Access & Facilities

Visitor Summary
If you only wish to travel on a train, especially if the weather is poor or someone in your party cannot walk easily, check the timetable & go by car to East Tanfield station.
If you also wish to see our collection, enjoy a longer visit, or use public transport, check the timetable & go to Andrews House station to catch a train.

The railway is in the countryside, so largely open to the elements, with rough & sometimes slippery paths, slopes, gaps & steps.
Please be aware at stations or in the shed that steam locomotives may have hot surfaces, & emit sudden loud noises & hot dirty stuff.
No smoking or vaping in carriages, buildings or doorways.

The railway & all rolling stock were rebuilt & are run entirely by volunteers.   We aim to display industrial locos & minor railways of NE England as they were between 1920 & 1950, either by running trains or enabling access to sheds & exhibits.   Access to car parks, parts of the site & sheds are usually free, except during a few special events.

The railway runs 3 miles between East Tanfield & Sunniside, alongside the A6076 Stanley to Sunniside  road.   Buses X30 & X31 from Newcastle to Stanley run along the A6076 every 15 mins weekdays.   The X30 is hourly on Sundays.   There are several other bus routes to Sunniside, convenient for our northern terminus when trains are operating, or a mile walk from our Marley Hill site on non operating days.

Stations, car parks and the main shed site are open to visitors during the times that we operate trains.   Outside of these times, many areas are accessible at all reasonable hours.   However, because the railway relies on volunteers, we are not always able to open sheds & sites when trains are not running.   For group or individual visits from a distance or for a particular purpose, contact us beforehand to agree access.

Train Operating
  • Passenger trains hauled by steam locomotive run on the railway every Sunday, plus other days such as bank holidays.  Travel on a few days must be prebooked.   See for details and booking.
  • We operate with industrial steam locos, as a pre-1950 minor or colliery railway of NE England.
  • Carriages are wooden, with wooden seats, unheated & unlit.
  • Carriage doorways are 570 to 600 mm wide, with a gap & step of 200 mm from the platform.
  • People with wheelchairs can gain access to carriages via portable ramp set up by train staff.   Someone with a larger wheelchair may be carried in a guards compartment, if available.   Please contact us beforehand to avoid disappointment.
  • Some carriages have open balconies - be careful of the danger particularly to eyes & clothing from smoke & hot sparks if travelling on these.
  • Dogs, if under control & well behaved, are welcome around the site and on trains.   Please pick up after your dog.
  • There are four stations on the line: East Tanfield, Causey Arch, Andrews House & Sunniside.

East Tanfield Station
  • Post code DH9 9UY
  • Large free car park accessed from Tanfield Lane, which leads from the A6076 to Tanfield Village & passes the station.   The car park is locked when the station is closed, ie when trains are not running.
  • The car park is immediately adjacent to, and on the same level as, the station building & railway.
  • No regular bus service.
  • Open platform with part hard, part gravel surface.
  • On train operating days only, the car park is open & the station is manned & lit.
  • Inside the station building, the Tommy Armstrong Tea Room provides refreshments on most train operating days.
  • There are accessible toilets inside the station building.
  • Adjacent is a large carriage shed with a display area inside.
  • There are nearby public footpaths, eg to Causey Arch station.
  • Tanfield Lea wetlands area, walks & car park is 400 yards SE.

Causey Arch Station
  • Post code NE16 5EG
  • Accessed from A6076
  • 600 yards from bus stops on Newcastle to Stanley routes X30 & X31.
  • Large free Durham County Council car park (open daytime) 600 yards away, for Causey Arch Picnic Area.
  • Steep rough public footpath with steps to station - there is an alternative lesser graded accessible public footpath.
  • These footpaths lie on each side of the Causey Embankment, the world's first large railway embankment, built by 1725.
  • Open platform with grassed surface.   No buildings or toilets.
  • Unmanned & unlit.
  • Trains on operating days only.
  • The station is 50 yards from the oldest railway bridge in the world, Causey Arch completed in 1727.
  • There are public woodland walks, eg to East Tanfield Station.
  • There is a footpath to Marley Hill Site & Andrews House Station.
  • There is a pub & a cafe 600 yards from the station, near to the car park & bus stops.

