Stanhope & Tyne Railway

[Source: Roy Lambeth]

On 20th November 1831 William Wallis of Westoe(now part of South Shields) contracted with John Selby for lease of coal seams under his property at West Consett, and on 2nd December entered into a partnership with Cuthbert Rippon of Stanhope Castle, and William Harrison of Monkwearmouth Grange for working coal at Medomsley and limestone at Stanhope. This would involve construction of a railway between the two.

William Harrison became the leading figure, who having looked at upgrading the Pontop Waggonway, abandoned the idea in favour of building a new railway from Stanhope to a point on the River Tyne down river from any bridges. Instead of applying for compulsory powers from Parliament the company made voluntary arrangements with landowners for way-leave. John Fairweather Harrison of London (William's brother), Thomas Barnard of Deptford joined the group and on Jan 30th 1832 Russell Bowlby, solicitor, prepared the Deed of Partnership for 'The Stanhope Railroad Company'.

On February 11th Cuthbert Rippon and William Wallis retired from the company. On April 9th 1831 the remaining partners entered into an agreement with Charles Smythe for the lease of Pontop Colliery and with Cuthbert Rippon for the lease of his Stanhope Limestone Quarries.

The railway construction started at Stanhope in early July 1832 with Robert Stephenson as consulting Engineer and Thomas E Harrison (William's son) as acting Engineer. The greater part of the route was over land owned by The Bishop and Dean & Chapter of Durham who granted right of way on moderate terms.

On May 1st 1834 the first locomotive was placed on the rails in South Shields and on the 15th the upper part from Stanhope to Annfield (15 1/4 miles) was opened to traffic. Between Stanhope and Annfield 14.5 miles worked by stationary engines and horses, and 0.75 miles by gravity.

The terminus was near Lanehead Farmhouse about half a mile north of Stanhope and at some lime kilns were built at 796 ft ASL. From there wagons were drawn up The Crawley Incline to the Crawley Engine (1,123ft ASL) then on a new rope up the Weatherhill Incline to a summit at
Whiteleahead (1,445ft ASL). This was the highest point on the North-Eastern System. Horses then worked the next mile and a half to Park Head Wheelhouse where the wagons were let down an incline of 1.5 miles to Meeting Slacks Stationary Engine where ropes were changed and the wagons continued downhill for a further 1.25miles to Waskerley.

Then came a self-acting incline called Nanny Mayor's Bank 0.75 miles long on a 1 in 14 gradient. Named after Mrs. Mayor of Tween House Farm over whose land the line passed. Horses hauled the next 1.25 miles to Healyfield Bridge, then the rode in Dandy Carts on gravity for 2 miles via White Hall and Cold Rowley to Hownes Gill, a 800 ft wide and 160ft deep dry ravine, 10
miles from Stanhope.

By the end of 1840 The Stanhope & Tyne were in financial difficulty, they gave up making lime and closed their line from Stanhope to Carrhouse (near Consett). In 1842 they entered into an agreement with the Derwent Iron Co. (Derwent Iron Co. till 20.7.1858, then Derwent & Consett Iron Co. Ltd till 4.4.1864 then Consett Iron Co. Ltd.) who purchased the closed portion of the line.

The Stockton & Darlington Railway had for some years considered an extension to access limestone in Weardale. The construction of The West Durham Railway to Crook forced the Stockton & Darlington to extend to Crook which they opened in 8th November 1843. (Owned by The Bishop Auckland & Weardale Railway and leased throughout by the Stockton & Darlington).
From the termination of the railway at Crook, The Derwent Iron Co. proposed a line to Waskerley Park at the foot of Meeting Slacks Incline (later Waskerley Station) to provide a southern outlet for their Stanhope Limestone. Having obtained a right of way from the landowners The Derwent
Iron Co. submitted the plan to the Stockton & Darlington Board who agreed to make and work the line under certain terms. They the leased and later sold the railway bought from the Stanhope & Tyne company to the Stockton & Darlington Co.

The Stanhope to Carrhouse passed into the possession of The Stockton & Darlington on 1st January 1845 and with The Weardale Extension Railway (10miles) opening on 16th May 1845 formed The Wear & Derwent Junction Railway.

A group of railways was formed under statutory authority on 29th September 1847 consisting of The Stockton & Darlington Railway, The Wear Valley Railway (a union of the Wear Valley Railway opened 3rd August 1847, the Bishop Auckland & Weardale Railway, the Wear & Derwent Railway, the Weardale Extension Railway and the Shildon Tunnel Company) and The Middlesbrough & Redcar Railway. The latter two being leased to The Stockton & Darlington for
999 years at 6% of the share capital. This whole group was amalgamated with the North Eastern Railway by Act of Parliament in early 1863.

Click here for photographs of the Stanhope & Tyne Railway




[Source: Roy Lambeth]

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