England's highest main line railway - why was it built, how did it develop, and why was it closed?
This exhibition, the first in a set of three being shown around Kirkby Stephen in the summer months, explains how the growing needs of the great nineteenth century industrial powerhouses in the North East and on the West Cumbrian coast created the need for a railway linking the intense coke production of South Durham with the iron and steel works of West Cumbria, and the rich iron ore deposits on England's west coast with the powerful shipbuilding and engineering empires of Teesside, Wearside and Tyneside.
This route, which became known as The Stainmore Railway, rapidly developed from a single track out of Barnard Castle and over the heights of the North Pennines to Tebay into a network of lines with branches to Upper Teesdale and through the Eden Valley to Penrith, the original single track transforming into a double track main line by the early 20th century. The exhibition describes how the railway and its mighty viaducts were built, the working of the line over its one hundred year history, and its rapid demise in the early 1960's as Britain fell out of love with railways.
It is planned that the exhibition will be at Kirkby Stephen East at weekends during June 2011 and probably at other venues in the area over the summer. Details will be provided here.