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Welcome to the Bowes Railway.

The world's only operational preserved standard gauge rope hauled railway.

About the Railway

Bowes Railway was originally a colliery railway built to carry coal mainly from pits in north west Durham to the Tyne at Jarrow.

The earliest section was designed by George Stephenson and opened in 1826, making it one of the world's first modern railways. It was 15 miles long when completed in 1855.

Each end was locomotive worked; the six mile middle section consisting of rope worked inclines with very steep gradients.

At its peak, the Railway handled over 1 million tons of coal per year and remained virtually intact until 1968.

Visiting the Railway

The whole railway, including the buildings, machinery and rolling stock is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument and is managed by the Bowes Railway Company, Ltd. (Registered Charity Number 511691) on behalf of the current owners, Sunderland City Council and Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council.

You can see the engines and
rope-hauled railway in operation on open days
and special events throughout the year.

Please visit our extensive website for full details.

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