THE campaign to preserve of the history and heritage of the Stockton and Darlington Railway is on track to receive a £700,00 cash boost.

Historic England is helping transform the birthplace of modern railways into a world-class visitor attraction through its Heritage Action Zone projects.

The scheme will see work carried out along the 26-mile route of the railway focussing on developing it as a heritage attraction, working towards its 2025 bicentenary.

New research will be carried out to identify areas for repair and restoration, while other projects will help people to develop skills and training.

Trish Pemberton, chair of the Friends of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, said: “We have been working to raise the profile of the Railway for many years, and save its important heritage.

“We are so pleased that this will help us achieve this, and more importantly, make sure that the economic regeneration it can stimulate is maximised – and that new generations know about it and value it.”

The opening of Stockton and Darlington Railway in 1825 was at the forefront of the industrial revolution and plays a significant part in the region’s history.

Councillor Nick Wallis, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for leisure and local environment said on behalf of the three local authorities involved – Darlington, Stockton and Durham, said: “Plans to rejuvenate and revive the heritage along the route will benefit local residents and businesses, as well as attract visitors to the area.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen added: “Celebrating the birthplace of the modern railway is a critical part of the Tees Valley’s and County Durham’s heritage and we see developing and interpreting this internationally significant asset as a critical element of our economic development strategy.

“Through preserving our heritage and celebrating it through events such as the bi-centenary and the City of Culture bid, we celebrate the legacy of our region as one at the forefront of innovation and technology – both in the past and present.”