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The Great North of England Railway was a line between York and Gateshead. It was opened between York and Darlington on January 4th 1841. The remainder of the project was very much modified and became simply a line from Darlington to Rainton on the Durham Junction Railway, with a branch to Durham. It was built by a new company - The Newcastle and Darlington Railway - and opened on June 18th 1844, on which day a train left Euston at 5am, and, travelling via Rugby, Derby, Normanton and York, passed on to the new line at Darlington, thence over the Pontop and South Shields - formerly the Stanhope and Tyne - to Brockley Whins and over the curve there on to the Brandling Junction and so to Gateshead. The distance was 303 miles and it was covered in 6 hours, 45 minutes, or at an average speed of 45 miles per hour.
1840: 'Great North of England Railway. The keystone of the last unfinished arch of the Great North of England Railway Company's bridge, over the river Tees, at Croft, was fixed in its place on Thursday, the 16th instant, by G. H. Wilkinson, Esq., of Harperley Park, chairman of the directors, in the presence of several directors and numerous spectators. The foundation stone of the bridge was laid by Mrs. Wilkinson, the lady of the chairman, in the month of May, 1838, and the bridge is now rapidly approaching its completion. Mr. Wilkinson, after laying the stone, made an able address to the bystanders, and observed that the completion of the bridge was an earnest to the shareholders and the public of the speedy completion of the great national undertaking ot which it formed a part. The directors, engineers, and other officers of the company present at the ceremony, were afterwards entertained at the Spa Hotel, Croft, by Mr. Welch, of Newcastle, the engineer of the bridge. Among the company present was Mr. Peter Nicholson, of Newcastle, the discoverer of tbe spiral principle on which the skew bridge was built, who expressed himself much gratified by the successful manner in which his theory had been carried into practice, this bridge being of great magnitude, and askew at an angle of 50.- York Herald.'
In 1846 it was transferred to the Newcastle and Darlington Junction Railway