Notes: Initially the station only had a Saturday service but
a full service was introduced in March 1878. The station was
originally known as Brandon Siding but was renamed Brandon Colliery
when the full service was introduced on 1.3.1878
Colliery (closed 1968) was adjacent to the line on the north
side of the village with a colliery line running on Brandon
Colliery with a colliery line to Brandon
Pit House Colliery (closed 1968).
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BISHOP
AUCKLAND - DURHAM BRANCH LINE
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.
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
- 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
To see the other
stations on the Bishop Auckland - Durham branch line click on
the station name: Bishop