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Tyne and Wear HER(4326): Newcastle, Quayside Branch Line - Details

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Newcastle, Quayside Branch Line




Railway Transport Site


Early Modern


Documentary Evidence

This line along the Newcastle Quayside from the Swing Bridge to the Ouseburn was agreed in 1845, and eventually opened in 1870. It curved from the North Eastern Railway main line down the hill in a tunnel from Manors Station sidings. Bulk grain wagons off-loaded here at Carruthers Grain Warehouse. A cutting next to Lime Street went into a tunnel again under St Ann's Yard, crossing above the Victoria Tunnel before emerging onto the Quayside at Hamburg Wharf to join tracks laid by Newcastle Corporation. The westerly winds blew smoke from the steam locomotives back into the Trafalgar Street tunnel entrance as they laboured uphill, so the crews could not see nor breathe properly. Reputedly the wheels often slipped on wet rails and the blinded driver had to push a shovel against the tunnel wall to see if the engine was moving. Two special locomotives were built in 1904 to overcome these problems. A third-rail-pickup was used in the tunnels, but because of the danger to shunters, overhead pantographs were used in the yards and quayside. Replaced by Class 03 diesel shunters in 1964, one of these unique locos is preserved in York Railway Museum. The Quayside Branch Line closed on 16 June 1969 because of the reduced river trade. The northern portal of the Quayside Branch Railway Tunnel was removed when the Metro system was constructed in the late 1970s. During this work the brick vault of the tunnel was breached and the trackbed filled with rubble. The cutting and ends of the tunnel have been filled in.




<< HER 4326 >> 2nd edition Ordnance Survey map, 1899, 6 inch scale, Northumberland, 97, NE I. Ayris & D. Bolland, Ouseburn Heritage, p.39 I. Ayris, 1995, Horatio Street and the Ropery Banks, Newcastle Archaeological Assessment

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