Plans announced for Darlington Railway Heritage Quarter

SPACE Architects have been selected to work with Darlington Council on the Darlington Railway Heritage Quarter project.

The Railway Heritage Quarter will be a unique and authentic visitor attraction that reveals the story of the Stockton to Darlington Railway and the local communities who saw an opportunity and seized it, and in doing so they transformed the rail industry in the process.

Railway Heritage Quarter will form a key attraction along the 26 miles of the Stockton & Darlington Railway Heritage Action Zone and will play a key role in attracting visitors to the area. It will tell the story of 200 years of the Stockton & Darlington Railway and will complement other visitor attractions along the line and within the region. 

The project is to be complete by 2025 -  in time for the bicentenary celebrations. It will engage audiences with the inspiring story of innovation, invention, connectivity and transformation represented by the physical remains of the Stockton and Darlington Railway.

As part of the project, SPACE will promote health and wellbeing through providing indoor and outdoor play, increase opportunities for skills development and reduce the carbon footprint of the site each year – with the aim to be carbon neutral by 2050.

The Goods Shed building is the oldest surviving and most prominent building on site. The area to the south of this building will be opened up to create an entrance plaza, with a new café and shop as well as seminar and exhibition spaces also included in the plans.

A building originally used for the maintenance of carriages is located to the west of the site. These live engineering works will be retained to the north of the building, while a flexible exhibition space takes their place. A first floor mezzanine structure will also provide a viewing gallery into both sides of the building.

Further space for interactive museum exhibitions will be added to the main station building, where engines are located between platforms.

Landscape features for the site include a woodland play area, references to the historic railway lines that once passed through the site, and the use of refurbished redundant engines as features in the new entrance plaza.