Saturday, 30 May 2020

Dunston Staiths

Dunston Staiths were seen on fire early in the morning of Saturday 16 May 2020.
Firefighters tackling the blaze
For more background, see the website of the owners of Dunston Staiths, Tyne & Wear Building Preservation Trust.

Friday, 29 May 2020

May Lockdown Railway Scrapbook

Everywhere I go in the area I notice, often accidentally, past or present objects of industry & railways.   If you notice similar, please send a photo with some descriptive text.   If you recognize any of the places below please leave a comment:
The Pontop & South Shields route is taking a different form at this location

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Grand Canyon Railway

The photos below are courtesy of Dave Hewitt, who visited the Grand Canyon Railway in June 2006 (most photos) & June 2015 (where stated):
Heading for the Grand Canyon through Arizona scrub in June 2006
The Grand Canyon Railway is a tourist line running 64 miles due north from Williams, Arizona to the rim of the Grand Canyon (ie it doesn't descend into or run along the canyon).   It was originally a mining railway, but turned to include sightseeing passengers in 1901 - a short history is available.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Tomlinson 1915

The official history of the North Eastern Railway, Its Rise & Development, was written by the eminent historian William Weaver Tomlinson in 1915.   David & Charles published an edition of the 800+ page book in 1967 which may be available second hand for about £40; there is also a 2015 edition from Andesite Press.   However, the first edition is freely available on line, including as a pdf download of 110 MB, with the further advantages of being much lighter and machine searchable.
Tanfield Gradient Profile - Tomlinson p343

Monday, 25 May 2020

Tanfield Railway - an Early Day

The photos below are courtesy of Chris Shearer.   They were taken around the time of Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee in June 1977.   TR trains had started running between a temporary platform at Marley Hill & a temporary loop at Bowes Bridge.
Alan running 32 round the train at Marley Hill.   The low buffer beam matched the 'glass carriage' **

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Tanfield Branch Crossings #1

N10 69100 passing over Lobley Hill crossing
(photo Armstrong Trust)

Friday, 22 May 2020

Cumbres & Toltec

The 64 mile 3 foot gauge Cumbres & Toltec Railroad connects Chama in New Mexico over the 10000 feet high Cumbres Pass & runs along the edge of the Toltec Gorge to Antonito in Colorado.

The photographs below are courtesy of Dave Hewitt:

Chama shed with 3 Baldwin built mikados, 483, 484 & 463
Ten K-36 class 2-8-2 locos were supplied to the Denver & Rio Grande in 1925, nearly all of which are operational on either the Cumbres & Toltec or the Durango & Silverton.   There's some K-36 detail on Wikipedia.   463 is a rarer & older Baldwin K-27 class - see Wikipedia for detail & screen appearances.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Steamtown NHS

The photos below are courtesy of Dave Hewitt, & date from September 2018:
A mainline freight passing through Steamtown station in Scranton USA

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Minor Railways

Progress rounding Marley Hill curve on its way to Sunniside with a 7 carriage train in the 1990s
(Derek Knott firing, photo courtesy of Ian Cowan)
This is a recreation of a minor railway train on the Tanfield Railway.   Many minor railways of NE England were similar to statutory light railways elsewhere in Britain, except that wayleaves were used instead of parliamentary powers.   The Tanfield Waggonway used wayleaves, & this was continued throughout the life of the Tanfield Branch.   Today's Tanfield Railway uses a light railway order.

Light railways recently featured on TR Facebook.

Monday, 18 May 2020

Colin Mountford

Dr Michael Bailey, President of the Stephenson Locomotive Society, presenting the first SLS Literary Award to Colin Mountford for his book Rope & Chain Haulage in 2016

Sunday, 17 May 2020


William (1812-1882) & Hannah Doxford with daughters c1840
Crane tank locos built by Hawthorn Leslie & RSH which were used at Doxford's shipyard at Pallion have recently featured on Tanfield Railway Facebook.

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Consett Long Boilered A Tanks

No.41 among the austerity locos at Swalwell in May 1969
(photo Bobby Hunter)

Friday, 15 May 2020

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

More Harz

The Harz Mountain Railway was introduced on this TR blog with photos by John Turnock on 28 April.

The photos below taken in July 1991 (where noted) & July 1992 (otherwise) are courtesy of Bob Payne, who has visited the Harz railway several times:
2-10-2T 99 2738-1 at Nordhausen Nord with a train to Hasselfelde in July 1991

James Joicey, 1st Baron Joicey

James Joicey 1846-1936 
(1925 photo courtesy of National Portrait Gallery, Creative Commons Licence)

Tanfield Railway is well connected to James Joicey.
He is featured today on Tanfield Railway's Facebook page.
He was born in Tanfield.
He owned East Tanfield Colliery & several more around Stanley.
His companies owned many collieries in County Durham. 
He owned Twizell  &  LH&JC No.14.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Chehalis - Centralia Railroad

The photos (except where noted) and story below are courtesy of Dave Hewitt, who enjoyed his rain soaked holidays around Seattle.

The Chehalis - Centralia is a tourist railroad based in Washington State, NW USA.   It was rebuilt on 10 miles of a branch line of the Milwaukee Road, starting in the mid 1980s, driven by residents of the small town of Chehalis who wanted to have an attraction based on the area's logging railways.
This is Harold Borovec in his early 80s in 2008, the engineer on No.15.    Now 93, he is still involved with the railway which he was instrumental in starting.

Monday, 11 May 2020

NE Miners Talk

NE miners talking in 2014 of their experiences & conditions in a video on Vimeo (2015, 55 mins)
Caution - contains everyday NE dialects, pitmatic, pit humour, tales & technical terms - no subtitles

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Track Laying near Bankwell Farm

The photos below are courtesy of Ian Cowan, and show laying of WW1 era 85 lb/yd FB concrete-sleepered track panels (retrieved from British Gypsum at Cocklakes) between Burdon Plain & Causey Crossing in the early 1980s:
An NCK Pennine crawler crane lifted 3 x 40' panels at a time from the Horn's artic which had reversed up the trackbed from Causey Crossing.    The sets of 3 panels were swung round & left behind the crane.

Friday, 8 May 2020

Bygone North Pole Express

The photos below are courtesy of Ian Cowan:
No.2 & Cochrane preparing to leave Marley Hill for Sunniside with a NPE

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Hudswell Clarke No.38

No.38 (HC 1823 of 1949) is a link between Rising Sun Colliery and Tanfield Railway
(photo Bob Payne)

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Rising Sun Colliery

Rising Sun Colliery in Wallsend, possibly shortly after opening in 1908
Photo from the website of Suscram, a group from Cramlington which promotes cycling on the former waggonways of North Tyneside.   It also has an interesting history of Rising Sun Colliery with photos.

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Amber Ashington

The Amber Collective based at The Side in Newcastle publish archive photographic collections on line   Within these, there are several covering Ashington, which are linked below:
Part of the Ashington Coal Company Handbook 

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Dawdon Colliery

Dawdon was one of the collieries (eg Horden, Vane Tempest) sunk in the early 1900s
using the latest technology to extract coal from under the North Sea
(photo from

Friday, 1 May 2020

Spring Bank Holiday .....

..... 30 years ago.   Photos of bank holiday Tanfield trains in May 1990, but I'm unsure of the photographer, who obviously tried to get an extra frame from the roll:
Cochrane taking passengers from Marley Hill to Sunniside .....