Cradle of the Railways

New music written by Citizen Songwriters with communities in Shildon to celebrate Shildon, the world's first railway town. 

Citizen Songwriters has been working in the town of Shildon, South West Durham, since November 2020. What began as a songwriting commission to launch new artwork by Greenfield Arts on the Station platform, then became a community songwriting project in 2021 with Shildon Railway Institute to document the stories of 'life along the line'; stories from Shildon's past and present to celebrate the rich rail heritage and the communities that have been shaped by its railway innovation. A year later, we received funding from Durham County Council Culture, Sport and Tourism Service to professionally record the songs from the project with Xtrasonic Media, along with the Shildon Institute Singers - a newly formed community choir run by Rosie Bradford from Happy in Harmony. You can hear previews of the tracks below: 

The album features five tracks recorded at Shildon Railway Institute between February - April 2022. Four of these were written in community workshops in Shildon and tell stories from Shildon's role in the first passenger journey in 1825, to life in the Wagon Works in the 1980s as well as songs that celebrate Shildon's heritage and culture. The song 'Set the World on Track' was recorded live at the inaugural performance of songs at Shildon Railway Institute on 1st April 2022. The rest of the songs were professionally recorded with singers and musicians from Shildon and the surrounding area with Graham Kay from Xtrasonic Media. 

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     Artwork by John Wigston used with permission from The Railway Station Shop

Links to the music

*Please note: The album will be available in a number of locations around Shildon. You can purchase hard copies of the album at Shildon Railway Institute (and other venues TBC).*

You can purchase a digital download of the album at Bandcamp

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You can stream the songs at the following sites (please note the music will be available from 15 July 2022)

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