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Tyne and Wear HER(1023): Tanfield Way/Railway - Details

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Tanfield Way/Railway

Marley Hill



Railway Transport Site


Post Medieval


Documentary Evidence

The Tanfield Railway was in a sense the successor to the Tanfield Waggonway of 1727 which, having lain dormant for several decades, was taken over on a wayleave agreement in c.1835 by the Brandling Junction Railway Company which began to relay track from Tanfield Lea to Dunston on Tyne in 1837, completing the job by 1840. The Tanfield Railway rose some 536 feet from the Tyne in 3.25 miles before descending 90 feet over the next 2.25 miles to Tanfield Lea Colliery and then rising once more to its terminus at over 800 feet above sea level at Tanfield Moor Colliery. With gradients varying between 1 in 12 and 1 in 454, several changes in motive power were necessary along the route - engine planes, self-acting planes and horse planes. Horses continued to work the more level sections until 1881. In 1842 the BJR commenced passenger operations on the section of the line between Tanfield Lea and Gateshead; up and down the inclines, on Saturdays only. The Tanfield Railway became part of the NER in 1854. The engine house to the west of the Bowes Crossing is now used by a railway preservation society which runs passenger services for the public during summer.




<< HER 1023 >> I.Ayris & S.M. Linsley, 1994, A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Tyne and Wear, p 4-5 I. Ayris, Tanfield Railway - Historical Background C.E. Lee, 1946, The World's Oldest Railway Transactions of the Newcomen Society, Vol 25, 1946, p141 The Tanfield Railway, A Short Guide to the four eras of the Tanfield Railway Tyneside Locomotive Museum Trust,1998, 1725 Onwards - A Guide to the Tanfield Railway G. Bennett, E. Clavering & A. Rounding, 1990, A Fighting Trade - Rail Transport in Tyne Coal 1600-1800 Gateshead Library Local Studies, GPL G/CP 1/145 Durham Records Office, D/CG 16/1706 40, 60, 95, 106, 116, 130 Gateshead Library Local Studies, GPL G/CK 1/59 and GPL G/CK 1/66 Waggonways on South Bank of Tyne,- Durham Records Office, D/St/P17/2 Plan of the Colleries on the Rivers Tyne and Wear, GPL CAB A1/10 -Gateshead Library Local Studies W. Casson, 1801, Plan showing Colleries and Waggonways on the rivers Tyne and Wear, prepared from a plan by Casson, March 1801, GPL CAB A1/4 -Gateshead Library Local Studies R.L. Galloway, 1898, Coal Mining and the Coal Trade, volume 1, p 373 pp 373-4 Waggonways and Railways of North-West Durham, Durham Records Office -D/CG 6/1435 J.T.W. Bell, 1843, The Great Northern Coalfield, 2nd series Dunstan Staiths and Waggonways, c.1810 GPL BP 1/83 -Gateshead Library Local Studies 1723, Northbanks and proposed Tanfield Ways, 28 April 1723, GPL CP/1/140 -Gateshead Library Local Studies 1742, Tanfield Moor Wagonways, Durham Records Office D/XP 14, Northumberland Records Office 960 1745, Waggonways in Beckley and Andrew's House-Durham Records Office D/Bo/G 34 (iii) 1810, East and West Shield Row - Durham Records Office D/Bo/G34 (xlii) Catch Pit, Hutton Colliery Waggonway, mid 18th century- Durham Records Office D/St/P13/4 1761, Tanfield Moor c.1729 - 1761, Northumberland Records Office 17/197C 64, GPL CAB A 1788, The Western and Tanfield Waggonways, c.1788 - Northumberland Records Office 309M 231 A. Williams, 2004, A Fighting Trade - Review and mapping of routes unpublished document for Historic Environemt Record; Alan Williams Archaeology, 2013, Waggonways to the South Bank of the River Tyne and to the River Wear; Turnbull, L, 2012, Railways Before George Stephenson (entry 58)

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