Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year 2018 from the volunteers at Bowes Railway.
(updated March 2018) Thursdays 10-3 Guided tours where possible, see the loco and wagon collection...light refreshments available.
It is possible to view at other times by prior arrangement.
The Bowes Railway held its AGM on 28th November for members and volunteers. The chairman David Hall spoke in upbeat terms on the positive situation that the Bowes Railway now finds itself. To summerise the Bowes finances are healthy and all obligations (utility bills etc.) are being met. These costs are supported by Heritage Lottery Fund money and from visitor donations. The general condition of the site sees continuous improvement, and the achievement of accredited museum status is noteworthy in its own right. Bowes Railway has received three years financial support from HLF which will expire at the end of 2018. Further funding must be secured to continue with essential repairs, renewals and further development. Additional events and open days reflect the fact that Bowes is now open on many more occasions, and entry remains free of charge. This coming year will see major project work involving the self-acting incline brakesman's cabin, and the track associated with Blackfell & Blackham's hauler houses. Rail operations are still restricted until all appropriate regulatory processes are in place. These are being finalised, and include SMS, new operating rule book, proper documentation and effective systems for recording rolling stock and locomotive maintenance, signalling/level crossing maintenance and keeping the permanent way to the necessary standards. Dedicated funds need to be raised to support all these activities. Education and outreach are important to Bowes, including school visits, access to the site by the local and wider community, interest groups, and other organisations to develop and enhance the events and activities that Bowes delivers.
The chairman thanked the dedicated volunteers at Bowes for their loyalty through challenging times. He acknowledged the generous support both fiscal and in-kind from Sunderland and Gateshead councils, SNCBC, Historic England, other local rail museums, Springwell Village community groups and local businesses.
In conclusion, if Bowes remains shrewd in its dealings, flexible in approach, develops, maintains and nurtures a positive outlook and attitude Bowes Railway will succeed. There are ever-present challenges but these can be overcome to deliver a viable and vibrant heritage site and museum.