Sumary of A fascinating cycling tour of North East England along the world’s oldest former railways:
- One of the historically resonant things about riding the Bowes and the Tanfield railway paths close to Newcastle is the proximity of the family-friendly Beamish, the ‘Living Museum of the North’.
- This 350-acre open-air museum houses several significant steam locomotives that once toot-tooted along these former rail lines.
- It’s a given that North East England led the railway revolution almost 200 years ago, but what’s less well known is that this was the second railway revolution.
- Wooden railways, ‘waggonways’ with wooden rails, were used in the region at least 20 years before the English Civil War in the 1640s, and the world’s first passenger railway wasn’t the Stockton and Darlington line of 1825 but Kitty’s Drift, an underground railway beneath a Tyneside colliery that carried paying guests in the early 1800s.
- However, on one stretch of the Bowes Railway path you can still see the remains of oak sleepers and can even ride between steel rails on a bridge that was once part of the Bowes incline railway.
- This image shows a steam locomotive at Causey Arch on the Tanfield Railway A bird’s eye view over Causey Arch, with railway coal wagons to the left.