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To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what preparations her Department are undertaking to celebrate the opening of the first public railway in Stockton and Darlington in 1825.
Through the Heritage Action Zone initiative, Historic England, Government’s adviser on the historic environment, is helping to breathe new life into old places that are rich in heritage and full of promise. The Stockton and Darlington Railway (S&DR) Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) has been established to help rejuvenate and restore the historic railway and to help realise its potential to become a major heritage attraction in the build-up to its 2025 bicentenary. The aim is to provide the impetus for long term economic growth and regeneration in the area.
The preparations for celebrating the bicentenary are central to the HAZ. The HAZ is part of a much wider initiative around celebrating the anniversary, led by Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA), and there are extensive plans in place to mark the anniversary. A lot of well-developed planning on the S&DR HAZ has taken place involving all the key partners including local government partners as well as industry partners, such as National Rail and others. The partners are working together not just on the overall management of the project, but also on the planning of a highly ambitious cultural programme for 2025. Extensive groundwork has taken place to develop the corridor of the S&DR HAZ into a coherent attraction with all key partners working on plans to celebrate 2025 as the anniversary of a great moment in our shared history. The partners’ intention is to create a permanently enhanced cultural attraction across the S&DR HAZ area in order to leave a lasting legacy.
The National Railway Museum, part of the DCMS-Sponsored Science Museum Group, will also be celebrating this monumental anniversary. The Railway Museum in York and its sister site, Locomotion in Shildon, are being transformed in order to reimagine the way they share the inspirational story of Britain’s railways with future generations, and visitors from around the world. These redevelopments, supported by £18.6m of government funding, will culminate in significant celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 2025.