The Bowes Railway opened in 1826 to haul coal from the Grand Allies pits at Springwell and Mount Moor – it was designed by eminent engineer George Stephenson.
It gradually extended until in 1855 it reached Dipton, totaling 15 miles. It was given the grand title of the Pontop and Jarrow railway. It continued to operate with few changes until 1969 when the line closed beyond Kibblesworth colliery. The closure of this final pit was announced in 1974 and led to the closure of the remains of the railway.
Tyne and Wear council purchased a 1 1/2 mile section between Black Fell and Springwell, including two rope worked inclines (once so common in the North East, but now unique) and the colliery workshops at Springwell. This forms the core of the current preserved railway.
Today the site consists of the Springwell workshops, the two remaining rope worked inclines and a 1 1/2 mile steam hauled passenger line. The railway also provides a small cafe and shop for visitors on open weekends.
For opening hours please visit our website