Bowes Railway

Alexander Iles
Bowes Railway
Bowes Railway

Bowes Railway was designed to transport the coal of County Durham to Jarrow on the River Tyne. The Bowes family themselves were incredibly influential in the North East of England, from art through to coal mines, and have left references to their industry and interests across the region. While the North East of England is covered in old railways due to the abundance of coal under the ground, what makes the Bowes railways so special is who designed it. George Stephenson is famous throughout the world for designing and building “the Rocket” steam engine and popularising the 4 foot, 6 inches and a quarter gage, which has become the standard for railways the world over. He designed and opened Bowes Railway on the 17th of January 1826. This makes it one of the earliest railways in the entire world and incredibly important for the history of transport.

The track was fifteen miles long, but the six-mile middle section relied on engines and a rope system to move the carriages and carts along it. Not only is it historically impressive, but the railway is statistically impressive with over a million tones of coal having been moved every year along this railway, as well as it staying in continuous use until 1968 when the process of retiring the line began. This section between Black Fell Bank Head and Springwell Bank Head was bought by the now defunct Tyne and Wear County Council so that it could be preserved due to the historical significance. Even today, the inclines on the route mean it must be operated by a static haulage engine and it is the only one in the whole world to still have a standard gauge, rope-hauled railway in the world. If you enjoy railway engines the site has maintenance facilities at Springwell, where the wagon shops still provide maintenance for the engines and tracks.

Bowes Railway is an impressive place to visit as it is a unique historical site showing the story of the railways from George Stephenson until the beginning of deindustrialisation, in the 1960s and 1970s.

Springwell RoadGatesheadNE9 7QJ View map
Telephone: 07850916484 Visit Now

What's on near Bowes Railway

a large mansion house surrounded by three blocks of colour
Until
ExhibitionsLeeds
Colours Uncovered at Harewood House

Explore colour through an amazing range of artefacts at ‘Colours Uncovered’, a new exhibition at Harewood House, from colour theory and pigment to classical painting and contemporary textiles. from £12.00

Where to go near Bowes Railway

North East
Angel of the North

With its prime location on a panoramic hilltop, Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North one of the most viewed pieces of art in the world.

Washington Old Hall
Sunderland
Tourist Attraction
Washington Old Hall

When people hear Washington, they will likely think of the capital of the United States, the state or the famous man, George Washington, but unknown to them the Washington family can be traced back to Sunderland.

Gateshead
Park
Saltwell Park

Nestled in the heart of Gateshead, the beautiful, historical grounds of Saltwell Park are a perfect place to spend the day.

Shipley Art Gallery
Newcastle
Gallery
Shipley Art Gallery

The Shipley Art Gallery can be found on Prince Consort Road (named after Queen Victoria’s Husband – Prince Albert) and was created in 1917 after Joseph Shipley, a local solicitor, bestowed his collection of 504 paintings to create a gallery for local people.

Trakol
Newcastle
Restaurant
Trakol

On the Gateshead quayside, underneath the Tyne bridge is one of the best locations to go for a meal in Newcastle and Gateshead. In what was once derelict land on the quayside, now exists a fantastic shipping container village of purposely rusted shipping containers.

Quayside
Newcastle
Tourist Attraction
Quayside

The Quayside of Newcastle (and its sister town of Gateshead) is a hugely popular location in the city, featuring seven bridges spanning the impressive river, linking Newcastle to Gateshead and providing scope for many walks and tourist attraction.

CBK Adventures
Newcastle
Tourist Attraction
CBK Adventures

CBK Adventures deliver award-winning coastal activities including guided tours and lessons in kayaking and paddle boarding.

Live Theatre
Newcastle
Theatre
Live Theatre

The Live Theatre has a fantastic reputation for developing, writing and producing new plays and shows every year. The Live Theatre started in 1973. It was at first a traveling theatre company, which started by telling stories that were relatable to daily life in the North East of England and presented these plays to local people – which it has continued to do to this day.

Culture Guides

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
Cinema in Manchester and the North

From the latest installment in the Mad Max franchise, to silent movie masterpieces we highlight the best new releases and big screen classics showing near you this month.