There were many opponents to the opening of the Stockton to Darlington railway these included farmers, waggoners and turn pike operators all of who could see how the movement of people and goods along a railway would affect their business. The immediate consequence of the opening of the railway was that coal fell from 18/- per ton to 8/- in Stockton and Yarm. The railway began to move more coal to Stockton than there were ships to take it away.
The Darlington members of the railway committee were in favour of extending the railway to a point further down the river while the Stockton members proposed making a cut in the river at Portrack to ease the passage of ships up the river. Whilst this controversy was on going the directors of the railway company purchased several hundred acres of land at Middlesbrough. This caused a split in the committee, Stockton and Darlington each went its own way. Darlington founded Middlesbrough and Stockton made a new cut in the river. The presence of the railway at Middlesbrough and the discovery of ironstone in the Cleveland Hills ensured the success of Middlesbrough.