Talk:Stockton and Darlington Railway

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Featured article Stockton and Darlington Railway is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
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February 24, 2014 Peer review Reviewed
March 28, 2014 Featured article candidate Promoted
Current status: Featured article
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THis railroad changed history. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) . 15:57, November 26, 2005


Are you aware that the Kilmarnock and Troon Railway was opened in 1812? Stockton and Darlington line was opened in 1825, more than ten years later. TheBourtreehillian 19:05, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

1. The Kilmarnock and Troon was not steam hauled adhesively worked
2. It was not open to the public, nor was it publicly subscribed
3. It was freight only

Chevin 09:00, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

Mumbles Railway between Swansea and Oystermouth began carrying passengers on 25th March 1807. Horsedrawn initially, it did not start to use steam until 1877 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bob.williams (talkcontribs) 12:33, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:DarlingtonLocomotion1.jpg[edit]

Nuvola apps important.svg

Image:DarlingtonLocomotion1.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to ensure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images lacking such an explanation can be deleted one week after being tagged, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.

BetacommandBot (talk) 21:47, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done - Replaced the book cover image with a photo of the locomotive. Slambo (Speak) 12:08, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Route Map[edit]

Does anyone else think there should be a route map of some sort if it is really so important. The current one is not up to scratch —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:02, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I think so too! I've improved the map's description so that nobody should be too disappointed anymore if they click on it hoping to get any details of the S&DR route (there are none). But what's needed is a better map, large-scale, showing the three main points on the original route. Pete Hobbs (talk) 20:43, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

Article improvements needed[edit]

This article needs quite a lot of work to improve it. The S&DR was the world's first "proper" public railway (in the sense of being publicly owned and passenger-carrying - the Oystermouth Railway was the first to take passengers, but it was a small private venture). Yet the article had no mention of this at all! One of several faults, most of which are to do with the disjointed flow of the whole article. I have improved the introduction, and split what was a long mid section titled "History" into two (now "Planning and construction" and "Opening and early operations"). Also the article's description of the opening run cited a source which, when checked, gave a totally different description of the run! I'm inclined to believe only the published source, but have left the (probably inaccurate) first description in place with a reference to "according to an unknown source", until somebody can come up with a better solution or verification. But this article needs rewriting - it has too many disjointed paras that don't follow on from each other. Pete Hobbs (talk) 20:38, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

Photgraphy ?[edit]

The Stockton and Darlington Locomotion No 1, tender and waggon (1825).

Did photography exist when this 1825 picture was taken? Tabletop (talk) 01:44, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

I don't think the photo was taken in 1825. It would be appear to be a photo of a museum piece: a loco on a plinth, a carving on the plinth shows the year 1825, presumably commemorating the opening of the line in that year. According to
the loco was placed on a pedestal near North Road railway station in 1857, being moved to a pedestal at Darlington Bank Top in 1892; at times, it was placed on temporary exhibition elsewhere, such as Wembley 1924. Since the file description page states "The American railway, its Construction, Development, Management, and Appliances (1889)", I believe that this photo was taken at some point between 1857 and 1889, showing the loco as preserved at North Road. --Redrose64 (talk) 12:58, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
Corrected caption to give accurate decription, as I fully concur with Redrose64's comment. Plus a close examination of the source "photo" shows it to be an artist's illustration (plus it's described as such on source page). Pete Hobbs (talk) 14:52, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Article expansion[edit]

I've just started an expansion of this important article; please bear with me, I'll start a peer review when I'm about done. If I'm happy with the article I'll take it to GA or FA. Edgepedia (talk) 09:56, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

Straith or staith?[edit]

Is this a typo or an alternate spelling needing a redirect? Andy Dingley (talk) 16:22, 5 January 2014 (UTC)

We also need an article for staith itself! Staithe is currently just a redir to wharf, which isn't nearly the same thing. Andy Dingley (talk) 16:25, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
Tomlinson and Allen call these staith(s), without the e. The extra r was just a typo, probably not the only one. Edgepedia (talk) 16:37, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
AIUI, staith is appropriate for the NE, staithe is for Southerners (mostly Norfolk). Andy Dingley (talk) 16:39, 5 January 2014 (UTC)

Pure OR, but searching through Tomlinson for staith, it seems to me that it means wharf, but can also mean a specialised one with equipment for coal or other minerals. For example the index has an entry for "Staiths and coal shipping places", and he says "coal-shipping staiths" when introducing a new port, the going on to talk about the staiths. More OR, but perhaps the 'e' was lost in the North East becauses of Staithes? For the moment I've changed the redirect on Staithe to point to Wharf#Etymology, and created one for Staith Edgepedia (talk) 17:26, 5 January 2014 (UTC)

