Tuesday, October 17, 2006
I went out yesterday for a walk around the deep wooded gorge of Causey Burn, spanned by the superb Causey Arch. This giant stone bridge towers 80-ft above the gorge with a span of over 100-ft. This is the world’s oldest railway bridge that was, when it was built, the largest single arch bridge in Britain. It was built in 1725 as part of a five-mile waggonway between the collieries around Tanfield and the Dunston coal staiths along the Rive Tyne. This was the first major engineering feat of the Industrial Revolution. During the 19th Century, the waggonway was upgraded with iron rails and steam locomotives and an alternative route opened from Causey Arch to collieries at East Tanfield. This railway continued to transport coal to Tyneside until it closed in 1962. Today, the section from Sunniside to East Tanfield is operated as a preserved steam railway - the oldest working railway in the world. Read it in this Thursday's Northern Echo.