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Google Earth Plug-in: Causey Arch - the oldest railroad bridge in the world

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The Causey Arch is a bridge near Stanley in County Durham. It is the world’s oldest surviving railway bridge.

It was built in 1725-26 by architect Ralph Wood, funded by a conglomeration of coal-owners known as the "Grand Allies" (founded by Colonel Liddell and the Hon. Charles Montague). Two tracks crossed the Arch — one to take coal to the River Tyne, and the other for the returning empty wagons. Over nine hundred horse-drawn wagons crossed the arch each day using the Tanfield Railway.

Wood was haunted by the collapse of his earlier timber bridge. Fearing that the Arch would collapse, he committed suicide by jumping from the top of it.

Use of the Arch declined when Tanfield Colliery was destroyed by fire in 1739.

The Arch was restored and reinforced in the 1980s. There are a series of scenic public paths around the area and the Causey Burn which runs underneath it. The cliffs near the bridge are a popular spot for local rock climbers.

Causey Burn itself flows into Beamish Burn which then flows into the River Team eventually discharging into the River Tyne

http://www.dmm.org.uk/archives/a_caus01.htm

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