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Newcastle Castle Keep is a great vantage point for trains heading north to Morpeth and Edinburgh, and for trains running over the High Level Bridge to and from Sunderland. The Keep itself dates back to around 1080 and was constructed by the Normans. Over the years it became run down and was at time used as a prison and also shops. George Stevenson partly demolished the Castle in order to get the lines through to the north and to the High Level Bridge.
Railway type and traffic
Trains to see include National Express services to and from Scotland, Cross Country services, Northern Rail services to Morpeth and Chathill (and empty carriage movements to Heaton), all northbound freight, empty carriage workings for Grand Central trains and also National Express trains which terminate in Newcastle (both to Heaton), and occasionally a First Transpennine Express empty move to Heaton. The Network Rail NMT "Flying Banana" also regularly visits the Newcastle area, and is sometimes stabled at Heaton.
The Keep can be an exposed place, and windy, cold conditions are common even in summer. The sun will be from the west later in the day and may impede photography of the station.
However there are quite a lot of stairs, and strong footwear is advisable. There is also a charge for entry, but this the view is well worth the small cost. The Tyne Bridge and Sage Gateshead can also be seen, so it is not all trains!
The Castle Keep is situated just before the High Level Bridge on the Newcastle side.
By car from the south, take the Tyne Bridge (A167 [M]) and take the first exit right after the bridge before the underpass (stay in the left hand lane throughout). Turn left onto A168 Mosley Street and follow the road straight ahead, which them bends to the left. The Keep is directly ahead.
From the North by car, take the A167, and take the exit after the New Bridge Street roundabout. Keep in the left hand lane. Take the 3rd exit on the Pilgrim Street/Swan House roundabout onto Mosley Street and continue as above. From the west, take the A168 Westgate road and continue down as far as St. Nicholas' Cathedral, turn tight from Collingwood Street and the Keep is ahead on the left.Click here to set up your location for directions to this location Newcastle, Castle Keep map co-ordinates
Go under the railway bridge and parking can be found around the corner. The entrance is up a flight of stairs on the south side of the Keep.
By train and Metro.
Turn right from Central Station and keep right. On your right hand side after 100-200m and past a pedestrian crossing should be a line of railway arches. Continue straight along the road, keeping the arches to your right. At the end of the road there is the railway bridge and the Keep will be around the corner to the right. There are many bus services which stop at Central Station, including Stagecoach no. 22, the 106 and Quaylink buses. Many Go Ahead and Arriva buses also stop here.Click here to set up your location for directions to this location
Immediately outside the Keep is a decent pub, the Bridge Hotel, which serves a selection of local and national real ales. There are plenty of bakers and coffee shops near Central Station, and shops within the station itself. The Station Hotel, Thistle Hotel and Vermont are also very close by. The Keep can also be a stop off point on a tour of the city and Quayside area.
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Newcastle, Castle Keep
Newcastle, Castle Keep general view map
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Newcastle, Castle Keep
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The Keep has great views over the east end of the station, and is ideal for photography.
Visible from the Keep is the only eastern bay platform (1), and the eastern ends of platform 2,3,4,5,6 and 7. The freight avoiding line can also be seen. To the east, the three lines north can be easily seen, as can Manors station.
Tripods can be set up and there is usually a good bit of room on the top.
General views - All photographs © Shaun Morton unless otherwise stated
Fig 1 - Looking east
Fig 2 - Looking south
Fig 3 - Looking west
Towards Manors Station.
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