Cobble Dene Waggonway


Albert Edward Dock (formerly Coble Dene Dock)
The building of Coble dene dock (later to became Albert Edward Dock) began in 1873, but because of financial difficulties, work was suspended in 1876. The loss of employment for the workmen caused great problems and suffering for them and their families. An Act of Parliament in 1877 supported the completion of the works. Five million tonnes of materials were excavated, most of it removed by dredgers and dumped at sea. The Prince and Priness of Wales opened the dock in 1884, when it was officially named Albert Edward Dock.

The purpose of the Dock was to provide a valuable import and export facility. For example millions of pit props were imported from Scandinavia, unloaded and stored in a wood yard that is now part of the Royal Quays estate. The pit props helped support roofs of the coal seams as the miners dug out the coal.

Coal was moved from the pits to the river and the docks along waggonways or railways. A number of staiths were sited between Albert Edward and Northumberland docks. Staiths were elevated stages for discharging coal from wagons into ships. Coal arrived here from pits in Northumberland along the Seaton Burn Waggonway, the Backworth Waggonway, the Cramlington Waggonway and the Blyth and Tyne Railway for export to all parts of the world.

In 1928, the deep water Tyne Commission Quay was constructed, improving ship and cargo handling facilities, complementing a direct rail link to Newcastle.