Although the Brampton Railway or Lord Carlisle's Railway probably had its origins in wooden wagonways at Tindale Fell Colliery in about 1776 the main line westwards wasn’t built until 1798 with the first wagon of coal being horse-hauled to Brampton in April 1799. No Act of Parliament was obtained as the vast majority of the system was built by Lord Carlisle on his own land. By 1808 it had been relaid with cast iron and wrought iron rails, it being the first application of the latter in a day-to-day commercial way.
As early as 1775 a line was constructed by the Earl of Carlisle between Brampton Coal Staithe and Tindale Fell. In 1836 a horse worked passenger service was introduced when the track was realigned to meet up with the Newcastle & Carlisle Railway (N&CR) at Brampton Junction. The passenger service ceased in 1881 but in 1913 the NER took over the branch, relayed the track and introduced a steam worked passenger service. The NER suspended passenger trains between 1917 and 1920 and the LNER withdrew the service for good in 1923. Complete closure came at the end of 1923 and the following year the track was lifted. These lines have been called at different periods the Tindale Fell Railway, the Midgeholme Railway, the Hartleyburn and Brampton Railway and simply the Brampton Railway. It also became one of the first non-Stephenson railways to convert and adopt the standard gauge of 4’8˝" and in 1836 the ‘new railway’ opened officially under steam traction with the Rocket in use from the following year. In 1947 the mines and railway came under the control of the NCB but six years later, after being in use for 155 years, mining ceased and the railway closed.
The Brampton Railway began at Brampton Town (NY538611) and climbed steeply for half a mile then rising slightly for three quarters of a mile to Brampton Junction (NY550600) this being the only section to have a regular passenger service. The original alignment was due east from Brampton Coal Staith to Tindale Fell but it was realigned via Brampton Junction when the Newcastle & Carlisle line opened in 1836. From Brampton Junction (NY550600) it headed east and after a mile ascended by an inclined plane from Kirkhouse (NY566598) to Planehead with gradients varying from 1 in 22 to 1 in 17˝. A wire rope ran the length of the plane supported by rollers, and passed round a drum at the top, so that full wagons attached at the top drew up empties from the lower level. A level crossing carried the line over the B6292 at Hallbankgate (now A689) and the branch (NY587595) to Blacksyke, Gairs and Howgill then diverged to the south. The main line continued east and at Tindale (NY617593), where there were smelting works and collieries, it turned SE for one mile to Midgeholme (NY642588). Just west of Midgeholme the line ran for about a mile along a high embankment made in 1824 with a small mountain stream running down the valley which divided Cumberland and Northumberland. The line then skirted the northern escarpment of Hartleyburn Common with another level crossing (NY655584) taking it over the A689 at Haltonleagate. The line ended there until the extension opened in 1849 to Lambley West and the connection to the Alston line at Lambley (NY674581) in 1852.
Two excellent books on the Brampton Railway are Brampton Railway - J.N.Charters and also Lord Carlisle's Railway - Brian Webb and D.A. Gordon
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