AIUI, a staith has a different, albeit somewhat coincidental, meaning from staithe. "Staithe" is a Norse word that was used in the Danelaw to mean wharf. It retains this to this day. Outside the Danelaw (and in this case, North of it - for those from South of Watford, it wasn't all "It's just Vikings all the way oop North") the word staithe didn't enter popular use.
When coal shipping expanded into the mechanical era, dedicate boats and dedicated wharves appeared. To simplify loading (and unloading wasn't needed on these quays), special raised quays were built, with chutes into the collier's holds. These soon gained the specific and locally-novel name "staiths", without the 'e'. I admit I don't know the etymology of this. Andy Dingley (talk) 17:56, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
Found this on the subject, with lots of old photos. Edgepedia (talk) 20:04, 5 January 2014 (UTC)

Travelling on coal waggons, or on wagons full of coal?[edit]

Good professional editing by User:Edgepedia a few minutes ago. But just one immediate query re passengers in the section about The Opening - some travelling on coal waggons got changed to some travelling on waggons full of coal. Is this correct? If full of coal, surely there was no room for passengers! I'd always assumed the coal waggons were empty, and probably swept clean for the day. If passengers AND coal, then maybe they were half full of coal? It's a genuine curiosity - did passengers really pay to stand on top of full coal waggons? It seems a highly dangerous thing to do, even for the early 1800s. Pete Hobbs (talk) 18:36, 10 January 2014 (UTC)

I've just re-read Tomlinson, and I can't find it. I think I was influenced by the painting on this page of 1949. Thanks for the catch. Edgepedia (talk) 19:13, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
No I've got it - In the list on p. 110 of Tomlinson: "Six waggons loaded with coals: passengers on the top of them." But most travelled in the waggons. Edgepedia (talk) 19:19, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
It was of course quite usual, and cheaper, to travel on the outside of the horse drawn road coaches - one account I've read recently had about nine people on the outside and three inside. Early railway carriages had seating on the outside, and someone died on the S&DR in 1840 after falling from the roof of a carriage. The speeds were generally quite low. The Board of Trade started imposing safety rules later. Edgepedia (talk) 19:27, 10 January 2014 (UTC)


This was promoted a couple of days ago, although the bot has yet to update the article history and archive the discussion. I note there's a discussion about choosing the TFAs on the requests talk page, and my suggestion is for this to be Today's Featured Article date on 27 September 2015; i.e. the 190 year anniversary. Edgepedia (talk) 06:36, 30 March 2014 (UTC)

Locomotive No. 18[edit]

Hewison, pp.29-30 (Hewison, Christian H. (1983). Locomotive Boiler Explosions. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. ISBN 0 7153 8305 1. ) mentions that Ex S&DR locomotive No. 18 Shildon or Shannon suffered a boiler explosion north of Sough Tunnel on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway in November 1846. The problem with this is that the L&Y was not incorporated until July 1847. Also, if the locomotive had been sold by the S&D, then who to, and why was it still operating on the S&D? Mjroots (talk) 08:08, 3 August 2014 (UTC)

Hewison doesn't state that it was actually on the S&D. He does state "the explosion on the L&YR" but this is clearly a misreading of Marshall, the source given by Hewison. Marshall's book covers the whole of the L&Y, including constituent companies; it is the first volume of three:

Work on the Bolton section was proceeding, but not without mishap. Evans made use of an old locomotive from the Stockton & Darlington Railway and on 20 November 1846, while this was working about 300 yards north of Sough tunnel, it exploded 'from being overcharged with steam'.2 The driver was killed and the fireman badly scalded. The name of the engine was given as Shannon but it was probably S & D No 18 Shildon, an 0-6-0 with vertical cylinders in front of the smokebox, erected at Shildon in 1831 from parts supplied by R. Stephenson & Hawthorn to the design of Hackworth, and sold in 1838.3

Marshall's refs are:
  1. Railway Record, 28 November 1846
  2. I am indebted to Mr. K. Hoole for this information. A drawing of this type of engine appears on p 178 of Dendy Marshall's History of the railway locomotive to 1831
The incident clearly occurred during construction, before the line opened. According to Marshall, the Blackburn, Darwen & Bolton Railway was incorporated on 30 June 1845; the contract was awarded to John Evans on 13 September 1845; and the first sod was cut on 27 September. This company amalgamated with the Blackburn, Clitheroe & North Western Junction Railway (inc. 27 July 1846) on 9 July 1847 to form the Blackburn Railway. The first section (Blackburn to Sough) opened 3 August 1847. The Blackburn Railway was taken over jointly by the L&Y and East Lancashire Railway by an Act of 12 July 1858, effective 1 July 1858. It therefore became wholly L&YR-owned when the L&YR and ELR amalgamated in 1859. --Redrose64 (talk) 11:07, 3 August 2014 (UTC)

Standard gauge "mystery"?[edit]

