Beamish Open Air Museum

1128 Reviews

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Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

August, 2018

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Travelled with

On your own

Reasons for trip

The north east was the birthplace of railways with the building of a railway line between Stockton and Darlington. Railways had an enormous impact on the North-East, reducing journey times and stimulating economic and industrial growth. A network of lines was developed serving mines, towns and villages.

By the 1950s, County Durham had a dense network of lines and nearly every settlement of any size had a railway station. Nearly all the lines were closed in the 1960s in the aftermath of the Beeching report. Services were withdrawn and stations shut, with everything left in situ.

Rowley Station was the first relocated building to open at Beamish and the area around it has been developed as a typical railway scene from the early C20th, with station buildings and a station box. It is popular with visitors and a steam loco runs a short service along the line.

Rowley Station opened in the mid C19th providing passenger and goods traffic between Consett and Crook. Passenger services were withdrawn in 1939 with goods services ceasing in the late 1960s. The station building was dismantled when the line was lifted and reassembled at Beamish.

It is a typical North Eastern rural station. It was lit by oil, never having gas or electricity. 
It has an open waiting area with ticket office and large waiting room complete with earth closet and a large tiled map of the North eastern Railway.

The signal box at the end of the station comes from near Consett. It has a cast iron range for heating. There is a token machine for single line working as well as the lever frame and signal handles. These no longer work and points are operated by hand track side levers.

There are two wrought iron footbridges at either end of the station.

The station yard contains the goods shed and the coal yard. There is a small coal merchant’s office, which is typical of those found around the county. The Beamish Rural District Council Depot contains a 1931 steam roller.

There are a variety of wagons around the site.

When I visited, Bon Accord, an ex Aberdeen Gas Works loco built in 1897 was running a ten minute service along the line, with a royal saloon used by Edward VII and Queen Alexandra to take them to Sandringham.

This is one of a series of detailed “reviews”: I have written about Beamish.

There is a full review with all the pictures “here.”:


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