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A Railway History of New Shildon (ePub)

From George Stephenson to the Present Day

Colour eBooks P&S History > British History Transport > Trains & Railways

By George Turner Smith
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
File Size: 81.1 MB (.epub)
Pages: 204
Illustrations: 70
ISBN: 9781526736406
Published: 13th May 2019


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On the 27th September 1825, the first public railway steam train left New Shildon for Stockton-on-Tees. The driver was George Stephenson and the engine he was driving was the ‘Locomotion No.1’. It set off from a settlement which would become New Shildon. At the time it consisted of just a set of rails and four houses, none of which had been there less than a year before. The four houses became a town with a five-figure population; a town that owed its existence to the railway that made its home there - the ‘Stockton and Darlington’(S&DR). Some of the earliest and greatest railway pioneers worked there, including George and his son Robert, the Hackworth brothers, Timothy and Thomas, and the engineer William Bouch. Their story is part of New Shildon’s story. The locomotive works, created to build and maintain steam locomotives, morphed into the world’s most innovative works whose demise had more to do with politics than productivity. This book covers Shildon's years between 1820 and today, including the war interludes when the wagon works was manned by women and the output was mostly intended for the MOD. The story of the creation of the town's railway museum and the arrival of Hitachi at Newton Aycliffe brings the history up to date and , to complete the picture, there is also a description of the on-going new build G5 steam locomotive project on Hackworth Industrial Estate, the very site where the S&DR locomotive and wagon works was located. Although the story of a railway town, it is also the story of people who lived there and made it what it is today.

The book covers 200 years of history, so you can imagine how interesting it is. I loved the short stories about the people who worked there. While it offers some technical details, most of the details concern the day to day life, so I imagine to be interesting for most readers. At the end of the book the author talks about the town’s railway museum. If you are even mildly interested in railways and their history, it is worth getting this book.

5 stars

Read the full review here

Coffee and Books

Just south of the original small town of Shildon in County Durham, four workmen’s cottages at what became New Shildon can lay claim to being one of the earliest railway settlements in the world. In 1825 the Stockton and Darlington Railway ran the first steam-powered public railway offering goods and passenger facilities, and soon required a complex of buildings including blacksmiths’ and other workshops to support its growing ambitions. The author outlines the roles of Hackworth and Stephenson, the visits by continental engineers, and how the railway had to learn from some awful accidents to unsuspecting adults and children. A full list of locomotives built at Shildon from 1827 to 1867 is included, along with biographical notes on all the key players, chapters on the North Eastern Railway period, the busy Shildon Wagon Works and the town’s latest incarnation as a railway heritage centre. George Turner Smith’s work makes for a highly readable account of the development and decline of Shildon as a railway centre, and is well illustrated with drawings, maps and photographs both black and white and colour.

West Somerset Railway Association, July 2020

... a most interesting and readable book – highly recommended, and to your reviewer worth a second and even third read to soak up all the atmosphere and details.

Bradford Railway Circle, March 2020 - review by Ian Button

As featured in

Railway and Canal Historical Society

An interesting story about the importance played by the town in railway history.

Stephenson Locomotive Society

This is a detailed but easy-read book, and the author admits his difficulty in writing it because of the widespread discrepancies of recorded data. However, getting help from Jane Hackworth-Young, a direct descendant of Timothy Hackworth and distinguished historian and researcher herself, certainly adds something to the book's credibility.

Steam World, August 2019

A very commendable effort on a very tricky subject.

North Eastern Railway Association

A worthwhile work about a town that should have more attention.

The Journal of the Friends of the National Railway Museum, Summer 2019

Article: 'Something in the air' as featured by

The Northern Echo, 12th June 2019 – words by Mike Amos

Article: When the Echo said Shildon was one of the "ugliest places on earth" as featured by

The Northern Echo (online & PRINT), 8th June 2019 – words by Chris Lloyd

Another beautifully produced railway history from Pen & Sword Books, "A Railway History of New Shildon: From George Stephenson to the Present Day" is an extraordinarily informative and profusely illustrated volume that is unreservedly recommended.

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Midwest Book Review

It is a very interesting book about what is probably one of the most historical British railways. With its large amount of information and good photographs allows you to get to know this railway better. In addition, like all books of the publishing house Pen and Sword Books has an excellent layout.

Read the full Spanish review here

Unes Cuantos Trenes Blog, Jorge del Valle

About George Turner Smith

After leaving his home town of Hartlepool, following graduation as a chemist. George spent several years in the chemical industry before turning poacher/gamekeeper as a pollution regulator. He began writing more than twenty years ago, concentrating on railway history, an appropriate choice since both his father and paternal grandfather were railwaymen. He has written extensively for railway magazines and has five published railway books and one fiction book to his credit. Now retired, he lives in the Midlands and is married with three grown up children and five grandchildren, none of whom have the slightest interest in railways.

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