New Season opens March - Dec 2022

For School or group visits please complete our request form or call 0785 0916484 

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

01 November 2021

Costume winners

A BIG round of applause for the Halloween costume winners of 2021 Click for photo highlights and other winners

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23 October 2021

Autumnal poetry sharing and performance

HUGE THANK YOU to North East writer, performer and bookseller ELAINE CUSACK who led an afternoon poetry session at Bowes Railway today. Click photo  

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19 September 2021


Bowes Railway would like to say a BIG THANK YOU to AIM (Association of Independent Museums) CLICK ON THE AIM LOGO TO READ MORE....   We were delighted to receive a grant award for £3,950 for a project to tackle the preservation and care of some of the smaller items in Bowes Railway's museum collecti...

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07 July 2021

We are now open every Thursday & Saturday

Participants from Sunderland's Stories of Sanctuary project enjoy a guided tour

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02 July 2021

1940's Event photos from 2021

A much smaller COVID friendly 1940's event was held this year at Bowes Railway and with contributing venues throughout Springwell Village taking part - it was great to see so much cheer despite the rain!

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Let's reconnect to WALK THE LINE & Discover your Heritage

Kicking off with a 2 hour circular on Tuesday 27th July 2021
If you fancy more of a challenge register for our 6 mile walk from Burnopfield to Kibblesworth on Friday August 20th. 
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