The rail line the Bishop Line follows is of huge historic importance as it formed part of the original Stockton and Darlington Railway which opened on 27 September 1825.

The official train had 32 wagons pulled by the engine Locomotion and ran at a speed of approximately 10 miles per hour. It was preceded by a man on horseback who rode in front of the engine and was followed by twenty-four horse drawn wagons.

This historic event took place on the Bishop Line and heralded the start of the “railway age”. There are still many buildings and places of interest to do with the early years of the railways to be found in the area.

The painting below by John Dobbin shows Locomotion 1 pulling wagons full of coal, flour and, for the first time, people, across Skerne Bridge – one of the world’s first railways bridges. Dobbin was born in Darlington and would have been about ten years old when the Railway opened. He painted this 50 years later from sketches made by his father – and possibly from his own memories of the day. This is his most famous painting and an important record of this world famous occasion.

A series of Interpretation panels depicting the heritage of the Bishop Line have been installed on the station platforms between North Road and Bishop Auckland. The boards have been compiled with the help of North Eastern Railway Association using fascinating images from their archive. If you’re travelling on the Bishop Line look out for the boards.

Boards have also been produced for Dinsdale Station which, although it strictly sits as part of the Tees Valley Line, shares a common history with the rest of the Bishop Line.

A commemorative book has been produced featuring a compilation of the artwork used within the Interpretation boards.

The Partnership in conjunction with the North Eastern Railway Association has produced a booklet about the line.

A brief history of the Bishop Line, written by Charlie Walton, Former Chair of the Bishop Line Community Rail Partnership is available to download as a pdf file here. A-short-history-of-the-route

If you would like a copy of any of the publications above please contact us.