North East England was the birthplace of both the steam locomotive and of railways. All the public railway systems in County Durham eventually came under the control of the North Eastern Railway; but alongside the NER there developed an extensive and much less known system of private railways. One was the first-ever railway to be designed to use locomotives; another was one of the largest private railways in Britain; many incorporated rope haulage alongside steam, and later diesel, locomotives; two were electrified, one of them narrow gauge; four operated a public passenger service; another served one of England’s most remote areas. With 315 photographs and 86 maps and other illustrations, this is their story. 429 pages with 314 photos and 86 drawings & system maps.