Station Name: ANNITSFORD (2nd site)

[Source: Alan Young]


Date opened: 8.7.1878
Location:

South of Weetslade Road railway bridge; main building was on Station Road

Company on opening: North Eastern Railway
Date closed to passengers: 15.9.1958
Date closed completely: 11.11.1963
Company on closing: British Railways (North Eastern Region)
Present state: Demolished
County: Northumberland
OS Grid Ref: NZ258736
Date of visit: 1963 & 1977

Notes: ‘The second Annitsford station was 16 chains (352yd) south of the station that it replaced. It was more conveniently sited than its predecessor to serve the village of Dudley where the colliery workers lived. The station took its name of Annitsford from a hamlet almost a mile to the east to avoid confusion with Dudley (Worcestershire) and Dudley Hill (West Riding of Yorkshire). It is noteworthy that the NER was prepared to avoid confusion not only between stations on its own network but with stations operated by other companies.

The new station acquired a building designed during the very short period (1876-77) when William Peachey was NER Architect. Peachey had designed various stations in the Darlington area (such as Etherley and Marske) before his promotion, and Annitsford is the only one outside that area which appears to be entirely his own work.  Despite being unmistakeably Gothic in inspiration, in other respects it was unlike the other Newcastle – Berwick stations both in its design and the materials of its construction – it was in brick rather than sandstone - and Fawcett (2011) remarks that it bore all the hallmarks of Peachey’s style. He describes it as a neat, stern-looking H-plan building, presenting one storey at platform level but with another floor below.  The pair of tall, assertive gables had two-light windows divided by a colonnette, rather than a mullion, and they gained their severe, heavy appearance from the large expanse of brick, latterly blackened by soot, above the windows. Between the gables was a verandah with a sloping roof and a glazed timber front. This main building was on the up (east) platform and small waiting shed was provided on the down side.

The North Eastern Railway Time Table dated 1 October 1912 shows a much more frequent service than at the first Annitsford station (then called Dudley) in 1863, although at irregular intervals.

Up trains: weekdays

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

7.25am

Newcastle

6.39am

Morpeth

8.18am

Newcastle

8.24am

Beal

9.17am

Newcastle

10.50am

Alnwick

11.11am (Sat only)

Newcastle

1.00pm

Morpeth

11.46am

Newcastle

1.53pm

Alnwick

2.05pm

Newcastle

2.49pm

Morpeth

3.30pm (Sat only)

Newcastle

4.38pm

Morpeth

4.01pm

Newcastle

6.54pm

Alnwick

6.05pm

Newcastle

8.58pm

Alnwick

8.02pm

Newcastle

9.43pm (Sat only)

Longhirst

10.09pm

Newcastle

11.41pm (Tue, Thu, Sat only)

Morpeth

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

8.44am

Newcastle

6.35am

Berwick

8.35pm

Newcastle

8.23am

Berwick

 

 

2.56pm

Morpeth

 

7.00pm

Berwick

Shortly before World War I NER statistics indicate that a population of 6,719 was served by Annitsford station, and that 41,932 tickets were booked (1911 data). In 1913 bricks and livestock were the principal goods traffic.

In 1923, when the ‘Grouping’ of railway companies took place, Annitsford was transferred from NER to London & North Eastern Railway administration. The LNER’s major contribution to the station’s appearance was the installation of standard wooden running-in nameboards with relief metal lettering.

In June 1943 Bradshaw shows the following departures from Annitsford:


Up trains: weekdays

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

7.24am

Newcastle

7.09am

Berwick

8.35am

Newcastle

8.51am [B]

Alnwick

11.15am

Newcastle

1.36pm [B]

Alnwick

5.20pm [B]

Manors North

2.55pm [B]

Morpeth

 

 

5.20pm (SO) 5.25pm (SX)

Alnwick

 

 

9.51pm [B]

Alnwick

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

8.45am

Newcastle

7.55am

Berwick

7.47pm

Newcastle

6.51pm

Berwick

In the above table, trains noted [B] travel via Benton.

The first two morning departures would have been suitable for Annitsford passengers who worked in Newcastle but there was only one convenient return train in the evening ‘rush hour’. From 1 January 1948 Annitsford was operated by British Railways’ North Eastern Region, who repainted the nameboards in the striking tangerine livery, but in other respects left the station unchanged.

In 1951 only 2,635 passengers were booked at Annitsford, a huge decline since 1911. As was the case elsewhere, the advent of motorised road transport explains the reduction in bookings. In peace time the LNER, and then BR, provided a similar frequency of calls at Annitsford as shown for 1943. However the timetable of summer 1952 introduced a marked reduction in the train frequency at this and the other minor stations on the ECML in Northumberland. At Annitsford there were southbound weekday departures to Newcastle at 8.33am, 11.04am (Saturday only) and 5.32pm, and one departure at 6.28pm on Sunday. Northbound trains called at 7.39am (to Berwick), 12.59pm (Saturday only, to Alnwick), 5.23pm and 1021pm (both to Alnwick), and on Sunday a Berwick train called at 7.41pm.

From June 1956 trains ceased to call at Annitsford on Sunday. In its final summer of 1958 the weekday train service frequency was unchanged from summer 1952. On 15 September 1958 Annitsford was one of ten East Coast main line stations in Northumberland to close to passengers. In the winter 1958-59 timetable Annitsford disappeared. For some years the North Eastern Region timetables had acknowledged the closure of stations and advised disconsolate passengers of the bus companies whose services could be used; but the many closures went unrecorded in the winter 1958-59 book, and the next few editions continued this unfortunate practice. The regional map folded into the timetable had presumably had been printed earlier and still showed Forest Hall, Killingworth and Annistsford, but with the other stations that closed at the same time erased. Perhaps the closure of these three was confirmed later than their neighbours.

