Station Name: BRANCEPETH

[Source: Nick Catford & Roy Lambeth]

Date opened: 1.4.1857
Location: On the south side of Wolsingham Road
Company on opening: North Eastern Railway
Date closed to passengers: 4.5.1964
Date closed completely: 10.8.1964
Company on closing: British Railways (North Eastern Region)
Present state: The station building survives as a private residence. It is alongside Brandon - Bishop Auckland Railway Path but shielded from it by a high fence and trees.
County: Durham
OS Grid Ref: NZ220383
Date of visit: September 1967, June 1968 & 27.6.2005

Brancepeth station was provided with two facing platforms on the east side of the Wolsingham Road level crossing. The main station building was on the down side of the line with a small timber NER waiting shelter on the opposite platform. One siding ran behind the up platform serving a coal depot. There was a dock on the down side immediately west of the level crossing. It was served by two short sidings, one end on to the dock. A signal box stood opposite the dock.

The station was closed to passengers on 4 May 1964, although it was used in July 1964 for the Miners' Gala. The station was closed to goods traffic on 10 August 1964

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. Tickets from Michael Stewart

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

Brancepeth Station in the early 20th C
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

1897 1:2,500 OS map shows the layout of the station. Note the dock on the west side of the level crossing.

Brancepeth Station in about 1906
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

Brancepeth Station looking south in May 1961
Photo by Brian Johnson

A northbound DMU is approaching Brancepeth station in June 1961; it's the afternoon train from Bishop Auckland to Durham. The service had been greatly reduced by that time,
Photo by Malcolm Reed

Brancepeth Station in September 1967
Photo by Nick Catford

Brancepeth Station in September 1967
Photo by Nick Catford

Brancepeth Station in June 2005
hoto by Nick Catford







Click on thumbnail to enlarge




[Source: Nick Catford & Roy Lambeth]

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