About Railway 200

2025 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of the modern railway. Britain and the world changed forever. Railway 200 celebrates the past, present and future of rail.

What is Railway 200?

The Stockton & Darlington Railway opened on September 27, 1825, connecting places, people, communities and ideas and ultimately transforming the world.

Railway 200 will be a year-long nationwide partnership-led campaign to celebrate 200 years of the modern railway and inspire a new generation of young pioneering talent to choose a career in rail. It invites community, rail and other groups to get involved.

Starting in January 2025, a wide variety of activities and events are being planned to celebrate rail’s remarkable past, its role today, and its importance to a sustainable future.

Born in Britain, rail quickly spread across the globe. Next year, Railway 200 will showcase how the railway shaped and continues to shape national life.

The spirit of invention and innovation of rail’s early pioneers lives on, as today’s railway becomes simpler and better for all, rising to new challenges in a changing world. Rail has transformed how life is lived here and abroad: crossing continents, connecting cities and communities, and improving the lives and livelihoods of billions.

Railway 200 is developed by a cross-industry partnership. A small core team will deliver some national initiatives, but most of the nationwide activity will be taken forwards by partner organisations, supported by the core team.

Railway 200 aims to excite interest from the next generation by inviting young people of all backgrounds to consider a career in rail. It also hopes to attract more volunteers to heritage railways.

To help tell the Railway 200 story, four main themes will be explored:

  • Skills & Education
  • Innovation, Technology & Environment
  • Heritage, Culture & Tourism
  • Celebrating Railway People

As part of Railway 200, three councils, Darlington, Durham, Stockton-on-Tees and Tees Valley Combined Authority, have joined forces with a range of local, national, and international partners, to deliver a nine month festival of internationally significant projects throughout the bicentenary year – S&DR200

Today’s railway: at-a-glance

In 2022/23 the UK railway carried 1.4 billion passengers on 9,864 miles of route between 2,578 stations. It also moved more than 15.7 billion tonnes of freight, taking 6.4 million lorries off our congested roads. Major improvements to the network are underway, including HS2 between London and Birmingham, the Transpennine Route Upgrade, and East West Rail to link Oxford with Cambridge.

There are also 211 heritage railways, covering 600 miles across some spectacular scenery and served by 460 stations. They provide a great day out for 13 million people a year, thanks to their 22,000 volunteers and 4,000 staff.

Passionate, pioneering people

Above all, it’s the railway family – past, present and future – that makes rail special. Railway 200 tells the personal stories of people whose pride in and passion for rail enabled, and continues to enable, the railway to change Britain for the better. Railway people will bring to life a wide range of career choices for the next generation of pioneering talent.

What’s timetabled in 2025

Coming down the track to destinations across the UK are:

  • the Railway 200 exhibition train and associated activity
  • community and heritage events
  • commemorative items
  • merchandise
  • an interactive map listing Railway 200 activities and events
  • a host of other activities, promotions, tourist trails  – and lots more! Details to follow

Get on board

Together, we can make the most of this once-in-generation opportunity to showcase rail’s importance. Please say how you, or your organisation, could get involved and champion Railway 200. Welcome on board!

Get in touch

Railway 200 charity partners

Railway Benefit Fund

Railway Benefit Fund

Provides support to current, former and retired UK railway people and their families since 1858. From financial grants and confidential advice to online tools and a legal helpline assistance is available to anyone working, or who has worked, in the railway, including passenger, freight, infrastructure, supply chain and ancillary services.

Visit railwaybenefitfund.org.uk

Railway Children

Railway Children (UK branch)

Over 11,600 British Transport Police and rail staff have been trained in the UK to identify vulnerable children and keep them safe. Railway Children helps children in the UK at risk on the streets and across transport networks to rewrite their future.

Visit railwaychildren.org.uk

Railway Mission

Railway Mission

Offers independent, confidential and impartial pastoral care to the railway community and members of the public affected by rail operations. Each of our regionally based chaplains aims to be an impartial ‘friend’ for those who work on the railways.

Visit railwaymission.org


Transport Benevolent Fund

Founded in 1923 by the predecessors of Transport for London (TfL) to relieve cases of necessity among its members and to meet their needs for convalescence or surgical equipment. Members contribute £1.25 a week to TBF. All benefits are available not only to the member but also to their partner and dependent children.

Visit tbf.org.uk