Tanfield Railway

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Tanfield Railway
Tanfield railway pic 1.jpg
An overview of the railway from Furnace Sidings
LocaleNorth East England
Coordinates54°54′29″N 1°40′30″W / 54.908°N 1.675°W / 54.908; -1.675Coordinates: 54°54′29″N 1°40′30″W / 54.908°N 1.675°W / 54.908; -1.675
Commercial operations
NameTanfield Railway
Original gaugeWooden Waggonway / Metal 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Preserved operations
Stations4
Length3 miles (4.8 km)
Preserved gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Commercial history
Preservation history
 
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Tanfield Railway
Tanfield railway pic 1.jpg
An overview of the railway from Furnace Sidings
LocaleNorth East England
Coordinates54°54′29″N 1°40′30″W / 54.908°N 1.675°W / 54.908; -1.675Coordinates: 54°54′29″N 1°40′30″W / 54.908°N 1.675°W / 54.908; -1.675
Commercial operations
NameTanfield Railway
Original gaugeWooden Waggonway / Metal 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Preserved operations
Stations4
Length3 miles (4.8 km)
Preserved gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Commercial history
Preservation history
Tanfield Railway
Unused continuation backward
Unknown BSicon "KBHFxa"
Sunniside
Track turning from leftJunction to right
Non-passenger end stationStraight track
Marley Hill sheds
Straight track
Station on track
Andrews House
Straight track
Station on track
Causey Arch
Straight track
Unknown BSicon "KBHFxe"
East Tanfield
Unused continuation forward

The Tanfield Railway is a standard gauge heritage railway in Gateshead and County Durham, England. Running on part of a former colliery wooden wagonway, later a steam railway, it operates preserved steam and diesel industrial tank locomotives. The railway operates a passenger service on Sundays all year round, as well as demonstration freight trains. The line runs 3 miles (4.8 km) between a southern terminus at East Tanfield, Durham, to a northern terminus at Sunniside, Gateshead, with the main station, Andrews House situated near to the Marley Hill engine shed. A halt also serves the historic site of the Causey Arch. The railway claims to be the oldest working railway in the world.

Contents

Colliery Railway

The Tanfield Railway was originally built to transport coal from the collieries of County Durham, to the staithes on the River Tyne, for onward transport in colliers (bulk coal carrying ships).[1] The oldest part of the original Tanfield Railway, located to the north east of the present heritage line, in the Lobley Hill area, dated from 1647, and was in continuous use until final closure in 1964.[1]

The route and structures of the oldest section of the now preserved part of the line, between Sunniside and Causey, dates from 1725, and is thus claimed to be the World's oldest working railway.[1][2] The Middleton Railway claims to be the oldest working railway, on the basis that it was the first railway granted powers under the first railway Act of Parliament in 1758.[2] The Causey to East Tanfield section was built in 1839.[1]

The Marley Hill engine shed was built in 1854, and in use until 1970.[1] The shed first housed a winding engine before the arrival of locomotives.[3] The shed was originally on the Bowes Railway, with locos used on the Tanfield branch stabled at the nearby Bowes Bridge MPD (a sub-shed of Gateshead) whose coaling stage and turntable pit are still visible adjacent to the track between Andrews House and Sunniside. The headshunt by the signal box is the point where the Bowes Railway crossed the Tanfield branch. When the line was re-opened a curve was installed to allow trains access to the shed. It is thought to be the oldest engine shed in the world still used for its original function.[4] Although the line to the shed closed in 1962, it remained in use servicing other colliery railway's locomotives in the area.[4]

Originally a wooden railed horse drawn wagonway, conversion to a conventional steel railed railway began in 1837, and by 1840 was complete as far as Tanfield Moor Colliery.[3] In 1881 the railway was converted to steam locomotive operation, becoming part of the North Eastern Railway.[3] Although still primarily a freight railway, it did carry some passengers.[3] The East Tanfield Colliery closed in 1964, and the railway, by this time owned by the National Coal Board, was closed and the track lifted.[3]

Preservation

Andrews House Station
Freight train at East Tanfield

The early years of the railway as a preservation project concentrated on Marley Hill, preparing locos for steaming, working on the shed structure and acquiring basic needs such as water and electricity. Locomotives No.21 and Malleable No.5. were steamed in public in 1973. The first passenger train ran for a week August 1975, using locomotives No.21, No.32 and Sir Cecil A Cochrane, and a small carriage acquired from British Steel on Teesside.[3]

