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Bowes Railway

Tyne and Wear

Mining, Railways

Opened in 1826, Bowes Railway is the world's only surviving standard gauge rope-worked railway. Built to transport coal from the Durham pits to boats on the River Tyne, it embodies the pivotal moment when railways moved from being purely colliery haulage to the passenger and freight system that we have today.

As such, it illustrates the story of both railway and colliery engineering and is a remarkable survival, in the Region where so much pioneering work on early railways was done. George Stevenson himself is thought to have been involved in the initial design.

Bowes Railway operated as a colliery railway from 1826 to 1974, and as a passenger line in the 19th century. At its peak, the railway handled over one million tons of coal each year and remained virtually intact until 1968.

The whole railway, including the buildings, machinery and rolling stock is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument and is managed by the Bowes Railway Company on behalf of Sunderland City Council and Gateshead Council.

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