ABTRA Projects – July 2017

Whilst we are focussed at the moment predominantly upon our Butterwell Branch projects, we have a number of other projects which are waiting their turn in the queue. 

Amongst our plans to date are:

1. Sir Daniel Gooch – Born in Bedlington on 24th August 1816, Sir Daniel had many interesting achievements during his lifetime, but he played an important part in the early days of railways; especially in the early days of the Great Western Railway working closely with Isambard Kingdom Brunel. To celebrate his 200th birthday the Gooch200 website was set up by our Chairman prior to the foundation of ABTRA, but, with the close links between Gooch and the Longridges (of Bedlington Ironworks and Loco Makers), it’s in the process of being brought into the ABTRA fold. One idea mooted by the Committee has been the creation of a micro museum in Bedlington dedicated to Sir Daniel, please keep an eye on our sister blog Sir Daniel Gooch blog where up to date information on progress will be posted.

2. The history of the Blyth and Tyne Railway – While the Butterwell Branch ties in neatly with the later industrial railway history of the area, having once been a part of the Ashington Coal Company (ACC) network, the overall history in the area is much broader. From the very early waggonways in Bedlington started by Beaumont in the 1600’s, through to the Blyth and Tyne Railway company, NER, LNER and British Railways, alongside a multitude of Colliery systems eventually becoming part of the NCB and others, there is a huge history which we hope to accurately record for posterity. This history has been excellently researched by a number of hisorians, and we wish to provide a permanent home for this history, again our Committee has considered the idea of a micro museum located somewhere near to the system to educate visitors about this fascinating history. 

This network includes to name but a few: the Ashington system, the networks around Choppington and Bedlington, the rail network surrounding both sides of the River Blyth, the Backworth system and the networks stretching southward to the River Tyne. Our wish is to tell the story of these railways, how they developed, what survives in terms of photographs, film footage and preserved artefacts (inc. locos etc.). 

3. Former locomotives and rolling stock – a number of locos and items of rolling stock from the area survive in preservation, some in working condition, others not. One hope of the Committee is to contribute something to their continued survival, and indeed if possible bring them into working condition. This is something we are actively working upon and hope to have some news soon.

4. Bedlington Railway Station – the idea which initially led to the formation of ABTRA itself, is a project which is currently in the background due to its complexity of being on a working railway, however, the group will continue to monitor the condition of the station into the future and it may prove possible to undertake some work to ensure its continued survival.

All progress on these projects will be posted here, and as ever if you’d like to contribute please feel welcome to send us any donations or in future if we have working parties on a project you’d be welcome to join us!

Thanks, RH.

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