Station Name: BISHOP AUCKLAND (Durham Platforms)

[Source: Nick Catford & Roy Lambeth]

Date opened: December 1857
Location: On the west side of Newgate Street
Company on opening: North Eastern Railway
Date closed to passengers: 6.6.1986
Date closed completely: 6.6.1986
Company on closing: British Rail (North Eastern Region)
Present state: Demolished - the goodsyard is now a Morrisons and car park. The site of the Durham platform is now a Halfords, a Barclays Bank and part of Morrisons car park.
County: Durham
OS Grid Ref: NZ209292
Date of visit: April 1984 and 7.10.2005

Notes: The original terminus of the Stockton & Darlington Railway opened at a temporary terminus at South Church on 19.4.1842. Initially trains were steam hauled but the following day this was changed to horse power but as horses were unable to judge their footing in a dark tunnel at Shildon this was once again changed to steam power. Until the opening of the Bishop Auckland Branch to Durham and Leamside a road coach service was run from South Church to Rainton Meadows for through travelers. On 30th January 1843 the line was extended to a permanent Bishop Auckland station.

The North Eastern Railway opened a temporary terminus in Tenter Street on 1.4.1857. The Stockton & Darlington and North Eastern stations were replaced by a joint station about December 1857. The station was rebuilt on 2.12.1867 and rebuilt in its final triangular form in 1905. The original station was closed on 6.6.1986 with a new short single platform being built on the site of the Crook platform on the southern side of the triangular station serving trains from Darlington.

The first railway to Bishop Auckland opened in 1843 as an extension of The Stockton & Darlington Railway from South Church to The Wear Valley and the town eventually developed into an important interchange point with lines radiating to all parts of the railway network including Darlington, Crook (until 1939 this was a through route to Swalwell on Tyneside via Tow Law, Consett Steel Works [Derwent Iron Co], Shotley Bridge and the Derwent Valley) & Weardale, Spennymoor, Barnard Castle and Durham. The station was unusual in shape being triangular, it was no problem if a locomotive needed turning.

The line between Bishop Auckland and Durham opened to freight 19.8.1856 and to passengers on 1.4.1857 with three intermediate stations at Hunwick, Willington and Brancepeth. A forth station serving Brandon Colliery was added on 1861. To the North the branch joined the ECML at Rellymill Junction South of Durham where a line also trailed in from the left from the Lanchester Valley and Consett. Deerness Valley Junction sited just south of Rellymill Junction on the Bishop Auckland line was a three way junction with the Waterhouses branch trailing in from the west and a spur to Lanchester Valley and Consett leaving to the North-West.

The line also served a number of collieries including Hunwick Colliery with a line to Newfield Colliery and Brickworks from Hunwick Station, West Hunwick Colliery, Rough Lea Colliery, Willington and Sunnybrow Collieries via a link to The West Durham Railway, Brancepeth Colliery (with a colliery line to Oakenshaw Colliery), Brandon Colliery (with a colliery line to Brandon Pit House Colliery).

The line was occasionally used by mainline express traffic diverting to avoid engineering works between Darlington and Durham.

The Sunderland - Durham - Bishop Auckland passenger service ceased in May 1964 although it was re-opened for one day in July 1964 for Miners Gala trains from Brandon, Waterhouses, Ushaw Moor and Fencehouses and a few other stations. Freight facilities were withdrawn from Brancepeth, Willington & Brandon Colliery from 10.8.1964 (Hunwick lost its freight service in 1958) although the line remained in use for freight for a further four years.

Since closure, Rellymill Junction to Deerness Valley Junction has been incorporated into a realigned East Coast Main Line which has had its curve eased to increase line speed. Much of the remainder of the line has now been converted into the 9.5 mile Brandon - Bishop Auckland Railway Path. The path begins at Broompark Picnic Area. It passes through the villages of Brandon, Brancepeth and Willington before reaching its end at the Newton Cap Viaduct, near Bishop Auckland. The Durham platforms at Bishop Auckland have gone and the site is now a Halfords store.

Further reading: Durham's Railways by Charlie Emett - Sutton Publishing 1999
ISBN: 0750920769

To see the other stations on the Bishop Auckland - Durham branch line click on the station name: Hunwick, Willington, Brancepeth & Brandon Colliery


Bishop Auckland Station - looking north at the Durham platforms

On Saturday 28 September 1963 Class Q7 0-8-0 No. 63460 waits at Bishop Auckland after arrival from Consett South Junction. The occasion was the SLS/RCTS North Eastern Railtour; a marathon tour running from 27 September to 1 October starting and finishing at York. New ex-Darlington Works in September 1919 and designed by Sir Vincent Raven, the locomotive began life as North Eastern Railway Class T3 No. 903, then becoming LNER Class Q7 No. 901 and in 1946 No. 3460 before becoming British Railways No. 63460. She was withdrawn from service on 3 December 1962 at Tyne Dock but set aside for preservation in what we now refer as the National Collection. Following minor attention, she was steamed in September 1963 and again in May 1964 for use on railtours. Thereafter she was stored at a number of widely dispersed locations until arriving at York in 1978. The sole survivor of the class of 15, she subsequently spent time at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and at the time of writing could be found at the Head of Steam museum, Darlington.
Copyright photo by Robert Goundry

Bishop Auckland Station - Durham platforms in August 1961
hoto by Brian Johnson

4.15pm to Barnard Castle & Middleton-in-Teesdale, at Bishop Auckland in May 1962
hoto by Brian Johnson

Bishop Auckland Station - Durham platforms in April 1984
taken from a similar viewpoint to the first picture
hoto by Roy Lambeth

Halfords & Morrisons now stand on the site of the Durham platforms (2005)
hoto by Roy Lambeth




[Source: Nick Catford & Roy Lambeth]

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