Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Tuesday at Tanfield

Dave preparing East Tanfield station for painting
(photo courtesy of Geoff Lowe)

Sunday, 28 June 2020

TR Reopening Plan Questionnaire

Tanfield Railway aims & hopes to reopen a cafe in July and run passenger trains in August, on a suitable scale, subject to safety & following guidance.   We have begun making alterations to improve routing, queuing & distancing at East Tanfield.

We would like to know the views of visitors & volunteers, for which completing a short survey will help us with our planning.

Steve fitting a sliding window to be used for serving customers
(photo courtesy of Geoff Lowe)

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Beamish Crane in Use

A 5 ton Smith rail-mounted crane was stored by Beamish at TR for many years, during which time it was used for several engineering jobs before we got a larger crane & Beamish collected theirs.

The photos below are courtesy of Ian Cowan:
Philip steaming the crane in MH yard - no sign of sheds or shops

Friday, 26 June 2020

Newcastle's Medieval Bridge

There have always been ferry crossings on the lower reaches of the Tyne, but with their need to move supplies & forces north across the river while integrating with port facilities, the Romans built Pons Aelius (the Aelian bridge).   The site of this bridge has been reused over the millennia, but the one which lasted the longest was the medieval stone bridge completed in 1250.   It wasn't the best built bridge, nor the best maintained, but it carried local trade & international commerce & travel for over 500 years.   Its Georgian successor lasted less than a century.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Ashington Workshops Brochure

The brochure below was sent by Neil Morgan:

Ashington Colliery closed in 1988, but the associated workshops kept going with work from the remaining collieries such as Ellington.   The brochure advertises the high quality overhauls on underground locos available for collieries around the country.   Ashington attempted to keep work which BC was putting into the hands of other workshops which had become private companies through subsidy from British Coal Enterprise.

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Moving E9 from Westoe

The photos below of E9 being moved from Westoe Colliery (South Shields) in April 1988 are courtesy of Ian Cowan
E9 waiting by the coal washer, a long-gone coastal landmark

Monday, 22 June 2020

Jarrow from Victorian times to the 1936 Crusade

There are several connections between Marley Hill & Jarrow which I will try to outline below. 
The John Bowes was built at Jarrow in 1852 to take
Marley Hill coal from Jarrow to SE England

(photo Tyne & Wear Archives)
The John Bowes was named after a leading partner of the Marley Hill Coal Company.   It was the first iron-hulled steam-powered single-screw water-ballasted bulk collier, intended to replace the wooden sailing collier brigs.   The effects were dramatic - it had twice the capacity of a collier brig, & took about 5 days for the round trip to London compared with a month.   It was not intended to require wind - but it was auxiliary-rigged as a topsail schooner.   In 1852, several railway companies were able to funnel coal to the SE from all over the country - the likes of the John Bowes kept NE coal extremely viable economically.

Sunday, 21 June 2020

TR Gala

The scene outside Marley Hill shed on Saturday morning 15 June 2019
(photo courtesy of Michael Denholm)
Previous gala shots & videos presenting a 2020 virtual gala have recently been published for several days on TR Facebook.

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Early TR

The photos below are probably by Alan Thompson 

Up to 1976, public open / steaming days were held around Marley Hill shed.
Cochrane with the 'glass carriage' & No.21 around 1975

Friday, 19 June 2020

Self Acting Inclines

I've been asked to explain why 3 rails were used on self acting inclines, such as those at White-le-Head on the Tanfield Branch.   I'll use the similar Birkheads Incline half a mile east of Marley Hill on the Bowes Railway as an example, because there are diagrams & photos:
The 3 rail section on the Birkheads Incline. 
Note rope on RH rollers, so fulls will descend on left, hauling empties over RH kip. 

Thursday, 18 June 2020

A Wet Day in Allonby

The photos below showing loading of a MR carriage body in Allonby (Cumbria) in the early 1990s are courtesy of Ian Cowan:
An ex Midland Railway 5 compartment carriage body sits on a wagon chassis

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Causey Waiting Room

The photos below are by Derek Knott, courtesy of Andrew Knott:
A Midland Railway 5 compartment 3rd heads south from Marley Hill on 24 October 1992

Monday, 15 June 2020

North East Notables

Any list of notables incorporates bias, misses important folk & adds contemporaries who may soon be forgotten.   Can you put a name to each of these faces of people, dead or alive, associated with NE England?

Journalist, Businessman, Engineer

Sportsman, Politician, Engineer

Actress, Director, Philosopher

Sportsman, Trade Unionist, Scientist

Diplomat, Engineer, Actor

Sportsman, Musician, Sailor

Answers will appear below .....