Andrews House Station
  • Post code NE16 5ET
  • Accessed from A6076
  • Newcastle to Stanley bus routes X30 & X31 stop nearby.
  • Large free car park, unlit, open 9-5 on operating days, locked outside these hours.   Small always open free car park on opposite side of A6076.
  • 250 yards to station, over some cobbles & a rough gravel ramp.
  • Open gravel/grass surfaced platforms either side of a loop, buildings on west side only.
  • On train operating days only, the station is manned & lit, with refreshments, small gift shop & toilets outside.
  • Access to grass covered east platform via gravel ramps & footbridge. 
  • The station is 250 yards from our Marley Hill Site, which includes the oldest engine shed in the world.
  • There are nearby bridleways, footpaths & cycle routes.

Sunniside Station
  • Post code NE16 5EF
  • Access is on foot only via a gravel path from the A6076.   There is no car park & nowhere close to unload a car.
  • Newcastle to Consett buses X70 & X71 and Stanley buses X30 & X31 stop in Sunniside, 200 yards from the station.
  • Open platform with gravel surface.   No buildings or toilets. 
  • Unmanned & unlit.
  • Trains on operating days only.
  • There is an adjacent bridleway (from Gateshead) to Marley Hill Site & Andrews House Station.
  • There are shops & a pub nearby in Sunniside.

Marley Hill Site
  • Post code NE16 5ET
  • Newcastle to Stanley buses X30 & X31 stop nearby.
  • Large free gated car park, unlit, open 9-5 on operating days, usually 10-4 on others, locked outside these hours.
  • Small, free ungated public car park on opposite side of A6076.
  • Rough unlit paths, some cobbles & a fairly steep slope down from the car park
The slope down to Marley Hill site; picnic areas either side at the top
  • 250 yards from our Andrews House Station 
  • There are nearby bridleways, footpaths & cycle routes
  • There are raised rails over much of the site
  • Please keep a close eye on & warn children & vulnerable adults
  • The Marley Hill site includes:
a) Marley Hill Picnic & Display Area
An open grassy area above the site, on the same level as the car park
Used as a display area on some special event days

b) Marley Hill Engine Shed
Built 1854, the oldest in the world still in use.
Public access is available when staff are present.
Beware of open inspection pits & patches of uneven, oily floor.
Please do not climb on locos - they may be hot, dirty, oily, slippery & hard edged.
Showing the rails, surface & levels outside Marley Hill shed
(The scaffolding is temporary)

c) Marley Hill Storage Shed
Public access by prior arrangement, if a guide is available.

d) Marley Hill Carriage Shed
Public access on most train operating days, and otherwise by request if a guide is available.
Accessible toilets within.
The pathway to the carriage shed - note the rails

e) Pontop Canteen

This cafe, inside Marley Hill carriage shed, serves hot food & other refreshments on many train operating days.

f) Marley Hill Shed Yard
Open to the public most days of the year.
Paths are rough, unmarked & unlit, with raised rails & other hazards.
Please don't climb on vehicles or equipment - they are slippery, rusty & hard edged
Point blades & levers can trap & badly injure
Wooden sleepers are very slippery when wet.
Marley Hill yard, showing rails, vehicles & equipment

g) Marley Hill Workshops
No public access

h) Marley Hill Station
Our first station, now disused.   Closed to passengers & the public.

Walks Around the Tanfield Railway
Sarah Gardiner describes short walks around Tanfield Railway, which can be enjoyed on their own, or combined with train travel.
These walks are neither maintained nor adopted by the Tanfield Railway.   Details are the views of Sarah, out of interest and using reasonable best endeavours.   Neither TR nor Sarah accept liability for the condition of the walks, or for inaccuracies or omissions in the descriptions.

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