The Ashington, Blyth and Tyne Railway (ABT), which runs presently from Benton Jn, near Newcastle, turning towards the coast through Segill, then hugging along the coast up towards Blyth, spans the River Blyth on the first ‘black bridge’, over into Bedlington. Here the line diverges, a single track line to Morpeth, and continues as double track towards Stakeford, then spans the River Wansbeck on the second ‘black bridge’, over into Ashington. From Ashington station the line turns again sharply toward the coast, with the line continuing its run up to Lynemouth Power Station and the former alumina smelter.
Since 1874, this line has been a ‘mainline’ operation, through the North Eastern Railway (NER), LNER, and later British Railways (BR), upto the present Network Rail and train operating companies; however, the ABT, again in my view, cannot be considered without the industrial systems running to, from and onto the network, often carrying coals. The Blyth and Tyne Railway itself emerged from a network of colliery railways in a successful attempt to block a public railway invading its territory.
In view of this, our Committee discussed and is still discussing the broadening our range, by donating to preservation of surviving locomotives, carriages and waggons which operated on and around the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne system. An example of this would be Backworth No. 49 and No. 38, both locomotives under overhaul at the Tanfield Railway, but many others survive on other heritage railways.
Our aims and objectives as an Association are included below:
The Aim of the Association is to:
A. Support the re-opening of sections of the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne (ABT) route for both passenger and freight use by working collaboratively with other organisations.
B. To preserve the heritage of the route through archive materials such as photographs, documents and publications, and to help preserve some of the structures on the ABT where feasible.
The objectives of the Association are to
C. To help further the work of other organisations supporting the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne route for passenger and freight use, and also to assist in driving forward schemes to re-open sections of railway to use.
D. To use the best possible means of communicating the history of the line to the general public, and make use of any resources available to preserve and display any heritage artefacts.
It might be required to slightly amend our constitution to make this aim and objective clearer, but thoughts and opinions as ever are always welcome. Our constitution is a ‘living document’, where changes are made gradually over time as needs require, so any changes can be made, and of course can also be reversed, but, also need to be carefully considered.
That’s my little bit of food of thought for today, yours, ABTRA Chairman.