Sunday, 14 June 2020

Catherine Cookson at Tanfield #2

The photos below taken during filming of a Catherine Cookson episode (probably The Cinder Path of 1994) are courtesy of Ian Cowan:
The director came for backdrops & lighting effects .....

Saturday, 13 June 2020

England's North East

England's North East is a web site by historian, writer & presenter David Simpson, containing a wealth of regional information.

Try North East Quiz No.1 - it's not easy!
PS Just counted - this is the 4000th post on this blog

Friday, 12 June 2020

Catherine Cookson at Tanfield #1

The photos below of a Catherine Cookson episode (probably The Cinder Path of 1994) are courtesy of Ian Cowan:
38 at Andrews House with actors & extras

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Marley Hill as Beamish Store

Chris Shearer has sent in a couple of photos of Marley Hill shed & yard in use by Beamish as a store for large exhibits during 1971-72.
No.41 from Derwenthaugh on MH shed south road
(photo courtesy of Chris Shearer)

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

John Bowes' Daniel O'Rourke

John Bowes as he presented himself on his Gibside & other estates.
His Marley Hill business is covered in a recent Tanfield Facebook post.

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

1960s Marley Hill

No.83 (HE 3688 of 1949, ex No.20) heading west with empties
past Marley Hill, a job done by Vic a few years earlier

See Tanfield Facebook yesterday for more photos from the same era

Monday, 8 June 2020


Vic heading out of Marley Hill on Cochrane in 1981
(photo courtesy of Alan Thompson)

Saturday, 6 June 2020

NER TR Carriage No.7

The photos below are courtesy of Ian Cowan:
At Marley Hill in the early 1990s, work is ongoing to fit a roof sheet, running boards, a new balcony end, etc on ex-NER officer's saloon No.876

Friday, 5 June 2020

Marley Hill Workers' Housing

When Marley Hill Colliery was first opened in the early 1700s, it was associated with the Tanfield Waggonway.   MH Colliery closed in 1815, and the workers' housing for this was likely very rudimentary & swept away at closure.

New mining technology enabled the profitable reopening of Marley Hill Colliery in 1840, soon associated with the Pontop & Jarrow Railway.   This much larger development required many more workers & therefore nearby housing (lack of transport & shift working).   The Victorian Marley Hill shown below has been razed, except for our 1854 engine shed, the area now being referred to as Old Marley Hill.   Marley Hill today refers to a former category D village built as 20th century housing for the colliery on the A692 west of Sunniside.
Workers' housing at Marley is ringed on this 1890s OS 25" map from National Library of Scotland
The housing is largely Victorian, built & rebuilt over several eras.   The Hole shown at top (alongside Bowes Bridge shed) was built in 1840 with beaten earth floor & demolished in the 1930s.   The shorter terrace further south was heavily rebuilt to form Post Office Row, housing colliery offices & officials.   The oldest housing is that near Andrews House Colliery shown at the bottom; neither the colliery nor housing lasted long into the 20th century.

Thursday, 4 June 2020

MS&LR TR Carriage No.8

The photos below are courtesy of Ian Cowan:
 At Marley Hill in the early 1990s, work started to refurbish the body of ex-Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire No.888, a 4-compartment brake built in 1885 at Gorton carriage works

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Heddon-on-the-Wall Station

The idea & some photos below are from Dave Dixon - other photos are from Disused Stations.

Heddon-on-the-Wall station is on the North Wylam Loop, with a mile walk up a steep hill on an open road to the village which it serves.   However, it is said that the locals thought that the station would be better placed here, on the railway line.   The first station to serve Heddon was even less convenient, being Ryton, with an additional mile to walk across open fields, a rowing-boat ferry across the Tyne, then another half mile walk.

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Hawthorn Leslie Locomotives

A 1910-built Hawthorn Leslie crane tank, seemingly on demo
Note the name, weight markings & crane tank in left background
** Latest **  This is HL 2768 of 1910 for Armstrong Whitworth on publicity work next to the HL works & water tank at Newcastle Central station.   5 similar locos are preserved in Australia. [TR News No.70 Sep 2005]

Monday, 1 June 2020

Proposed Durham History Centre

Durham has applied for planning permission to base a new Durham History Centre at Mount Oswald Manor House, off the South Road near the University & Howlands Park & Ride.
Oswald House (as originally built) drawn by John Preston Neale in 1818
(as released from the British Museum to Wiki)