Celebrating 200 years of passenger travel through creativity
Welcome on board The Story Train. The Story Train is no ordinary train carriage, it's a train that takes you on an imaginative journey. It's a coach that encourages you to experiment, try something new, discover your own story and those of your fellow passengers.
The Story Train opened to the public for the first time on 3 December 2022. The First Class Buffet Car that once ran on the East Coast Main Line is now a special storytelling carriage inspiring visitors, schools and local communities in the story of the railways in the North East of England.
In partnership with the Weardale Railway and The Auckland Project, The Story Train is a creative hub of stories, art, music, theatre and other arts forms engaging communities in the story of passenger travel. The coach is currently stabled at Stanhope Station on the Weardale Railway and will be open during the railway's open days as well as for special occasions.
The Story Train has its own story
Once part of LNER's High Speed Train rolling stock, the First Class Buffet Car began in service in 1978, as British Rail introduced the famous Intercity 125 High Speed Train, connecting towns and cities across the UK at 125 miles per hour. The ‘Age of the Train’ was born. In May 2021, it made it's last journey on the Midland Mainline where it had been working after it's time with LNER. It became the last slam door train ever to run in day time passenger service in the UK, and the last High Speed Train out of London.
A month later the coach (no. 40701) made it's way up to Wolsingham depot on the back of a lorry. The coach itself was donated by Porterbrook Leasing Company to be used as a community arts space.
While the coach holds living memories of the past 50 years, we’ll go back another 50 years and 100 more to the birth of rail passengers at the launch of the Stockton & Darlington Railway on 27 September 1825, to which the Weardale Railway connects.
Come and create!
Today, the coach sits at Stanhope Station and is open to the public to experience and enjoy. The project has been designed, and is now delivered, by Citizen Songwriters, a collective of artists working in community, alongside the staff at Weardale Railway. We plan for The Story Train to be open during Weardale Railway's opening hours which you can find here.
Since it's opening, the Story Train has hosted an original Christmas Tale set in the Dales during the Christmas season, has been transformed into 'The Music Train' for young people living in Weardale, held Arts & Crafts during Spring half term with families and children and hosted 2 school trips from local primary schools.
We have plans that the Story Train will engage local communities and schools through art exhibitions, 'create and play' sessions, photography classes, creative writing workshops as well as events relating to food such as gourmet nights, afternoon teas and even murder mysteries!
Check out our Events page to see what's coming up!
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