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.”
“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.”
More top news
Research has revealed that Sunderland is ranked the fourth best place to be a sports fan in the UK, and the best in the North East.
Do you know someone who should represent ITV Tyne Tees at the Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards in London?
NFU Mutual has found the cost of rural crime in our region rose by a fifth last year, despite a decrease nationally.