Bowes Railway

The World's Only Standard Gauge Cable Railway

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

Friendly Mosaic Workshop for ALL Abilities

'I'm not artistic'  How many times have you heard that statement? The beauty about MOSAIC MAKING is that anyone can do it with the right instruction! Come and enjoy a day to yourself or with friends to learn how...  You will try out your new learnt skills to help us create colourful signs to be disp...

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24 August 2019, 10:00 AM - 24 August 2019, 04:00 PM

MINI MANIA is back again

Join us for a fantastic day with something to suit every taste CELEBRATING the 60th Birthday for MINI VEHICLES FABULOUS DISPLAY OF MINI CARS Classic and Modern Live Music* Dress up in 60s clothes*Food*Tipsy Trailer* Stalls*Games 

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01 September 2019, 10:00 AM - 01 September 2019, 04:00 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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WALK THE LINE Discover YOUR Heritage

WALK THE LINE Is a new series of guided walks led by our experienced Tour Guides to follow the Bowes Railway line.

Starting this Spring we are heading out to walk the line which began at Dipton's Delight Colliery. Over the weeks we will be passing through Burnopfield, Tanfield Railway, Birkheads Crossing, Kibblesworth down to Team Valley, passing underneath the East Coast main Line A1M and A167, then up hill to Blackfell Engine House and Blackham's Hill Winding House which Bowes are opening up for viewing, then over to Bowes Railway main site. 

If we have enough interest we will be taking participants on to Springwell Bankfoot, Wardley and the Jarrow Staithes where the coal was previously unloaded on to ships bound for London and the Continent.

Guided walks are £3 per Adult and £1 per child (N.B Check appropriate walks suitable for children).

We are partnering with the Tyne and Wear Archive and Museums project 'Live Well' to carry out the walks during May and early June and participants will receive a complimentary Goodie bag for the trail. 

If you would like to know more please contact us for more information on:

Mobile :0785 0916484 or email: [email protected]