NORTH-East MPs have called for a historical notebook belonging to George Stephenson to be returned to the region.

The notebook, dated 1822, outlines Stephenson’s redesign of and budget for the Stockton and Darlington Railway, and became the blueprint for the railways that followed.

It was found by John Page, a records assistant at Network Rail’s archive, in York last month.

He said: “Because it is an historical document, it would never have been loaned out or requested as it didn’t impact the running of the railway, so since the 1950s, it has sat on a shelf unnoticed amongst hundreds of other packets.

“I was looking for a deed for one of our internal colleagues and purely out of curiosity decided to look through the packets, and there it was, and what a thrill it was to find.”

George Stephenson, who was born and spent the first eight years of his life in Wylam, is known as the father of the railways and one of the architects of the industrial revolution.

His former cottage was turned into a National Trust attraction, but closed last year after a fall in visitor numbers – although the National Trust said it was evaluating ways to reopen it.

The notebook is now on display at the National Railway Museum in York, but during a debate in the House of Commons last week about investment in the east coast mainline, some MPs said it should be returned to the North-East.

Catherine McKinnell, MP for Newcastle North, said: “I am sure that there would be a lot of support for bringing home – back to Newcastle and the North-East – more of what is rightly ours when it comes to our contribution to engineering and railway history in Britain.”