Bowes Railway

The World's Only Standard Gauge Cable Railway

Bowes Railway

Winter Closure

The museum will be closed to the public as from Saturday 22 December 2018.

Bowes Railway

Come Along to an Open Day


History of Bowes 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 on 17 January 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.


Upcoming events

Re-launch Day

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06 April 2019, 10:00 AM - 07 April 2019, 03:00 PM

  • "What a lovely and surprising place this is. The guide was very knowledgeable. Set aside 2.5hrs for the visit. A snack from the cafe is well recommended, don't miss the sausage rolls. Will definitely be back."

    Colin Thompson

  • "I had a great morning at The Bowes Railway yesterday. I was shown around by enthusiastic guide Wilf and a very busy Amanda. He went above and beyond in escorting me around the site and inside most of the various sheds and engineering shops for over an hour. Thank you both very much"

    Rob Davidson

  • "Fantastic place all the staff were really helpful and welcoming. My son (2 years) loved seeing all the engines and trucks. We took part in the crafts and there was a good range to keep him entertained for a couple of hours, then he didn't want to leave. Thanks to the excellent team"

    Emma Mcmain


Latest news

18 December 2018

Christmas Events 2018

The Bowes Railway is closed now to the public for visits, until well into the New Year 2019. Please watch for the announcements on here, the Website or Facebook page. Thanks for your support through 2018.

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08 December 2018


The railway is run by volunteers. A huge task for a very important industrial monument. The railway receives no funding for running costs and relies on raising money through events, sales and, very importantly, donations from well-wishers.

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09 October 2018

Autumn Events 2018

Annual and very popular Fireworks and Bonfire party on Saturday 3rd November (5pm-8.30pm)

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04 September 2018

Heritage Open Days

As part of the Nationwide "Heritage Open Days" programme Bowes Railway is open Thursday until Sunday 6th to 9th and Thursday until Saturday 13th to 15th of September (10am-3pm each day)

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12 August 2018

Rope Haulage

The present system of haulage used on the Railway is a development of the earliest methods of hauling coals to rivers for shipment.

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