Film ID:
NEFA 21911



Visitor Tabs


This short amateur film by Stephen Gray documents a trip to Tanfield Railway (the world's oldest railway and a former colliery waggonway). This standard gauge heritage railway opened up to passengers in 1982. The line runs from a southern terminus at East Tanfield, Durham, to Sunniside, Gateshead, with the main station at Andrews House, near Marley Hill engine shed.

Title: Tanfield Railway

The film opens with a general view of one of the restored operational steam locomotives at Tanfield Railway's northern terminus at Sunniside, Gateshead. A volunteer railway worker stands beside the engine on the track. Preservation staff are examining a steam locomotive in a Marley Hill engine shed. A guard waves on a green locomotive engine travelling slowly down track.

A man checks a steam engine. Close-up of the name plaque "Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns Ltd Works No.7796 Newcastle Works 1954". A young man is in the steam locomotive cab, feeding the fire, his face smudged with coal. 

An engine driver looks out from the cab as he drives the locomotive away. General view of the locomotive pulling two carriages along the track, the engine belching steam and smoke from its stack. General view as the train travels up the track, two passengers watching from the small, outdoor platform at the back of a carriage.

Inside the train, a man and woman move through the carriage towards the front.

A locomotive engine moves froward on tracks, then shunts off onto another track.

General view of steam billowing from a locomotive engine as it travels down a railway track, the embankments full of flowers.

Passengers are seated on the wooden benches inside a steam train carriage.

Travelling shot from the back of a steam train as it travels through the countryside towards East Tanfield.

An engine sits at another site, probably the Marley Hill works (a former colliery). General view of a water tank (?) beside the tracks at the engine shed. People stare through a wrought iron and stained glass doorway.

Two men are working on the preservation or maintenance of a National Coal Board (NCB) train. A different industrial steam locomotive engine is also standing at the depot.

[Note: The engine Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns No.7796 of 1954 Central Electricity Generating Board No 21 worked at the newly built Stella South Power Station in Blaydon, on the site of the Blaydon Races, from 1954 until 1970 when she was replaced by diesel locomotives. Arrived at Marley Hill in 1973.

The Tanfield Railway was originally built to transport coal from the collieries of County Durham, to the staithes on the River Tyne, for onward transport in colliers (bulk coal carrying ships). The oldest part of the original Tanfield Railway, located to the north east of the present heritage line, in the Lobley Hill area, dated from 1647, and was in continuous use until final closure in 1964.]