The Stainmore Railway

On 3rd May Mike Thompson gave a presentation on the Stainmore Line and the work of the Stainmore Railway Company at Kirkby Stephen. The line was built in the 1850’s under the infamous railway engineer, Thomas Bouch, and it is now 60 years since its final closure. It was built to convey iron ore and coke between Teesside and the Cumbria coast at Barrow in Furness and Workington. The route ran westward from Bishop Auckland, through Barnard Castle, over Stainmore Summit to Kirkby Stephen where it split. A southern line ran to Tebay where it joined the West Coast mainline before branching off at Hincaster Junction on a spur to Arnside to join the Furness line, and another ran to Penrith via Appleby eventually joining the Keswick line through to Workington. A spur was also built to Middleton in Teesdale. Traffic was mainly freight but a number of branch passenger services operated for local residents as well as summer excursion trains between the North East and Blackpool. The journey could be challenging, particularly in Winter as it crossed some very exposed countryside and of course, crossed the imposing Belah Viaduct amongst maintain others. Mike also talked about the work at Kirkby Stephen East where an impressive restoration project has been taking place and continues.

John Owen

8th may 2023