Authorised in 1892 the North Sunderland Railway was built privately to serve the newly constructed harbour at Seahouses. Construction started in 1896, and the line opened in 1898 for freight on 1 August, and passengers on 18 December.
The line was rarely profitable and thus the proposed station at Fleetham, and the extension to Bamburgh were never constructed. Management of the line was taken over by the LNER in 1939. Trains took 20mins. on the branch, with 6 trains a day before closure. It was initially operated by Manning Wardle0-6-0 Bamburgh, which was scrapped about 1948. 'Bamburgh' was replaced by an 0-4-0Armstrong Whitworth diesel electric locomotive, 'Lady Armstrong', delivered in 1934. They were replaced until closure by NER Class H (LNER Class Y7) and passenger trains had two Great Eastern Railway 6-wheel coaches.