Obtaining its first Act of Parliament in 1829 the Newcastle & Carlisle was one of the very first railways, the first public railway in Cumbria and the first cross-country route linking the Irish and North Seas. The scheme had it roots back in the canal era when several fruitless proposals had been put forward to link Carlisle with Newcastle from the 1790s onwards. Originally intended for the use of horse traction, steam locomotives were in use from the opening of the first section from Blaydon to Hexham in March 1835. The western end, from Carlisle to Blenkinsop, near Greenhead, was opened on 19th July 1836, with completion of the line throughout from 18th July 1838. An interesting feature or the N&CR was its adoption of right-hand running which lasted until merger with the North Eastern Railway in 1862.
The branch to Brampton long predated the Newcastle & Carlisle Railway having originally been part of the early waggonways which have become known as "Lord Carlisle's Railways", at one time providing a home for Stephenson's "Rocket" before it was preserved in the Science Museum. This network of lines had a complex history, and at one time extended right through to Lambley on the Alston Branch.
The Alston Branch was first mooted in 1841 to go as far as the lead mining centre of Nenthead but the last few miles were not included in the final scheme which was completed in stages during 1851/52. Steeply graded, and with many bridges and viaducts, the line handled quantities of lead, lime and coal. Closure proposals came from the late 1950s onwards, but the branch continued to link remote Alston with the outside world until 1st May 1976, the final rites only being permitted after the construction of a new road. The southern section of the branch has since been reopened as the narrow-gauge South Tynedale Railway.
|Hexham to Blaydon||9 March 1835||Open|
|Hexham to Haydon Bridge||28 June 1836||Open|
|Carlisle to Blenkinsopp Coll (Greenhead)||19 July 1836||Open|
|Blaydon to Redheugh (Newcastle)||1 March 1837||Open|
|Blenkinsopp Colliery to Haydon Bridge||18 June 1838||Open|
|Carlisle London Road||19 July 1836||1 January 1863|
|Scotby||19 July 1836||2 November 1959|
|Wetheral||19 July 1836||2 January 1967|
|reopened||5 October 1981||Open|
|Heads Nook||19 July 1836||2 January 1967|
|How Mill||19 July 1836||5 January 1959|
|Brampton Junction||19 July 1836||Open|
|Brampton Town||19 July 1836||29 October 1923|
|Naworth||19 July 1836||5 May 1952|
|Low Row||19 July 1836||5 January 1959|
|Gilsland||19 July 1836||2 January 1967|
|Greenhead||19 July 1836
||2 January 1967
|Haltwhistle||18 June 1838||Open|
|Featherstone Park||19 July 1851||3 May 1976|
|Coanwood||July 1851||3 May 1976|
|Lambley||17 November 1852||3 May 1976|
|Alston||17 November 1852||3 May 1976|
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