The Tanfield Railway is a tourist attraction in Gateshead and County Durham, England, operating preserved steam and diesel industrial locomotives. The Railway operates a passenger service on Sundays all year round. The line currently runs 6 miles between East Tanfield and Sunniside, There are plans in the future to extend the line up to Gateshead via Dunston
History as a Colliery Railway
The Railway was originally built to transport coal from the collieries nearby, to the River Tyne.
The oldest existing part of the line (the section between the Sunniside and Causey Arch stations) dates from 1725 (it was a horse drawn railway at that time) and is claimed to be the World's oldest working railway. The main engine shed at Marley Hill is the world's second oldest locomotive shed in the world, only just beaten by another in Egypt
It passes near to Causey Arch, the oldest surviving railway bridge in the world, which originally served the line.
History as a preserved line
The early years at Marley Hill were spent in preparing locos for steaming, working on the shed structure and acquiring basic needs such as water and electricity.
The public steamings of 1973 used No.21 and Malleable No.5.
A small carriage was acquired from British Steel on Teesside and was prepared for use as the railway's first passenger carrier for a week of running in August 1975. No.21, No.32 and Sir Cecil A Cochrane were the 3 locos in use that week.
Extensions to the Line
Sunniside Station was the end of the railway's first extension. Passenger trains started using the extension on 2nd July 1981 and the official opening cermony took place the following year on 14th July 1982.
Andrews House station was completed between 1987 - 1989 with platforms, a water tower, a station building and a footbridge.
The first train to Causey was on 27th July 1991, with the official opening ceremony being held on August 15th 1991.
The first train to East Tanfield was on 18th October 1992. It is the southern most station on the railway.The station was opened in 1997
Operational Steam Locomotives:
- Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST, Renishaw Ironworks No.6. In service on passenger trains. Boiler ticket expires in 2014
- Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns 0-6-0ST, No.49. In service on passenger trains. Boiler ticket expires in 2013
- Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns 0-4-0ST, Sir Cecil A Cochrane. In service on passenger trains. Boiler ticket expires in 2018
Steam Locomotives under overhaul/being restored
- Andrew Barclay 0-4-0ST, No.32. Undergoing restoration. Rolling chassis almost complete. Undergoing boiler work with rivets having to be replaced on the foundation ring
- Hudswell Clarke 0-4-0ST, Irwell. Undergoing restoration, chassis on flat waggon.
- Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns 'Twizell' 0-6-0T. Undergoing overhaul. The engine will steam once work on the valve chests has been completed along with piping up and fittings.
- Borrows of St Helens No.3 0-4-0WT. Undergoing overhaul. Cosmetic only
Stored Steam Locomotives
- Hawthorn Leslie "Cyclops" 0-4-0ST. Stored. Halfway through a cosmetic overhaul that still needs finishing
- Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns No.38 0-6-0ST. Stored in the main running shed minus- Saddle tank, cab and fittings. The engine weighs 54 tons so is too heavy for the current axle loading on the line
- Black, Hawthorn & Co 0-4-0ST, Wellington. Stored minus saddle tank and fittings
- Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0T, No.38. Stored.
- Hawthorn Leslie and Company 0-6-0ST, Stagshaw. Stored undercover.
- Hawthorn Leslie and Company 0-4-0ST, No.2 . Stored.
- Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns 0-4-0ST, No.21. Stored.
- Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns 0-6-0ST, Progress. Stored undercover, a strong candidate for overhaul.
- Sentinel 0-4-0T No.4. Stored.
- W.G. Bagnall 0-6-0ST, Gamma. Stored undercover.
- Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns Hendon 0-4-0CT. Stored.
- Andrew Barclay No.17 0-6-0T. Stored.
- Hawthorn Leslie No.13 0-4-0ST. Stored.
- Andrew Barclay "Horden" 0-6-0ST. Stored.
- Andrew Barclay No.6 0-4-2ST. Stored.
- Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns No.62 0-6-0ST. Stored.
- Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns No.44 0-6-0ST. Stored.
- Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns No.47 0-6-0ST. Stored.
- Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns No.16 0-6-0ST. Stored.
- Hawthorn Leslie No.3 0-6-0ST. Stored.
- Hawthorn Leslie Huncoat No.3 0-6-0F. Stored.