Steam event celebrates 175th anniversary of Newcastle to North Shields line

Steam event celebrates 175th anniversary of Newcastle to North Shields line

For the past 175 years a stretch of railway between Newcastle and North Shields has been used by millions of commuters to travel through the region.

Since being built in 1839, the route has gone through a number of transformations to allow passengers to travel from the city centre of Newcastle out to the coast. To this day the route is still used by the Metro service on the same track between Chillingham Road in Heaton, Newcastle, and North Shields.

Sunday (June 1st) marked the route's 175th anniversary. To celebrate, rail enthusiasts from across the region were given an extra special treat. Near to Percy Main Metro station visitors were able to jump on a newly restored Kitson No.5 steam train and travel to Stephenson Railway Museum at Middle Engine Lane in North Tyneside. They then retraced the steps of the very first journey on the iconic route.

Geoff Woodward, manager of Stephenson Railway Museum, told The Journal: "We're very pleased to be working with Nexus [operator of the Metro system] and Tyne & Wear Metro for this very significant occasion. To travel by steam train is a wonderful experience. The sounds and smells are like no other and on this anniversary it will be particularly exciting."

In its day, the Newcastle to North Shields route was deemed the world's first commuter line. It was constructed to allow people living in the growing suburbs to make their way into the city centre for work every day. While the days of steam trains patrolling this route are long gone, the routes are still firmly ingrained into the modern day Metro service which serves the entire Tyne & Wear region.

Alongside the train journey itself there were actors dressed as George Stephenson, inventor Humphry Davy was in attendance and a brass band performed at North Shields Metro station, the original terminus for the service.