Bowes Incline is a unique Victorian rope-drawn railway designed in 1826 by George Stephenson. A short 3-mile section, which includes the track, wagons and winding gear has been preserved at Springwell, nr Gateshead and is maintained by a small staff of volunteers. We went there on Saturday; it is so interesting and you walk where George must have walked and see what George must have seen.
It was designed and built to take coal from the North Durham coalfields to the staiths at Jarrow on the River Tyne. Previously, the coal was transported using rope-drawn wagons driven by a stationary, steam-powered engine further up the line but Stephenson’s system used the Bowes incline that rose across the summit of the hill at Springwell to lower full trucks down toward the river and as the full trucks were dropping the empty trucks were rising. Then getting filled; emptied; filled; emptied.
It’s a scheduled ancient monument and is the world’s only preserved standard-gauge rope hauled railway.
I had to tear myself away.