Newcastle and Carlisle Railway

A detailed description of the opening of the first section of the line from Blaydon to Hexham on 9th March 1835. It names individual people and two locomotives. Probably based on newspaper reports.


Hexham Station, 1836, from a painting by James Wilson Carmichael (1800-1868),  (i)


On the ninth day of March in the year thirty-five
The railway was crowded with people alive
From Blaydon to Hexham the engines did move
With all the subscribers united in love
In one hour and ten minutes on that noted day
They returned back on the Newcastle railway [Note 272.1]

The grand locomotives from Newcastle came
How quick is their speed, how great is their fame
The brilliant Comet she could not well lead [Note 272.2]
For Rapid came in with abundance o’ speed [Note 272.3]
The air it did ring with the cry of hurra
When they came to open the Carlisle railway.

The hills were all clad on the south side of Tyne
To view the procession along the new line
The drum they did beat and the colours did fly
To cheer the spectators as they passed by
The men will rejoice and the women will pray
For all that subscribe to Newcastle railway

The masons they are the first workmen in town
And some by hard labour can earn a full crown¹
The blacksmiths and joiners all work to their plan
I can scarcely tell you who is the best man
Let none of these workmen have reason to say
They cannot live by the Carlisle railway.

There is Squire Beaumont, for the sake of his heirs [Note 272.4]
It is well known that he owns fifty shares
Long may he live with his own darling son
So let us praise him for what he has done
He will hear the birds sing in the sweet month of May
When he travels along on Newcastle railway

There is Mr Blackmoor a worthy young man [Note 272.5]
To forward this line he will do all he can
In two or three years he will finish it well
And make a through passage into the canal [Note 272.6]
Long may he live and still carry the sway
And set out more work on Carlisle railway

When you see the steam coaches and all things complete
For four or five shillings you may take a seat [Note 272.7]
You may dine at Newcastle and then take your flight
And sup at Carlisle on the very same night
The new Expedition she will not delay
As long as she runs on Newcastle railway 

The cannons were planted upon the low ground
They made all the vallies to ring with their sound
The drums they did beat and the music did play
Before they went back to Newcastle that day
Both the young and the old may remember that day
When they drank success to the Carlisle railway

When you see the waggons move on at full speed
Well laden with liquor, provisions and lead [Note 272.8]
You may fill a glass with good rum or strong beer
And then drink a health to the head engineer
I hope he will live to see that happy day
When they have completed Newcastle railway


(i) produced for the publication, A Series of Views on the Newcastle & Carlisle Railway, Newcastle & London, 1836. Source: John Speller's Web Pages