The success of the Stockton to Darlington Railway (1825) led to proposals for a rail link between North Shields and Newcastle. Twice a Bill was placed before Parliament and turned down. There was considerable opposition to the railway and a modified proposal was accepted in June 1836. The line opened in 1839 from Carliol Square in Newcastle via Ouseburn Viaduct, Heaton, Wallsend, Willington Viaduct and Percy Main to North Shields. [Ref: http://suscram.weebly.com/newcastle-and-north-shields-railway.html].
1834 Plan Newcastle to North Shields Railway etched by W Collard
W. Collard (engraver) - Observations on the proposed railway from Newcastle to North Shields 1834 Tracts vol 57 p298
Notes on the Songs
Both songs lament the impact of the new railway on the river traffic including the steamboats. Both songs were written by men who had a financial stake in the matter.
Bar273 ~ New song on the opening of the Newcastle and Shields Railway was printed under the name of ‘Ben Mainmast, Pilot, South Shields’; and Bar564~A new local song on the opening of the Newcastle & North Shields Railway was written by Robert Gilcrist, a sail maker.