Newcastle and Carlisle Railway
|Newcastle and Carlisle Railway|
An old ScotRail Class 156 unit pauses at Hexham
Tyne and Wear
North East England
North West England
|Rolling stock||Class 142 "Pacers"
Class 156 "Super Sprinters"
Class 158 "Express Sprinter"
|No. of tracks||Two|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
The Newcastle and Carlisle Railway, occasionally referred to as the Tyne Valley Line, is a railway line in northern England. The 60-mile (97 km) line was built in the 1830s, and links the city of Newcastle upon Tyne in Tyne and Wear with Carlisle in Cumbria. Formal opening took place on 18 June 1838. The line follows the course of the River Tyne through Northumberland. Five stations and two viaducts on the route are listed structures.
Passenger services on the Tyne Valley Line are operated by Northern Rail and First ScotRail. The line is also heavily used for freight, and is an important diversionary route during East Coast Main Line closures. The line is not an electrified route. Passenger services are operated by diesel multiple units, typically Class 142 "Pacers", Class 156 "Super Sprinters" which were introduced in the late 1980s and on rare occasions Class 158s are used on this line, which were introduced in the early 1990s, before being transferred to other depots . Prior to this, Metro-Cammell Class 101 units were used.
The railway was built by the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway Company, the requisite Act of Parliament gaining Royal Assent on 22 May 1829. The line was built in sections from 1834 onwards. The first section (Hexham -Blaydon) opened in March 1835 but services were then suspended until May after a local landowner objected to the use of locomotives (specifically prohibited by the Act of Parliament). The entire route between Carlisle London Road railway station and Redheugh in Gateshead was formally opened to passengers on 18 June 1838. A temporary Tyne bridge was built at Scotswood to allow trains to reach a terminus in Newcastle - this opened on 21 October 1839. N&CR trains first used Newcastle Central railway station on 1 January 1851.
The N&CR was absorbed into the North Eastern Railway on 17 July 1862. From 1864, trains ran to Carlisle Citadel station, and the old London Road station was closed. In 1870, the temporary bridge at Scotswood was removed, and a new iron Scotswood Bridge was built to replace it.
On 4 October 1982, British Rail closed the Scotswood Bridge, which had become uneconomic to maintain. Tyne Valley trains from Newcastle were diverted to use the present route, crossing the King Edward VII Bridge south-west of Newcastle Central Station, and running via Dunston to Blaydon, on a line which was upgraded to carry passenger traffic.
|Newcastle and Carlisle Railway|
After leaving Newcastle Central the line originally ran along the north bank of the Tyne for around 4 miles (6.4 km), serving the Sir W G Armstrong & Co works at Elswick, before crossing the Tyne at Scotswood and rejoining its current route along the south bank from Blaydon. Since 1982, after leaving Newcastle, the line crosses the River Tyne on the King Edward VII Bridge and then diverges from the southbound East Coast Main Line passing west through Gateshead, with stations at Dunston, the MetroCentre and Blaydon.
Past Ryton, the line enters Northumberland and passes Wylam station. The station house at Wylam was built in 1835, and is Grade II* listed. The line continues along the south bank of the Tyne, with other stops in Northumberland being Prudhoe, Stocksfield, Riding Mill, Corbridge, Hexham, Haydon Bridge, Bardon Mill and Haltwhistle.
Scotswood, Newburn & Wylam Railway 
The Scotswood, Newburn & Wylam Railway (SN&WR) or The North Wylam Loop was a 6.5-mile (10.5 km) long double track branch line constructed for colliery and passenger traffic. The line diverged from the original N&CR at Scotswood, ran along the north bank of the Tyne, with stations at Newburn, Lemington, Heddon-on-the-Wall and North Wylam, before crossing the River Tyne via the Wylam Railway Bridge and joining the N&CR again at the West Wylam Junction. The line followed the course of a waggonway between North Wylam and Lemington Staithes which had been in operation since 1748 and was used for taking coal from the collieries in Wylam and Walbottle to a part of the river which could be accessed by Keel boats.
