The Tyne Valley Line
Carlisle to Newcastle upon Tyne
The Newcastle & Carlisle dates right back to 1825, one of the earliest railway schemes in Britain. It opened in stages from 1834 initially to carry minerals. The railway roughly follows the course of Hadrian's Wall, marking the northernmost border of the Roman Empire in 122 AD. The railway has become an important link between the East and West Coast main lines.
We travel in the cab of a Northern Rail Class 142 Pacer, filmed in the summer of 2017 in its last few years of operation on Network Rail. Our train is on a semi-fast service, running non-stop through the area's wayside stations and calling at Haltwhistle and Hexham, both stations of which retain classic elevated signal boxes that have become iconic features of the line. Much of the route is still signalled with semaphores and we see inside a couple of the boxes. As one would expect, from such an early railway designed to be horse-drawn, there is a lot of fascinating history in the narration.