Thursday, 30 June 2022

Work on Lambton Van No.21

Alongside the work on the Conflat, in the workshop work is underway on the Lambton Van No.21. Whilst needlegunning and painting of the frame plates has taken place, the deconstruction of the box has begun. This has allowed access to the rotten parts of the frame work for replacement

Richard (L) and Michael (R) working on plank removal

Planks removed exposing rotten frame work

Katie needle gunning framework


Tuesday, 28 June 2022

Conflat progress

Work has continued on the Conflat. The wheelsets were removed, this has allowed assessment of the remaining bearings. The modern additions have now been removed, whilst the buffers, springs and draw gear have been removed for restoration. Sanding down of the frame is now underway.

John grinding

First section of the platework removed

Working on removal of more platework and cable drum holders

John, Richard and Michael discussing work ont he framework

Omar cutting up scrap metal

Aarvind cutting up old running plate

Aarvind grinding


Progress on Hunslet 69

Slow but steady progress has been taking place on 69s frames in recent weeks

The majority of the external framework has undergone needle gunning and some areas have received their first coat of primer whilst other areas of the framework are awaiting further attention before painting.

The first new component of the new bunker has been trial bolted onto the rear of the frames to align bolt holes etc.

New spring hangers have also been delivered from Newcastle Tool and Gauge. This now means that a start can be made on machining new bushes. The bushes for the corresponding holes in the frames have been removed and the holes are currently awaiting a more thorough examination.

More progress to follow soon!

69s frames in the workshop, showing the front buffer beam needle gunned and sanded, front buffers yet to be removed. The majority of the LHS has now been painted in its first coat of primer.

View from the rear of the frames, with the rear buffer beam also in its first coat of primer. Also just visible above the buffer beam is the first new component of the new coal bunker.

Joe needle gunning

Michael needle gunning

One of twelve new spring hangers


Percy Main Metro Bridge

Two views showing our rail over rail bridge at Percy Main. Here the old Blyth & Tyne passes below the Newcastle & North Shields Railway (now the Metro).

Did you know on running days you can join our trains at Percy Main? Allowing you to arrive at the railway by Metro!

Photos courtesy of:
C Bowman
M Dunlavey


Monday, 27 June 2022

Work on 401

401 has recently been taken out of service for routine washout and minor maintenance. Today the loco has been boxed up and made ready for steam test before the weekend


Sunday, 26 June 2022

08915 in service

Some photos of 08915 in passenger service today, running the railway's Blue timetable


Saturday, 25 June 2022

Pway maintenance and litter pick

Volunteers ready to go down the line this morning for Pway maintenance

Thank you to Whitley Bay Community Clean Team who joined us for a litter pick today


Thursday, 23 June 2022

Wooden Waggonway

We might not be the oldest railway in the UK, but we do have some of the oldest sections of railway.

A section of a wooden waggonway were discovered underneath the former Neptune Shipyard in the summer of 2013. The site was being redeveloped and archaeological surveys took place led to the discovery of the rare and substantial remains of an early railway. Constructed in 1785, the section of waggonway was identified as part of the route of the Willington Waggonway.

The excavation at the Neptune shipyard unearthed the only ‘wash hole’ for cleaning and wetting waggon wheels to have ever been professionally excavated and recorded. We knew that wash holes existed through documentary sources, but none had been discovered previously.

Re-used ships’ timbers also appear to have been used in the construction or the maintenance of the waggonway. If these timbers originate from types of vessels that no longer survive then there is also the potential to learn about their construction.

Perhaps most significantly, the excavated remains of the Willington Waggonway is the earliest railway that has been discovered which was built to what became the international ‘standard’ gauge, defined as 4’ 8 1/2” or 1435mm. The later Killingworth Waggonway, which was used by George Stephenson during his development of the steam locomotive, used part of the Willington Waggonway to reach the river Tyne. The gauge of the Willington Waggonway (based on the earlier Benton Way) therefore set the gauge for the Killingworth Waggonway and ultimately the rest of the world. Today approximately 55% of railways in the world are standard gauge.

Thanks to the Arts Council England PRISM fund, TWAM was able to rescue wooden and stone components within a zone 6 metres in length across the width of the waggonway. Representative and significant components were also collected from other locations on the site.

TWAM secured funding from the Arts Council England Designation Development Fund which will allow us to research, carry out scientific analysis and explore how the waggonway may be displayed in the future. A scale model is already on show in the museum, along with a publication of findings which is for sale in the shop.
The timbers themselves returned to the North East in February 2017 to their new home in the Regional Museum Store at Beamish where the stone components are currently stored. TWAM's hope is that the waggonway can be fully reconstructed for public display in the future.

Photos courtesy of TWAM


Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Consett 10

One of our underappreciated exhibits is Consett 10. An 0-6-0 diesel mechanical loco, built by the Consett Iron Company at Templetown works in 1958, alongside her sister number 9. They were based on the then-standard Hunslet diesels being purchased by the company. Using parts of scrapped crane locos, they still bore a striking resemblance to the Hunslet engines. Number 9 was scrapped in 1971, however, her sister survived at the works till closure.

A selection of photos from her life, at Consett carnival, at the works, being transported by British Rail to Monkwearmouth, traveling by lorry to the Middle Engine via the Tyne Tunnel. And finally at the NTSRA - including her last running day. She currently awaits repairs.

Photos courtesy of
N Sinclair
R Swales
M Ravensdale