Inextricably linked

19th April 2022 | posted in News

As a housing association inextricably linked with the railways, it’s fantastic to see the plans that are being put together to mark the bicentennial of the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 2025.

After all, it was only a few years ago that we had our own special celebration when we reached the grand old age of 100.

I know from experience how much organisation goes into celebrating events like this and the plans so far look amazing.

The proposed new Rail Heritage Quarter looks particularly exciting with the local council proposing to transform the current Head of Steam railway museum into a ‘game changing’ tourist attractions featuring holograms and a theme park-style trip through time.

After the hardships of the last few years, how fantastic will it be to see something like this in Darlington, with people travelling from across the world to enjoy this attraction and the other things being planned for 2025?

Needless to say, we’re hoping to be involved in the celebrations and one of our housing schemes may well even end up receiving a visitor or two.

That’s because the development we officially opened in our centenary year in 2019, known as The Sidings, lies close to the Darlington to Stockton Line features a converted Grade 2 listed engine shed from 1844 which we designed following discussions with the Friends of the 1825 Darlington & Stockton Railway and English Heritage.

And it’s not just Darlington where our connections to the railways run deep.

We transformed the old Stockton railway station when we provided a sheltered housing scheme called Hackworth Court and residents whose homes face onto the rails, still get to see trains passing every day – that really is a train spotter’s dream!

And, of course, we also have a presence in historic railway towns like Doncaster, Newcastle, and York.

So, who knows, perhaps we should look at launching our own railway specific visitor attraction, although I am not sure visiting our homes would have the same pull as a multi-million-pound augmented reality museum in the centre of Darlington – even if we are very proud of them!

No, we’ll stick to what we do best, providing great quality homes and join everyone else in celebrating such a momentous year in 2025.

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