Great Tosson : Railway Schemes
One event which might have spurred population growth and an increase in the built-up area of the village was the formation of Northumberland Central Railway. This was one of a number of schemes promoted in the mid-late 19th century for a railway line through central Northumberland, to enable the North British Railway (NBR) to gain direct access to the lucrative markets of industrial Tyneside.
The line was projected to run between a junction with NBR’s Wansbeck Railway at Scots Gap, via Rothbury, Tosson, Alnham, Glanton, Wooler and Millfield culminating in a junction with the North Eastern Railway’s Tweedmouth - Kelso branch at Cornhill.
The proposed route, surveyed in 1862, involved the establishment of an intermediate station for Tosson (NRO QRU p108; Jenkins 1991, 21). Had the railway come to fruition in its entirety, Tosson station would have become the transport node for the surrounding estates and it was anticipated the line would greatly benefit Tosson woollen mill (Mackichan 1998, 132).
In the final event, however, only the section between Rothbury and Scots Gap was constructed (Warn 1975, 29-31; Jenkins 1991, 9-26; Sewell 1992, 82-5; Mackichan 1998, 39ff). A later scheme, the Central Northumberland Railway, promoted in 1881, which was also projected to run from Rothbury to Wooler via Tosson, Alnham, Glanton etc. (QRU p152), similarly came to nothing (Warn 1975, 41, 43; Jenkins 1991, 45-6; Mackichan 1998, 129-54).
The Star Inn at Netherton is said to have been built, as the Star Hotel, in anticipation of the eventual arrival of this particular line (Mackichan 1998, 133). The passenger service on the Northumberland Central line ceased on the 15th September 1952, and the line closed in its entirety when the freight service was withdrawn in November 1963, and with it went the only railhead in Upper Coquetdale.