On 16 June 1871 Parliament gave permission for the line to be built. Construction of the new line began in April 1872. On 12 July 1875 the line between Scotswood and Newburn was opened. It was operated by North Eastern Railway on behalf of SN&WR. On 13 May 1876 the line between Newburn and North Wylam opened. In October 1876 the final section of the branch between North Wylam and the West Wylam Junction opened.
During the 1950s and 1960s the North Wylam loop fell under the Beeching Axe. On 15 September 1958 the Newburn, Lemington and Heddon-on-the-Wall stations closed to passengers. Heddon-on-the-Wall also closed to goods on that day. On 4 January 1960 Lemington Station closed to goods trains. Newburn Station also closed to goods traffic on 24 April 1965. Scotswood closed to goods trains two days later. Between 1965 and 1966 this line carried all rail traffic between Newcastle and Carlisle while a section of the main line between Scotswood and Blaydon was closed. Scotswood closed to passengers on 1 May 1967. The last closure on the line was Wylam North Station, which closed on 11 March 1968. The track between Newburn and Wylam Railway Bridge was removed in 1975 and the course was landscaped and made into a public bridleway. The track between Scotswood and Newburn remained to take rail traffic to and from Stella North Power Station and the Ever Ready factory in Newburn but the track was removed shortly after the Ever Ready factory closed in 1992.
Branch lines 
Originally the railway had four passenger branch lines leading off it:
- The Border Counties Railway branched off just west of Hexham and passed through Kielder and the North Tyne Valley, before joining up with the Scottish rail network near Hawick. It was also linked to the Wansbeck Valley Railway, which ran from Reedsmouth to Morpeth and connected to the branch line from Rothbury. The Border Counties line closed to passengers in 1956, and to all traffic in 1958 (five years before the Beeching Axe), although a small section of track between Reedsmouth and Bellingham was retained, accessed from the Wansbeck line, until the latter shut in the mid sixties. Much of the trackbed is now lost beneath Kielder Reservoir, although the disused Kielder Viaduct remains a prominent local landmark.
- The Allendale branch came off near the village of Haydon Bridge and was primarily used to carry minerals from mines and quarries around Allendale and the village of Langley. It was never popular, with passenger services ending in the 1930s, and the line closed completely in 1953.
- The Alston branch covered 17 miles (27 km) from the town of Haltwhistle. This branch provided a passenger service and also, in the early days, served the hundreds of lead mines in the upper South Tyne Valley. It included the monumental Lambley Viaduct and was the last of the branch lines to close in 1976. Part of the Alston end has been turned into a narrow gauge heritage railway, the South Tynedale Railway.
- There was a short branch (closed to passengers in 1923) from Brampton station into the town of Brampton. The junction of this railway (Brampton Junction) also linked to Lord Carlisle's Railway, a primarily industrial branch line pre-dating the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway itself, which also linked into the Alston branch at Lambley.
- Hoole, Ken (1965). The North East - A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain - Volume IV. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. p. 237. ISBN 0-7153-7746-9.
- "Wylam Waggonway". Hadrians Cycleway. Retrieved 2008-07-03.
- "North Wylam Branch". Northumbrian Railways. Retrieved 2008-06-25.
- "Glass and Gut". Timmonet. Retrieved 2008-07-03.
Further reading 
- Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-85260-508-1.
- Whittle, G. (1979). The Newcastle & Carlisle Railway. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-7855-4.
- Young, Alan (2003). Railways in Northumberland. Pudsey: Martin Bairstow. ISBN 1-871944-26-0.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Tyne Valley Line|
- British Railways in 1960 - Newcastle to Carlisle
- Railscot site for Newcastle and Carlisle Railway
- BVE simulation of the Tyne Valley line
- electronic copy of Tomlinson's History of the North Eastern Railway