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Stockton-on-Tees, simply Stockton, is a large market town in County Durham, England. An unparished collective of wards form the town, with a combined population of 85,000. Stockton is a former port town on the River Tees. The river was straightened to facilitate access for larger ships. The ports have since relocated closer to the North Sea, and ships are no longer able to sail from the sea to Stockton due to the Tees Barrage, which was installed to manage tidal flooding. Stockton's port was served by the Stockton and Darlington Railway, on which coal was ferried from Darlington for shipment from Stockton. The railway was also the world's first permanent steam-locomotive-powered passenger railway, though in recent times Stockton Station's importance has declined. The Borough of Stockton-on-Tees, a unitary authority governed from the town, has a population of approximately 196,000 (ONS UK, 2017). It is in the Teesside conurbation in the Tees Valley.