For learning. For inspiration. For plain speaking.
The Tanfield Railway : Opened in 1725, the Tanfield Railway is one of the oldest railways still operating anywhere in the world.
The Tanfield Railway

Dating from 1725, the Tanfield Railway formed part of an extraordinary network of horse-drawn wagonways in North East England that became the basis of the railway revolution.

‘TYNESIDE roads’ was the name given to a network of 17th century wooden-track railways around the North East.

One of these was opened at Lobley Hill near Gateshead in 1647, and horses trundled coal along the wagonway to Dunston staiths on the Tyne, to be loaded on collier ships.

In 1725, the route was extended to Sunniside and Causey, with a spur to Dawson’s Drift following shortly after.

It was for that spur that stonemason Ralph Wood, at the cost of £12,000, constructed Causey Arch, the world’s oldest surviving single-arch railway bridge, over the Causey burn. The line was further extended, with steel rails, to East Tanfield in 1839.

Steam locomotives did not arrive until 1881, though two stationary engines at Marley Hill drew wagons along the steeper sections of the route by rope.

The line was closed by the government-owned National Coal Board in 1964, but was acquired by a preservation group, and trains started running again in 1981.

Tanfield Steam

A video (without commentary) about the Christmas-themed ‘North Pole Express’ trains on the Tanfield Railway, from preparations at the engine shed to the trip itself.

More like this

Discovery and Invention (66) Georgian Era (111) County Durham (12) Railways (22) History (406)

Picture: © Peter McDermott, Geograph. Licence: CC-BY-SA 2.0. View original
A train hauled by industrial 0-4-0 ‘Sir Cecil A. Cochrane’ (1948) waits to depart Sunniside station on the Tanfield Railway.

Amazon Books

Featured Music

Letters Game

Make words from two or more of the tiles below. What is the highest-scoring word you can make?

Press enter or type a space to see feedback on your word.

More like this: High Tiles Games with Words

Numbers Game

Work across from the number on the left, applying each arithmetical operation to the previous answer. What’s the final total?

Tip: Click any of the four inner squares to check your running total.

More like this: Maths Steps (Mental Arithmetic Game) Mental Arithmetic

Selected Stories
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)
Abbot Elfric unpacks the meaning of the gifts of the Three Wise Men.
By Jane Austen
(1775-1817)
Marianne Dashwood sprains an ankle, but help is at hand.
Chad, the seventh-century Bishop of Mercia, seemed to be making a lot of music for one man.
James Somersett’s new Christian family used every available means to keep him from slavery.
During the Indian Mutiny, over a thousand men, women and children were trapped in the Commissioner’s residence at Lucknow.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
Pauline de Meulan’s magazine Publiciste was close to going out of business when an anonymous contributor stepped in.