South Tyne Railway line
The Lead mining districts of Alston and Allendale were centres of attraction for the railway pioneers of
the 18409's. In November 1845 two rival schemes were placed before Parliament. The 1st was tge Wear Valley
extension line from Frosterley in County Durham via Stanhope, Alston,Kirkhaugh and Lambley to the Newcastle
& Carlisle Railway line at Milton. There was to be an Allendale branch from the Wear Valley at Forest Quarter
via Allenheads to Allendale town smelt mills. Both these lines needed to cross the difficult Tyne/Wear
The 2nd plan came from the N&CR and comprised an Alston branch from Haltwhistle via Lambley. This proposal
was successful on 26th August 1846.
The 4 1/2 mile section from Haltwhistle to Shafthill was opened for passengers on 19th July, 1851.
The 8 3/4 mile section from Lambley to Alston was opened for goods on 5th January 1852 together with a one mile
connecting link with the Hartleyburn and Brampton railway at Haltonlee Gate.
The Lambley Viaduct was finally completed and the whole branch
line was then open on 17th November 1852.
The line was also authorised to extend from Alston to Nenthead but this was never progressed. Basically the Tyne
/ Wear watershed was never breached.
Even in 1911 the Alston branch had only 4 trains each way on monday to friday. Saturday had 5 trains. Nothing on
a sunday. It took 35 minutes to complete the 13 miles with stops at
If you compare this to 1971 when BR ran 8 times each way on week days and none on Sundays with a total journey
time of 34 minutes. This in 60 years and with diesel traction the increase was just 1 minute.
Even before the Beeching Plan of 1963 the branch was making a loss and closure was only prevented because there
were no alternatives for winter transport. On 15th November 1968 £62m of grant aid was announced for 135 routes of
which South Tyne was one.
In 1969 the line was allocated £52000 for one year and this was the largely repeated in future years.
A map to show the South Tyne line
Here is an early picture of Featherstone Park Station
These pictures show Coanwood and Lambley stations in the early part of the 20th century.