Trains to Hartlepool arrive at the centrally located Hartlepool Station. This historic station is one of the oldest in the world, with the track opened in 1839. Situated between the cities of Middlesbrough and Sunderland, Hartlepool Station has undergone some refurbishment over recent years and is now operated by Northern Rail. An hourly train service operates from Middlesbrough to Hartlepool and brings visitors to this area of the north east from Stockton, Billingham and Newcastle. From Newcastle, TransPennine Express operates services to Manchester Airport, Leeds and Sheffield.
Hartlepool is best known for its long history of maritime achievement, with fishing and commercial shipping bringing much to the economy and culture of this area of the north east of England. This shipping history can be seen in the large port area that opens onto the North Sea and is reflected in the Maritime Experience museum that explains the history of the region in terms of shipping and fishing. Two historic Royal Navy ships are located on the docks, along with the steamer PS Wingfield Castle. The historic HMS Trincomalee, which was launched in 1817, can be toured by visitors interested in maritime history and the military. A large number of historic buildings can be seen around the town, alongside attractions like Victoria Park, home to Hartlepool United Football Club. The club is commonly known as the Monkey Hangers, which harks back to the legend of a monkey being hung after being mistakenly identified as a French spy during the Napoleonic Wars.