Goods traffic was dealt with at Annitsford until 11 November 1963. The station was demolished by the late 1960s.

Passenger loops north of Dudley Colliery signal box are indicated on the 1934 diagram of the line. These were taken out of use in December 1968. The signal box long outlived the station, closing in 1980.

Sadly, Annitsford station seems to have attracted little interest among photographers, especially when compared with its neighbours Killingworth and Forest Hall; however these stations were sited at level crossings, with conveniently placed footbridges providing easy vantage points for photographers.

Click here for a brief history of the East Coast Main Line
in Northumberland.

Route maps drawn by Alan Young. Tickets from Michael Stewart.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

  • Addyman, John F (Editor) A history of the Newcastle & Berwick Railway (North Eastern Railway Association, 2011) – especially Chapter 5 ‘The buildings’ by Bill Fawcett
  • Biddle, Gordon Victorian stations (David & Charles, 1973)
  • Biddle, Gordon Britain’s historic railway buildings (Oxford University Press, 2003)
  • Fawcett, Bill A history of North Eastern Railway architecture Vol 1: The Pioneers (North Eastern Railway Association 2001)
  • Young, Alan Railways in Northumberland (Martin Bairstow, 2003)
  • Young, Alan Lost stations of Northumberland & Durham (Silver Link 2011)

See other ECML stations:Tweedmouth, Scremerston, Goswick, Beal, Smeafield, Crag Mill, Belford, Lucker,
Newham, Fallodon,
Little Mill,
Christon Bank, Longhoughton, Lesbury, Warkworth, Longhirst, Ashington Colliery Junction,
Morpeth, Stannington, Plessey, Annitsford (1st), Killingworth, Forest Hall, Heaton (2nd), Heaton (1st), Durham, Croft Spa, Eryholme, Otterington, Alne & Tollerton


The up (east) platform of Annitsford station looking north-east from the up platform c1906. The North Eastern Railway’s favoured twin pavilion style of building with an enclosed verandah clasped between the wings is seen here, but the gables are unusually tall. This was the only station building in Northumberland thought to have bene designed by William Peachey (Chief NER architect 1876-77).
Photo from John Mann collection


1858 1: 2,500 OS map. Dudley Colliery has recently opened (1856) but a station has yet to be provided: it would open in April 1860 on a site between the road underbridge and the railway line into the colliery. The first Annitsford (originally Dudley Colliery) station seems not to have been shown on any large scale OS map.


1897 1: 2,500 OS map. The original station is not named, but the buildings either side of the East Coast main line -  immediately south of the minor road crossing, and close to the point where the colliery branch lines lead south-eastwards - were presumably the station. The signal box is on the down side, immediately north of this crossing. The second station can be seen with the principal building on the east (up) platform and a waiting shed on the west platform. The colliery pit-heap can be seen north-east of the road bridge. The village of Dudley Colliery has expanded during the previous forty years

1962 1: 2,500 OS map. The station has now closed to passengers and is no longer named on the map, but will remain open for goods traffic until November 1963. Ironically, small housing estates built since 1920 have considerably increased the population of Dudley Colliery village, but the train service was much less frequent than buses, and the station closed in 1958.


In September 1957 D20/1 62396 draws a southbound passenger train into Annitsford station. The LNER running-in nameboard has been repainted in BR(NE) tangerine and is accompanied by an NER casement gas lamp. In the background the pithead gear and spoil heap - locally called a ‘pit-heap’ - of Dudley Colliery are prominent; Dudley Colliery signal box is far left, close to the site of the first Annitsford station, which opened as ‘Dudley Colliery’. The 4-4-0 locomotive is a Worsdell design built by the NER at its Gateshead works in September 1907. It originally carried the number 1665. It was withdrawn from 52D, Tweedmouth shed, in December 1957 and cut up at British Railways’ Darlington works, North Road, in the same month.
Photo by Les Turnbull

In 1958, the year of the station’s closure to passengers, the main building on the up platform at Annitsford is photographed from the down platform, looking south-east. The North Eastern Railway’s favoured twin pavilion style of building with an enclosed verandah clasped between the wings is seen here, but the gables are unusually tall. This was the only station building in Northumberland thought to be designed by William Peachey (Chief NER architect 1876-77). The presence of a figure on the coiled serpent bench (another NER feature) suggests that the photograph was taken before the station closed to passengers in September 1958.
Copyright photo from Stations UK


Dudley Colliery signal box stood north of Annitsford 2nd station and was formerly called Annitsford Colliery Junction. The N1 style NER structure was erected in the early 1870s, and this view dates from between 1962 and 1980. Changes in the brickwork indicate an extension to the northern end of the structure in 1920 and a further single-storey addition in 1962. The first extension was made to accommodate a larger lever frame when additional up and down line capacity was installed by the NER between Annitsford and Dam Dykes, to the north. The box was decommissioned in January 1980.
Photo by BR(NE) from Chris Woolstenholmes collection


Weestlade Road bridge, looking south in July 1987. The second station, long demolished, was on the far right side of the photograph. The pit heap of Dudley Colliery (now Weetslade Country Park) can be seen in the background, to the right.
Photo by John Mann


The embankment on which Annitsford second station was located is seen on the right. This view from August 2005 is looking south along Station Road, close to the site of the station’s main building.
Photo by Steven Hedley from his Flickr photostream


A recent aerial view of the site of Annitsford second station. The station - of which there is no visible evidence today - was on the embankment in the centre of the picture. Station Road is immediately to the right (east) of the railway, and the station building was located on this road at the near end of the grove of trees.


 

 

 

[Source: Alan Young]




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