The preserved line was first built from Marley Hill to the current northern terminus, Sunniside Station, with passenger trains beginning on 2 July 1981,[3] and an official opening ceremony on 14 July 1982. Andrews House station just south of Marley Hill sheds was completed between 1987 and 1989[3] and was equipped with platforms, a water tower, a station building and a footbridge. The first train south to Causey was on 27 July 1991, with the official opening ceremony being held on August 15, 1991. The first train further south to the current end of the line at East Tanfield occurred on 18 October 1992.[3] East Tanfield Station itself was opened in 1997. The Causey to Tanfield section is through a wood lined gorge.[4]

Part of the reason the line was preserved was the fact Marley Hill shed remained open until 1970.[4] The vintage machinery in the workshop is still capable of full locomotive overhauls.[4] The oldest locomotive on the railway was built in Gateshead in 1873, and all of the railway's carriage stock dates from the 19th Century.[4]

Causey Arch

The current preserved line passes near to Causey Arch, the oldest surviving railway bridge in the world.[4] It was built to carry a new branch from the route of the now preserved line, to a site known as Dawson's Drift.[3] Built between 1725 and 1727, at 150 ft long (46 m) and 80 ft high (24 m), it was the largest single-span bridge in Britain, and remained so for 30 years.[3][4]

Locations

Sunniside station

Steam locomotives

As of 2011 the Railway has become the home to a large collection of industrial steam engines, with 28 in all, though only three are operational. One is undergoing repairs and three more are under overhaul for future operation, with the other 21 in sheds on the Marley Hill site.

Operational steam locomotives
Number & NameDescriptionHistory & Current StatusLiveryOwner(s)DatePhotograph
0-6-0ST Renishaw Ironworks No.6Renishaw Ironworks No.6 was built by Hudswell Clarke in Leeds in 1919. It is currently in regular service on passenger trains and sees occasional use on demonstration Coal Trains, usually when 49 is unavailable. Boiler certificate is due to expire in 2014.OperationalGreen with Lining1919Tanfield railway pic 1.jpg
0-4-0ST Sir Cecil A CochraneSir Cecil A Cochrane was built by Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns in 1948 and worked a few miles from its current home. It is currently in regular use on passenger services and may occasionally be seen hauling a shortened coal train. Boiler Certificate is due to expire in 2018 (5 year inspection due to welded boiler due 2013)OperationalGreen with lining1948
0-6-0T TwizellTwizell was built by Robert Stephenson and Company in 1891.OperationalBlack, Lined in Red1891Tanfield Twizzle Locomotive.jpg
Steam locomotives undergoing repairs
Number & NameDescriptionHistory & Current StatusLiveryOwner(s)DatePhotograph
Steam locomotives under overhaul/being restored
Number & NameDescriptionHistory & Current StatusLiveryOwner(s)DatePhotograph
Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST, No.32This engine was built by Andrew Barclay in Kilmarnock and is currently undergoing restoration, however this has been temporarily halted. The boiler is ready, the main steam pipe requires fitting, the rolling chassis is almost complete and there are other areas of the locomotive to address.Undergoing OverhaulGreen with National Coal Board Lettering
Hawthorn Leslie and Company 0-4-0ST, No.2.Undergoing Fast Track Overhaul. Boiler, tank, cab, motion still to be removed, wheels to come out next.Undergoing OverhaulA few different shades of green with liningTanfield Railway pic 12.jpg
0-6-0ST 4949 was built by Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns in 1943. 49 was built to the standard Austerity design.

Withdrawn for ten year overhaul.

