Brusselton Incline
Landmark Bishop Auckland County Durham

Brusselton Incline

Landmark In Bishop Auckland, County Durham

Remains of part of the original Stockton and Darlington Railway main line, built in 1825.

We recently discovered the Brusselton Incline on a trip to Shildon in County Durham, having never previously known about it. This hidden gem is surrounded by beautiful countryside and a bit of research led us to discover links with our old pal George Stephenson.

The Brusselton Incline opened in September 1825, and was created to help engines move uphill. Early steam locomotives lacked the traction necessary to conquer the steep inclines that stood between coal mines and the markets. A stationary steam engine housed in a towering engine house would haul wagons up the incline using a winding drum and rope. This ingenious system was designed by George Stephenson and allowed the transportation of coal, and later passengers, over previously insurmountable obstacles. You can still see the buildings at Brusselton which would have housed the engine that pulled the locomotives up the hill.

The original stationary steam engine used at Brusselton was built by the Stephenson family in 1825. It was a 60 horse power engine, consisting of two 30 horse power engines on a single axle, costing £2750. However, within months, the engineering supervisor at Stockton & Darlington Railway, Timothy Hackworth, deemed the Stephenson engine inadequate. By 1831, Hackworth had designed his own engine which was 80 horse power and could move 2120 tons of coal in a day.

The Brusselton Incline played a pivotal role in the success of the Stockton & Darlington Railway. It enabled the efficient movement of coal, and paved the way for the widespread adoption of steam locomotives. However, the incline's reign was short-lived, and it was abandoned when the line from Shildon Tunnel to West Auckland opened in 1856.

As well as the incline, there is an old Georgian bridge here, which has steps leading up to the top of it. The bridge was built so that the owner of the nearby farm could safely access his land north of the track by passing underneath the incline.

There are a couple of spaces for cars close to the incline, however, we chose to walk up from Shildon. This meant we could see sleeper stones further along a public footpath, giving us a good idea where the train line ran. There was also an incline built at nearby Etherley, however, we aren't sure if any of that remains. Please let us know if you have any further pics or info!

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How To Find Brusselton Incline

Where Is Brusselton Incline?

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54.62496, -1.673115

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Where To Park For Brusselton Incline?

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54.624636, 54.624636

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There are one or two spaces close to the incline.

Contributed by Sandra Clemens

I love the great outdoors and have been a National Trust & English Heritage member for years. I also love going off the beaten track and finding places like Sharp's Folly or Rothley Castle which are hidden gems in Northumberland. My favourite recent hike was climbing Red Screes in the Lake District on a whim, not fully grasping how high 776m was. It was still an achievement to conquer a Wainwright walk and I hope to do more one day.

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Sandra Clemens

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