Bowes Railway is now open for PRE BOOKED guided tours only in February 

Tuesday or Thursday TIMESLOTS : 11am TOUR or 1pm TOUR 


School or Group bookings can be made by contacting the office

We look forward to seeing you all soon






Adults aged 16+ Daily Charge:   £5.00 Includes Guided Site Tour 

Children aged 5+ Daily Charge:  £2.00 Includes Guided Site Tour


Bowes Volunteers

2023 Sign up for a Taster Day

Learn heritage skills  - Make Friends - Make a difference

The World's Only Standard Gauge Cable Railway


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.



  • "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

09 December 2022

Clean and Green Team

The Washington Clean & Green Team take a well deserved break and bacon buttie at their last session for 2022! Click image FULL STORY

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09 December 2022

Tubs for Silksworth Memorial

Finally installed at the Mining Memorial Site at Silksworth, Bowes Railway's first handcrafted replica coal tubs!  

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06 December 2022

Helping Communities Blossom

Another commission complete! We were delighted to create 6 tubs for the National Trust's 'Helping Communities Blossom' project. Click link for more    

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12 October 2022

Heritage Open Days Case Study

Click the image to read about Bowes Railway's success at being selected as a case study for the 2022 National Heritage Open Days Event      

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16 September 2022

Bowes Autumn Allotment handpicked by adult learners

Adults from Thornbeck College help with weekly maintenance at Bowes community allotment. Today's handpicked veg was made into a delicious winter soup. 

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WALK THE LINE & Discover your Heritage 2022

Challenge Yourself in 2022 -WALK THE LINE with us!
If you fancy more of a challenge register for our 6 mile walk from Burnopfield to Kibblesworth
A new series of short and medium level guided walks led by our experienced Tour Guides to following the 15 mile stretch of Bowes Railway line.

 Over a series of weeks we will be covering a variety of walks including  Dipton's Delight Colliery, 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 will be opened for viewing on selected dates.

If you would like to know more about the walks or register to receive a schedule of walk dates please contact us for more information




Sorry, we currently have no scheduled upcoming events. Please check back again soon.

Birds & Bugs printable activity

Half Term Making Bird Feeders

 Half Term Sessions were supported by Sunderland Council

Washington Ward Holiday Activity & Food Programme Fund

Children enjoyed a variety of activities including making healthy banana and egg pancakes and creating bird feeders for their garden