Shildon railway works
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Shildon was the terminus of the Stockton & Darlington Railway, when it opened in 1825. Its first locomotive superintendent was Timothy Hackworth, who maintained their locomotives at the Soho Works. These had been giving so many problems that the S&D's directors were considering abandoning steam. Hackworth asked the railway's directors for a free hand to build a locomotive of his own design and, in 1827, built the Royal George. Among its innovations is said to be the blast pipe which directs exhaust steam into the chimney in such a way as to draw the fire, and seven more were built by 1832.
The railway also no longer allowed horse-drawn passenger carriages to use the line. The existing freight engines were extremely slow. Hackworth was asked to develop something lighter and faster, and built the "Globe" in 1830, the first specialist passenger engine. It was also said to be the first to use cranked axles, successfully at least.
The railway bought the Soho Works in 1855 to be part of its Shildon and Darlington Works. In 1863 the railway company became part of the North Eastern Railway (UK). Ten more locomotives were built between 1863 and 1867, but, generally the work was transferred to Darlington and in 1871 all locomotive work ceased.
In 1883 the Soho Works closed, but the remainder of the Shildon works remained a major centre for wagon building and repairs. Among its achievements, in the 20th century was the 'Presflo' cement wagon and the 'Freightliner'. From then on, however, British Railways' freight traffic contracted to the point where the works closed in 1984.
Shildon Locomotion Museum
Part of the works in now the Shildon Locomotion Museum. The museum has an example of a 'Presflo' cement wagon on display in its collection.
- Simmons, J., (1986) The Railway in Town and Country, Newton Abott: David and Charles
- Larkin, E.J., Larkin, J.G., (1988) The Railway Workshops of Great Britain 1823-1986, Macmillan Press