On Friday 24 March, The Story Train Day saw The Story Train brought (at least metaphorically...) to the birth place of the railways in Shildon, popping up at Locomotion.
Over 150 people came together for a rare opportunity to experience art among the trains, with a host of award winning regional artists. They included Rowan McCabe, the world’s first Door-to-Door Poet on ‘The Poetry Train’, Darlington-born illustrator Lizzie Lovejoy on ‘The Sketching Train’, the creatives behind The Story Train, Citizen Songwriters on ‘The Music Train’ and theatre-maker Ali Pidsley on ‘The Drama Train’. Locomotion also opened their Pacer train as ‘The Listening Train’ to host Hannah Bruce’s audio play Our Line, originally written for the Bishop Line when Pacer trains were in service.
Each exhibit gave participants a chance to create a drawing, a poem, a drama piece or a song to celebrate the North East’s unique history of passenger travel, all created with the backdrop of the world’s most significant locomotives including the Deltic Prototype and Stephenson’s Rocket, which has recently arrived.
The event launches ‘The Story Train’ which is a retired LNER Intercity-125 Buffet Car transformed into an imaginative storytelling coach for schools and communities in County Durham. It is currently stabled at Stanhope and since opening at Christmas, has already brought over 1500 people to experience drama, storytelling and arts & crafts onboard the specially curated coach.
Project curator Sam Slatcher said “it is significant that The Story Train launch day should take place at Locomotion in Shildon, the birth place of the railways. On this homely carriage, we’re inviting people from the Dales and beyond to come and experience the stories of being a rail passenger, a concept that first began in our region 200 years ago”
Sarah Price, Head of Locomotion said “we are delighted to be able to support The Story Train initiative which has already made a splash in Stanhope, bringing the stories of our rich North East rail heritage alive through the arts”.
Sam again. "One of the highlights was the chartered train that took 40 passengers free of charge from The Story Train itself at Stanhope down to Shildon, via Bishop Auckland. We were delighted to have Rebecca Ashton from Stanhope bring the Story Train's two puppets, Stella the Storyteller and Hector the Story Collector with us which made a wonderful atmosphere for the children who came on the trip!
Photo credit: Sam Slatcher
All photo credits: Lonely Tower Film & Media (unless stated)