In Note 6, regarding standard gauge being 4 ft 8-1/2 in, an editor wrote, "The difference of 1⁄2 inch (13 mm) is a mystery." (with two citations). However, in the standard gauge article itself, it states that George Stephenson set the gauge to that size deliberately, "(including a belated extra 1⁄2 in (13 mm) of free movement to reduce binding on curves)" (with citation). It would seem that there is no mystery at all, and the explanation from the standard gauge article should be inserted here. Kelseymh (talk) 05:45, 27 September 2015 (UTC)

It wasn't 4'8½" up there for decades anyway. "Stephenson gauge" in the NE was 4'8", as a fairly random pick between the 4' (commonly) to 5' (rarely) plateways already in use. It's most likely that Stephenson measured the existing plateway chaldrons that were to be converted for initial use on the railway and picked a gauge a little wider. Given the same wheel spacing, an edge railway will be slightly wider in gauge than a plateway for the same wagons. Also these early chaldrons were inside framed, so it's easier to make them a bit wider than any narrower.
4'8½" doesn't appear until Stephenson starts trials with the L&MR. Their stone-block track (which stayed in gauge) and their faster running needed greater clearance on the flanges. So the 4'8" stock that had been built in the NE (or at least, axle ironwork for wagons had been) stayed the same, but the rail gauge was moved outwards by the extra ½". Brunel would himself add a similar ¼" to his 7' gauge.
In later years, Stephenson famously admitted that whilst he thought his gauge better than Brunel's, if he did it again he'd have made it a few inches wider. Probably to something like the 5'3" Irish gauge. Andy Dingley (talk) 10:47, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
What I was trying to say was that S&DR documents give the gauge as 4'8", but when measured it was found to be 4'8½" - so was it built 4'8" and changed later, or built 4'8½" and the distance rounded down? I haven't access to the source used in standard gauge (Vaughan 1997) that the extra ½ was added later, and in any case there's no page number so that would mean reading the entire book. (which is why page numbers are required in the standards for Featured Articles). Edgepedia (talk) 12:17, 29 September 2015 (UTC)
Went looking for other information about this, and this document from NASA explaining why the US railway gauge is 4'8½" is a short read. I think in summary, historians disagree. Edgepedia (talk) 12:30, 29 September 2015 (UTC)

Why do people look for mysteries? The early history of railways and plateways owes more to 18thC engineering than to 19thC. 4'8" would be at least ± 1", possibly 2". As Andy points out, by the time of the L&MR speeds had increased. Iron was being used in place of wood, and if you compare the wheels of Locomotion No 1 with The Rocket they look like they come from different centuries. Geordie had to rewrite the specs with a tighter tolerance. This was after all the same period as Maudsley and (a little later) Whitworth.

Carts are a bit wider than the draught animal used to pull them. Cart wheels are placed outside of the frame. Romans building stepping stones in Pompeii or the cart slots in fortress gates faced the same bio-mechanical imperatives as a cartwright at a Tyneside pit. The same problem tends to produce the same solution, in this case 4'8" ± a chunk. The NASA article ignores the humble luggage carts (the impedimentia of the army) and sets up an Aunt Sally and spends 2 pages demolishing it. The NASA article is disappointing in another respect: it is highly parochial in its approach. Standardisation to avoid the break of gauge was a world-wide problem. The UK gauge commission and subsequent 1846 act pre-dates the US Civil war by around 2 decades and had international influence. It is important to remember that standard gauge is an international standard (give or take the odd 0.1mm), not a US one. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 13:38, 29 September 2015 (UTC)

  • Any decent history of Stephenson at the Rocket period should clear this up. Before this, and including Romans, standard gauge simply wasn't a consistent 4'8½", it was anyway 4'8" for Stephenson's work. Just look at the Wallsend Waggonway for recent archaeological evidence. It wasn't even particularly standard, for tramways other than Stephenson's. There is a good 6"+ of deliberate variation either way on edge railways of that period, and that's far too much for a sloppy tolerance, it's a deliberate design decision. Georgian scientists were measuring to below a millimetre at this time, it's a disservice to the railway engineers to consider them as some sort of dark ages hack carpenters. It's also why WP is wrong to regard the 4' Middleton Railway as "narrow gauge" because some WP editor once had a blistering rant that even a millimetre less then 1435mm was "narrow gauge".
"if you compare the wheels of Locomotion No 1 with The Rocket"
Locomotion's wheels are later than Rocket. There is no record of Stephenson's original wheels for Locomotion, except that they broke. The distinctive S&DR two-piece wheel design is Hackworth's. It has been suggested that Locomotion acquired these wheels in the 1828 rebuild. The actual wheels fitted are thought to be even later, as replacements of the same pattern. The outer part of these wheels was always intended as a wear item. Andy Dingley (talk) 14:07, 29 September 2015 (UTC)