Station Name: BURNHILL

[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: 4.7.1859
Location: Burnhill Station was sited 200 yards north of Burnhill Junction with no roads running near the site then or now. Waskerley Way (cycletrack) runs through the station site.
Company on opening: North Eastern Railway
Date closed to passengers: 1.5.1939
Date closed completely: 1.5.1939
Company on closing: North Eastern Railway
Present state: Demolished
County: Durham
OS Grid Ref: NZ064447
Date of visit: 6.4.2006

Notes: In 1859 The Stockton and Darlington replaced the inclines on the old Stanhope & Tyne line by deviations suitable for locomotives with a new line, avoiding Nanny Mayors Incline, allowing through working from Crook to Consett, with traffic from Stanhope and Waskerley northwards now having to reverse at the new Burnhill Junction. A station was built at Burnhill on the new deviation line about 200 yards north of the junction and footpath connected it to Waskerley across the moor.

The station was originally named Burnhill but was quickly renamed Burnhill Junction, reverting back to Burnhill on 1.5.1893. The station never had a freight service.

The 1910 photograph below shows that Burnhill station didn't have a platform. This is confirmed by the 1896 OS map which clearly shows the station building alongside the line on the west side but no platform is shown, just a solid black line, perhaps indicating where the trains should stop. The buildings at right angles to the station are the railway cottages shown in the other photographs with the stationmaster's house a short distance to the west.

The western section of the Stockton and Darlington Railway had been progressively improved and extended with the Bishop Auckland & Weardale Railway finally reaching Crook in 1843. The B A & W company minutes show that the line opened to a permanent station at Bishop Auckland on 30 January 1843, ahead of the rest of the line to Crook and that the generally quoted 8 November 1843 for opening to Crook was for goods only. The line was leased by the Stockton & Darlington Railway.

The following stations were proposed: South Church, Bishop Auckland, Escombe, Old Etherley Colliery, Low Bitchburn, Howden and Crook. The line opened to a temporary terminus at South Church on 19.4.1842 and extended to a permanent Bishop Auckland station on 30.1.1843. The line to Crook was authorised for opening on 3rd January 1844 but the passenger opening date to has not so far been traced; however, the minutes do show that the line was inspected on 1 January 1844 and that permission to open for passengers was received by on or before 6 January. Escombe and Low Bitchburn stations are never mentioned again and were probably never built.

It is likely that the initial service to Crook was market days only because when it first appeared in Bradshaw in July 1844, only a Thursday market service was shown but the line was in full use by January 1845.

The Derwent Iron Company was looking for an outlet to the south and itself considered building a line towards Crook and the Stockton and Darlington Railway but in the end it was the S&D who constructed the Weardale Extension Railway from Crook, via the rope worked Sunniside incline to a station at Tow Law joining the former Derwent Railway at Waskerley, at the head of Nanny Mayors Incline where a small railway village developed on the top of the moors. The line was opened to traffic on behalf of Derwent Iron Company on the 16 May 1845; the company subsequently purchased the Derwent Railway.

Tow Law first appears in timetables in September 1847; references have been found to additional stops at High Souk (alias High Stoop) and Saltersgate Cottage, which would have been further north towards Burnhill. Although both stations appears on the early Ordnance Survey maps, passenger use cannot be confirmed.

The Bishop Auckland & Weardale Railway amalgamated with the Wear Valley Railway in 1847 which was in turn taken over by the Stockton & Darlington in 1858 and by the North Eastern Railway in 1863. On 2nd March 1868 the Sunniside incline was replaced by a deviation to allow locomotive haulage, this required the resiting of Tow Law station.

In NER days a through service was provided from Darlington to Tyneside via Bishop Auckland, Crook, Tow Law, Burnhill and along the Derwent Valley Line through Blackhill & Swalwell. With increasing competition from roads and the decline in the handling of lime and stone the line north of Tow Law to Blackhill (Consett) was closed to passengers in May 1939 along with the stations at Burnhill and Rowley ending through running to Tyneside. Shortly after closure the Government built the Salters Gate Ammunition Depot across the line between Salters Gate and Burnhill which effectively totally closed the through line although munitions trains could access the Burnhill Station transfer yard from both directions.

The line was further cut back to Crook on 11th June 1956 and the final section of line from Bishop Auckland - Crook closed to passengers on 8th March 1965. The track north of Wear Valley Junction was lifted in late 1967 or early 1968.

The line between Bishop Auckland and Crook served a number of collieries and other industrial sites. Click here for a full list.

To see the other stations on the Bishop Auckland - Rowley line click on the station name: Bishop Auckland, Etherley, Wear Valley Junction, Beechburn, Crook, Tow Law, High Souk, Saltersgate Cottage, Burnhill Junction (Military Exchange Station) & Rowley

See also stations on the Wear Valley line to Wearhead

A display at Waskerley church described this as Burnhill station in 1910. This is incorrect, it is not the station but more likely part of the goods station at Waskerley.
From display in Waskerley Church - received from Roy Lambeth

1896 1:2500 OS map. The station building is clearly shown on the west side of the line.

NER plan of Burnhill station in July 1917. The original is owned by the Parkhead Station House Hotel, with a copy on display. This is a section of a larger plan. Click here for the complete plan.

No. 1 & 2 Station cottages, Burnhill. The rear of the station building can be seen far right. The single storey station building is seen on the far right.
Photo from the family collection of Ray Thompson of Castleside

Burnhill stationmaster's house
Photo from the family collection of Ray Thompson of Castleside

Looking north at the site of Burnhill Station in May 2006. The platform was on the left.
Photo by Roy Lambeth

Looking south towards Burnhill Junction at the site of Burnhill Station in May 2006.
The platform was on the right
Photo by Roy Lambeth

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