Taking just 27 minutes from the mainline station in Darlington to Bishop Auckland, you’ll enjoy a relaxing journey taking in the heritage-rich, diverse landscape along the way.
Starting your journey at Darlington Bank Top Station, look out for the historical display panels near platforms 2 and 3 and discover some interesting facts about the history of the railways. Interestingly, Bank Top Station was not the first station built for Darlington. The original Darlington station was situated on the opposite side of North Road to the current North Road station and was replaced by the new station building in 1842. Darlington Bank Top Station opened in 1887.
As you approach North Road Station you will pass the site of the original Darlington Station on the left just before you cross the road bridge, although there is no sign of it now. North Road station is home of the Head of Steam Museum which houses Locomotion No.1; the locomotive that hauled the first train on the line in 1825, and locally built Derwent. For more information on the Head of Steam museum visit the Head of Steam website.
Carry on along the line to Heighington and you’ll see the dramatic entrance to the new Hitachi factory where the new InterCity Express trains for the East Coast Main Line and Great Western Main Line, and AT200 commuter trains for Scotland, will be manufactured. Newton Aycliffe is the newest station on the Bishop Line. Opened in 1978, the station served the New Town which was built close to the site of a large World War II munitions factory.
Next stop is Shildon, home to Locomotion – The National Railway Museum at Shildon. Locomotion is home to a number of historic Locomotives and holds regular events which are great for the whole family. To find out more visit the Locomotion website. As you leave Shildon you are plunged into darkness as you enter the Shildon Tunnel which is almost one mile long. The tunnel opens up into beautiful countryside with views which would previously be scattered with collieries.
As you arrive at Bishop Auckland you will see the colourful mural – inspired by the town’s history, including coal mining and Stan Laurel. Several branch lines used to carry one from Bishop Auckland but just one now remains, the Weardale Railway, so if you have enjoyed your experience on the Bishop Line you may wish to carry on your adventure. Visit the Weardale Railway Trust website for more information.
Tell us about the best £5 you’ve ever spent. Or if you had an extra 27 minutes to do whatever you want, on any day of the week what would you choose to do?