I wonder how many people travel passed Bowes Railway on a daily basis but never stop? I was guilty of that, daily for 5yr and recently we fixed that thanks to an open day!
The Bowes Railway was built to bring coal from the pits of Durham right down to the coast. Having grown up in Beamish, we had the remnants of ‘the line’ which now forms part of the C2C route. The same line is also still operational, at Tanfield just outside of Stanley.
Run with an array of volunteers, the Bowes railway has monthly opening weekends so you can wander around the site and learn more not only about the coal industry in the North East but the steam trains too.
As so much of County Durham is made up of pit villages, there’s lots of reminders such as waggonways, country walks and replica wagons and pit workings so it was nice to learn more about the machinery behind the haulage and how to keep it running.
Being an engineers daughter, I found the tool sheds and the machinery far more interesting than the trains themselves so I had a really interesting chat with the volunteers. I am actually really tempted to volunteer myself – I think I’d make a cracking Blacksmith!
There’s a cafe on site and entry is free but donations are encouraged to help with the upkeep. If you get a chance to visit, I really recommend it as it is a nice way to spend an afternoon now the weather is picking up. There is plenty of car parking so you could even bring a picnic and take a walk to find a good spot.