Darlington Borough Council has selected Willmott Dixon to deliver its £35m Railway Heritage Quarter project, which includes a new railway museum.

The project is hoped to transform the Head of Steam railway museum site which includes the Goods Shed and Carriage works, and is supported by £20m of funding from the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority.

The work involves the design and build of a new Railway Heritage Quarter Museum including the refurbishment of Grade II listed buildings, a new live engineering shed and an immersive experience building which will feature holograms of trains as well as static displays, a café and shop, new public realm, parking provision and a railway themed children’s play area.

Due to complete in 2024, the attraction is anticipated to be ready for the bi-centenary celebrations of the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 2025.

Councillor Jonathan Dulston, leader of Darlington Borough Council said the project was “a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to re-launch Darlington as the birthplace of the railways, the town that financially supported the initial idea of the passenger railway.

“It has taken a great deal of time, passion, energy and ingenuity to reach this stage of the project and it is with a great deal of pride that we set the Railway Heritage Quarter on track for completion in time for the bi-centenary celebrations of the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 2025.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen explained: “This ambitious attraction will tell the story of how we helped shape the world through our rail heritage and innovation for generations to come, supporting the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Stockton and Darlington Railway

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