poetry, songs and films from award winning poets, songwriters and filmmakers all about the passengers who travel today along the world’s first public passenger railway. The showcase event hosted by Tracks, the not-for-profit music development organisation in Darlington, will feature brand new material that has come out of a series of artist residencies on board Northern train services between Bishop Auckland and Saltburn, along parts of the original The Stockton & Darlington Railway. The event takes place on the 198th anniversary of this world-famous line, on 27 September 2023. Opened in 1825, the original line is the world’s first locomotive-powered public railway which changed the way the world trades, travels and communicates. Storylines is commissioned by North East social enterprise Citizen Songwriters CIC in partnership with the Bishop Line Community Rail Partnership. Tickets (£10 / £8 advanced) available via the The Forum Music Centre website:

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Chair of Bishop Line Community Rail Partnership, Caroline Pearce, says

The celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the Stockton & Darlington Railway is an extremely important event for the Bishop Line, being part of the original route. We’re so pleased to be working with all the creative partners on the Storylines project to help bring the 2025 celebration to the forefront of people’s minds and involve local people in preparing for this momentous celebration”.

The poets include Darlington-born Lizzie Lovejoy, writer, illustrator and storyteller, Saltburn based Carmen Marcus, author, poet and one of the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain’s recipients of the New Play Commission Scheme; Newcastle-based Rowan McCabe, “the world’s first Door-to door poet” and Harry Gallagher, Teesside-born poet and former ‘BBC Tees poet for National Poetry Day’. Sam Slatcher, singer-songwriter and curator of the Storylines project will be sharing songs from a new album he’s writing inspired by the railway’s stories of old and new and filmmakers from Lonely Tower will be showcasing films on individual stories from the railway.

Tracks co-founder Sarah Wilson says:

‘We are really excited to work with Sam to bring this event to The Forum Music Centre in Darlington. Supporting artists to devise new art, whatever the form, is very exciting and definitely makes us feel like we’re helping something special to be created with a strong nod towards celebrating our rich railway heritage. We run the Last Train Home Festival of music and comedy every September, with a launch event on Thurs 31st Aug, the festival day on Sat 2nd Sept and now this gorgeous event on Sept 27th to add to the programme it’s wonderful to have this event be a part of it this year and grow our circle with other creatives across the region”.

For Lizzie Lovejoy, writer and storyteller,

“there is something magical about this train journey. This line revolutionised the world of work and travel, providing opportunities for working-class people that didn’t rely on one town alone. It provided connection, between place and people. We are continuing that tradition”.


The project is supported with funding from Northern, Cross Country and the Community Rail Network.