Engineering / Construction, Bridges, Railways
The world’s earliest surviving single-arch railway bridge on the world’s oldest railway!
Tanfield Waggonway was built in the 1720s to transport coal to the River Tyne. This railway, and the Causey Arch bridge which carried railway over Causey Burn, was built over 75 years before the first steam locomotive. A whole hundred years before the Stockton and Darlington Railway.
The dramatic single arch bridge was the largest in Britain when it was built and still survives today as a monument to the North East’s industrial heyday.
The bridge was built by stonemason Ralph Wood. Two tracks crossed the Arch - the main way to take coal to the River Tyne, and the bye way for returning the empty wagons. Over nine hundred horse-drawn wagons crossed it each day.
Although no longer used by trains, visitors can enjoy the bridge by walking over it and taking a steam train from the nearby Tanfield Railway Station.