" ..The adaption of rail-ways to speed was never, we believe, thought of till the opening, in September, 1825, of the celebrated Stockton & Darlington rail-road, a work which will for ever reflect honour on its authors, for the new and striking manner in which it practically demonstrated all the advantages of the invention... " The Observer, 25th April, 1830.
In 1825 there were only 25 miles of public railroad open in the world. 50 years later this had grown to 160,000 miles and continued at an amazing pace thereafter. In 1825 there were only 2 locomotives available for use on a public railway, by the turn of the century, this had increased to 70,000.The importance, magnitude and impact of the birth of the Stockton & Darlington Railway on the transport systems of the world cannot be measured.The story has been well documented over the years, however it is extraordinary that it was not until 1875, the jubilee year of the opening that the first historical record was published. The directors of the railway, on such an auspices occasion considered it a suitable time in which to produce the history as a souvenir of the jubilee and fill the most important gap in all the writings of the history of railways. The history by J.S. Jeans was compiled from the records and documents appertaining to the railway company from the date of inception, and in this respect its authenticity is beyond doubt (or is it?).

"Locomotion" was not the first steam engine in the world, nor was she reliable or efficient, but these issues pale into insignificance by the mere fact of her place in history as the first locomotive to pull a passenger railway train.But this story is not just about a locomotive, but about people, and communities and the way their lives changed with the advent of this wondrous industrial revolution.

"We should like to linger over those brave old days when the Shildon mechanics were working long and weary hours...As time passed better tools, labour-saving machines and the greater reliability of the improved locomotives made the lot of the mechanic less burdensome, but the early training was in a hard school, and many a Shildon man with the practical experience thus obtained, and his ability and skill, travelled further afield, winning high repute, both by his own work and in the instruction of others." - Robert Young

The scene, on the moving of the procession, sets description at defiance; the welkin rang with loud huzzas, while the happy faces of some, the vacant stare of others, and the alarm depicted on the countenances of not a few, gave variety to the picture. Astonishment, however, was not confined to the human species, for the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air seemed to view with wonder and awe the machine, which now moved onward at the rate of 10 or 12 miles an hour...Durham County Advertiser, 1st October, 1825.'