CAMPAIGNERS bidding to create a heritage path along the route of the Stockton and Darlington Railway hope the scheme will boost the economies of towns on the line.

The Friends of the 1825 Stockton and Darlington Railway are hoping to develop the route which runs from Witton Park Colliery, near Bishop Auckland, to Stockton.

The group has outlined early proposals to trace the 26-mile route of the line which they hope will attract thousands of visitors.

It aims to work with parish councils and other bodies at towns on the route to ensure that users of the heritage line divert into them to spend money there.

Alan Macnab, organiser of the friends group, has held preliminary talks with Durham County councillor Trish Pemberton, of Shildon, already about the possibilities for the town.

He said: “We want people using the line to spend their money at the museums and the town centres on the route.

“The vision is to bring people into the area as tourists. I’ve spoken to Coun Pemberton and I’ve formed a link with her and Locomotion: The National Railway Museum at Shildon.

“We’ve had contact with parish councils along the line and we’re trying to enlist their help and support.”

It is hoped that the heritage route will attract visitors from across the country and from abroad.

The group is planning to erect information boards on the pathway to help visitors to discover the history of the route which they are following.