Tyne and Wear HER(1113): Backworth Wagonway - Details
The Backworth Wagonway from from NZ 3045 7164 to NZ 3536 6646, including the Bell engine at its northern end (HER ref. 1110), also Allotment Engine (HER ref. 1143), Murton Row Engine (HER ref. 1172). Its Southern end is at Clarks Walls End Drop (Her ref. 2079) at NZ 3536 6646, with an ajacent jetty or pier and a short branch or siding. The 2nd edition Ordnance Survey Map shows new lines at the southern end which seem to go to the Albert Edward Dock and the Commissioner's Staiths North (HER refs. 2142 and 2147). The wagonway probably opened sometime between 1810 and 1818. Closer to the river it probably incorporated part of an earlier route (a wagonway of c.1764 which ran from a pit at High Flatworth to staithes at Hayhole Point). The section from Backworth to Allotment was initially horse-drawn, but had rope haulage by 1821. The Allotment to Percy Main section was converted in 1823 and the rest down to the staithes near Northumberland Dock by 1827. In 1838 the wagonway was extended north to West Cramlington. It became the Backworth Colliery Railway and was the last wholly steam operated system in the North-East, eventually closing in December 1975. The route is largely preserved as a public footpath, lined by hedgerows. The embankment survives to a height of 1.1 metres and is 8.5 metres wide.
<< HER 1113 >> 1st edition Ordnance Survey map, 1865, 6 inch scale, Northumberland 89 C. R. Warn, 1976, Wagonways & Early Railways of Northumberland, 1605-1840 p.49 G. Brogan, 2003, Tyne and Wear Museums, West Allotment, Archaeological Appraisal Excavation report, Tyne and Wear Museums, 2003, Backworth Waggonway, West Allotment, Archaeological Evaluation C.E. Lee, 1951, The Wagonways of Tyneside, Archaeologia Aeliana, series 4, Vol 29, p 135-202 C.R. Warn, 1976, Railways of the Northumberland Coalfield; John Elliott & Derek Charlton, 1994, Backworth - An Illustrated History of the Mines and Railways