Historic railway unearthed under Tyneside

A waggonway dating back to the 18th century has been unearthed in a Tyneside shipyard.

Waggonway is 'remarkably well preserved'

The waggonway was a timber track for horse-drawn carts transporting coal from Willington colliery in Wallsend to the banks of the River Tyne where the coal would be tipped into ships bound for London.

“The wooden waggonway uncovered by the excavation is the direct ancestor of the modern standard gauge railway.”

– Richard Carlton works for The Archaeological Practice

“This is one of the earliest excavated examples of a timber waggon way, and is remarkably well preserved.

“It predates the locomotive and would have been used to transport coal wagons from Willington colliery to staithes on the banks of the Tyne.

“The last time something like this was found was in 1997 when the Lambton waggon way was found at Houghton-le-Spring - so it's very special.”

– Ian Ayris, Newcastle City Council's Conservation and Urban Design Manager

Historic railway unearthed in Newcastle

A waggonway dating back to the 18th century has been unearthed in a Tyneside shipyard. The 25 meter site dates back to 1780 and was found beneath the Neptune Yard in Walker, Newcastle.

The Willington waggonway, which was discovered during excavations, was built before George Stephenson's locomotive had been invented.

Willington waggonway Credit: Newcastle City Council

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