The Rising Sun Colliery opened in 1908. Employing 1,800 men, it became one of the largest deep mines in Europe, with 60 miles of underground tunnels stretching as far as the River Tyne. At first coal was transported to the surface by pit ponies pulling trucks. Rising Sun Colliery used about 80 pit ponies. Housed in, underground stables, they rarely came above ground. The site of the colliery now forms part of the Rising Sun Country Park.
The Rising Sun Colliery Branch Line, completed in 1942, linked the Rising Sun Colliery to the Cramlington Waggonway and simplified the running of the coal from the colliery to the coal staiths on the River Tyne. This stretch is known locally as the Black Path because of the build up of coal dust that spilled from the waggons on their journey to the staith.