Railway 200 celebration is launched today

The railway industry is launching a celebration which will mark 200 years of passenger railways in Britain in 2025.

On 27 September 1825 the world’s first passenger train, hauled by George Stephenson’s Locomotion No.1, carried over 400 people along the Stockton & Darlington Railway. The landmark event drew crowds of up to 40,000 people, although in the early years of the S&D steam locomotives then hauled goods trains, and infrequent passenger trains were pulled by horses.

Five years later the Liverpool & Manchester Railway opened, as the first railway to be designed exclusively for steam power and also intended to carry passengers from the outset.

Now, with two years to go until the bicentenary of the Stockton & Darlington, the rail industry has confirmed it will mark the anniversary and the far-reaching effects of railways and train travel, with a year-long programme called Railway 200.

A logo for the celebrations has been unveiled along with a website. The logo symbolises the idea that rail is a continuous line connecting the country, which the organisers said was ‘the fabric woven throughout our history, linking lives, communities and cultures, whilst leading the way towards the future’.

Developed by a cross industry partnership, with a focus on inspiring the next generation, Railway 200 will be a national programme starting in January 2025. A wide variety of activities, initiatives and partnerships is being considered, including commemorative items, so that Railway 200 can celebrate rail’s remarkable past, recognise its importance today, and look forward to its future.

Plans are also underway for an exhibition train which will travel around the rail network and take Railway 200 to people all over Britain. Developed in partnership with the National Railway Museum and rolling stock leasing company Porterbrook, this train will consist of different exhibitions and interactive elements for young people and their families.

Organisations around the country are already planning their own events. Railway 200 invites the rail industry, its partners and custodians of our railway heritage, art and artefacts to consider how they can play their part.

Peter Hendy chairs Network Rail and also Railway 200. Lord Hendy said: ‘The world changed forever in 1825 and the 200th anniversary of this first passenger train journey is an historic opportunity to reset the public’s relationship with rail. It is our chance to present the railway as a forward thinking, digital industry and as an attractive career option for young people and for people from many different backgrounds.

‘For Railway 200 to reach its full potential, we must harness the knowledge and efforts of the whole industry, so I hope you will join us in creating a programme of celebrations which will recognise this great British achievement, the first public passenger train in the world, while inspiring a new generation to take our innovative railway far into the future.’

Railway Industry Association chief executive Darren Caplan said: ‘It is hard to overstate the benefits that the railway has brought, and continues to bring, not just to the UK, but also globally, since 1825. Rail networks don’t just keep people connected, they also play a crucial role in spurring economic growth, creating jobs, boosting sustainability, and bringing together local communities.’

Rail Delivery Group chief executive Jacqueline Starr added: ‘The world’s first passenger train changed transport forever, and the anniversary of that journey is a chance for the rail industry to celebrate our history and look to the future. Railway 200 is a chance to show the world that the innovative spirit of 1825 is still very much alive today, with a programme of activities that draws upon the creativity and talent that exists across the railway.’

Meanwhile Railnews launches a new business website tomorrow, and this will play a part in helping to celebrate 200 years of railways.

source= http://www.railnews.co.uk/news/2023/09/27-railway-200-celebration-is-launched.html