Undergoing OverhaulNational Coal Board green with Lettering1943Tanfield Railway pic 9.jpg
Stored steam locomotives
Number & NameDescriptionHistory & Current StatusLiveryOwner(s)DatePhotograph
Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns No.38 0-6-0ST38 was built by Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns in 1954, it is currently stored, in a partially dismantled state, and is in line to receive a cosmetic overhaul. It was one of a number of Identical locomotives which went to collieries in Northumberland, and its generator and electric lights are a legacy of its duties on the Ashington system, where they were necessary for night-time shunting in the yards at Ellington and Lynemouth.StoredBlack, lined in red1954Tanfield Railway pic 10.jpg
Hawthorn Leslie 0-6-0ST StagshawStagshaw was built by Hawthorn Leslie as an example of a Cristiani compressed steam system locomotive, however when this was unsuccessful, Stagshaw was converted to a conventional steam locomotive and is currently stored at Tanfield RailwayStoredBlackTanfield Railway pic 8.jpg
Borrows of St Helens No.3 0-4-0WTThis engine is stored on site at Marley HillStored
Hawthorn Leslie "Cyclops" 0-4-0STThis engine is now stored at the Marley Hill SiteStored
Hudswell Clarke 0-4-0ST, IrwellThis engine is stored in large pieces around the Marley Hill site and is a possible candidate for overhaulStoredGreen with Lining
Black, Hawthorn & Co 0-4-0ST, WellingtonThe oldest locomotive on the railway, built in 1873. This engine is stored minus fittings and saddle tank on the Marley Hill siteStoredGreen with Lining
Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0T, No.38This engine has recently been reassembled and is stored in the Marley Hill YardStoredOriginally Quite dark green
Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns 0-4-0ST, No.21This engine is stored undercover and a possible candidate for overhaul. Formerly owned by the CEGB for shunting coal at the Stella power stationsStoredGreen with red and black liningCEGB no21.jpg
Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns 0-6-0ST, ProgressThis engine is stored undercover and is strong candidate for overhaulStoredCrimson Red
Sentinel 0-4-0T No.4This engine is stored outside on the Marley Hill site and is a possible candidate for overhaul. It is a sentinel shunter and therefore resembles a diesel shunter, yet is a steam engineStoredRed
W.G. Bagnall 0-6-0ST, GammaThis engine is stored undercoverStoredOriginally War Department Black, later NCB Blue with Wasp Striped Buffer Beams.
Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns Hendon 0-4-0CTOne of the four surviving crane tanks from Doxford's Shipyard in Sunderland. This engine is currently storedStoredDark Blue
Andrew Barclay No.17 0-6-0TThis engine is currently storedStored
Hawthorn Leslie No.13 0-4-0STCEGB loco from Dunston Power Station. This engine is currently storedStored
Andrew Barclay "Horden" 0-6-0STThis engine is currently StoredStored
Andrew Barclay No.6 0-4-2STThis engine is currently storedStored
Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns No.62 0-6-0STThis engine is currently storedStored
Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns No.44 0-6-0STA former stable-mate of No. 49 at Backworth Colliery. This Engine was built to a similar design as Nos. 16 and 38, but slightly smaller. It is currently stored in Marley Hill yard minus its saddletank and the top half of its cabStoredBlue
Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns No.47 0-6-0STThis engine is currently storedStored
Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns No.16 0-6-0STAnother loco from the Backworth Colliery system. Built to the same design as No. 38, although minus the generator and electric lights. This engine is currently storedStoredDark Blue
Hawthorn Leslie No.3 0-6-0STThis engine is currently storedStored
Hawthorn Leslie Huncoat No.3 0-6-0FThis fireless locomotive is currently storedStored

Diesel and electric locomotives

Armstrong Whitworth 0-4-0DE No.2 (D22/1933), regular pilot locomotive at Marley Hill.

Information from the Industrial Railway Society:[5]

Key

Coaching Stock

All of the railways coaches are wooden bodied, Victorian coaches.

The Railway also has other unrestored coaching stock.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e "Tanfield Railway". Wear > Places > Places features > Tanfield Railway. BBC. 21 May 2008. http://www.bbc.co.uk/wear/content/articles/2008/05/20/tanfield_main_feature.shtml. Retrieved 4 July 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "Alternative Attractions in NE England". Heritage Railway Association. 4 August 2000. http://ukhrail.uel.ac.uk/rail200b.html. Retrieved 4 July 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k John Grant, Nathan Darroch (13 December 2008). "The Tanfield Railway". Railways of Britain. http://railways-of-britain.com/tanfield.html. Retrieved 4 July 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Best of Britain's Steam Railways. AA Publishing. 2006. ISBN 0-7495-4212-8. 
  5. ^ Industrial Locomotives Handbook 15EL, Industrial Railway Society, 2009, ISBN 978-1-901556-53-7

Further reading

External links