Station Name: COLDSTREAM

[Source: Alan Young]

Date opened

27.7.1849.

Location

Station Gardens now runs through the site. The A697 road passes immediately south of the station.

Company on opening

York, Newcastle & Berwick Railway

Date closed to passengers

15.6.1964

Date closed completely

29.3.1965

Company on closing

Passenger services: British Railways (North Eastern Region)
Goods services: British Rail (North Eastern Region)

Present state

Demolished. A housing estate occupies the site. Two short terraces of railway cottages are on Station Gardens.

County

Northumberland

OS Grid Ref: NT862395
Date of visit:

January 1976, August 2001, June 2011

Notes: For most of its life this station was one of the select few in Britain to be situated in one country but to be named after a settlement in another. Coldstream is a small town in the Scottish county of Berwickshire (now swallowed up into Scottish Borders) but the station is in the Northumbrian village of Cornhill; this situation arose because of pressure by landowners who were reluctant to allow the railway to pass through Coldstream. Carham station, also on the NER Kelso Branch, was in the reverse situation as the village was in England but the station in Scotland. Elsewhere Gretna, Knighton, and Hay-on-Wye illustrated the same anomaly, the first being on the Anglo-Scottish border, and the other two on the Anglo-Welsh border. In Railway Magazine lively correspondence between October 1953 and May 1954 celebrated this subject and also noted instances within England where stations carried the name of settlements in adjacent counties. When it opened the station was named Cornhill, or Cornhill for Coldstream; but the North Eastern Railway, which appeared to have a morbid fear of duplicating names of stations found elsewhere on its own or other railway companies’ lines, belatedly noticed that since 1859 there had been a Cornhill station in Banffshire on the Great North of Scotland Railway. Thus it was that the NER Cornhill station was renamed Coldstream on 1 October 1873.

Originally just a ‘wayside’ station, Coldstream became a junction in 1887 when the lengthy branch to Alnwick opened. Although Coldstream station had carried this name for 14 years the new line was known as the ‘Alnwick & Cornhill’ branch. John Addyman and the late John Mallon’s detailed and authoritative book about the line, The Alnwick & Cornhill Railway (NERA, 2007) is highly recommended. The new line carried a special train in early May 1887 ‘conveying stationmasters, porters, signalmen, clerks and others with their wives and families to the places allotted to them’ and a goods service of one train a day in each direction started between Coldstream and Wooperton on 9 May. Regular passenger services began on 5 September 1887.

The station building at Cornhill / Coldstream was designed by the Newcastle architects John and Benjamin Green whose work on the Newcastle & Berwick Railway’s East Coast main line stations has been greatly admired. The company’s purse strings had tightened when the Kelso Branch stations were commissioned, so the buildings were somewhat less elaborate. Cornhill was the most important station on the branch yet its overall appearance was rather austere. Standing on the up (west) platform, the stationmaster’s two-storey stone-built house was adjoined to the south by the single-storey office range. The roofs were pitched and window openings were given the dignity of mullions. The plainness of the platform elevation was relieved by a canted bay window on the booking office beneath a corbelled-out gable with an overhanging roof; a clock was affixed to the gable. The original office range was later extended southwards.  On the down platform a waiting shed with a masonry front was provided. In connection with the opening of the line from Coldstream to Alnwick in 1887 the original signal box was replaced with a substantial one in stone with a hipped roof, towards the northern end of the up platform, and a standard NER cast iron footbridge was installed at the same time; this was the only footbridge on the branch. The up platform was 94yd in and the down 98yd, being similar in length to those of the other NER Kelso Branch stations, though shorter than those at Norham. When the Alnwick Branch opened a 50ft turntable was installed behind the down platform to turn tender locomotives working the new line.

Sanderson & Co of Amble constructed this station, as well as that at Sprouston (and possibly Sunilaws and Carham too).

Two short terraces of railway staff cottages were built at Coldstream by the NER on the down side of the line. Constructed of red brick, the more easterly block of three houses was built circa 1882/83 and the other, of four houses, was added in 1897. The later block caused the NER legal difficulty as local magistrates convicted the company of building it without local authority approval.

The Railway Clearing House Handbook for 1904 shows that Coldstream station was able to handle a wide range of goods traffic and was equipped with a 1-ton yard crane. The goods yard had been extended after the opening of the Alnwick branch. The surrounding area is productive arable and pastoral farmland and this was reflected in the principal goods dispatched from the station in 1913: barley (2,285 tons), potatoes (697 tons), oats (418 tons), and 1,090 wagons of livestock. The station’s passenger traffic was heavier than at the other intermediate stations between Tweedmouth and Kelso, reflecting its more populous catchment of 3,259 (in 1911) including the adjacent village of Cornhill and small town of Coldstream as well as its role as a junction. The station issued 22,341 tickets in 1911: in comparison its neighbouring stations booked far fewer tickets -Sunilaws 2,680, Twizell 3,614, and Mindrum 4,234.

Bradshaw of March 1850 gives the train service between ‘Sprouston (Kelso)’ and Tweedmouth in a narrative form with only the times of departure from the two termini stated and no reference to Cornhill / Coldstream or any other intermediate stations. Departures from Sprouston on weekdays are at 1.15am (stated as 1¼ morn.) – surely a mistake? – and at 2.45 and 6.20pm. On Sunday there are departures at 9.00am and 7.00pm. The February 1863 timetable gives specific departure times from Coldstream, as seen below.

February 1863
Up trains: weekdays

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

7.37am

Berwick

9.20am

Kelso

10.37am

Berwick

2.20pm

Kelso

3.32pm

Berwick

5.06pm

Kelso

7.32pm

Berwick

7.37pm

Kelso

Up trains: Sunday

 

Down trains: Sunday

 

9.12am

Berwick

7.36am

Kelso

7.49pm

Berwick

5.03pm

Kelso

Bradshaw of August 1887 shows a more frequent weekday service. This is the month before the branch to Alnwick opened.

August 1887
Up trains: weekdays

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

8.28am

Berwick

9.11am

Kelso

10.23am

Berwick

12.06m

Kelso

1.03pm

Berwick

2.46pm

Kelso

3.43pm

Berwick

5.16pm

Kelso

8.03pm

Berwick

7.22pm

Kelso

-

-

8.22pm

Kelso

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

9.38am

Berwick

8.06am

Kelso

8.08pm

Berwick

6.06pm

Kelso

The branch from Coldstream to Alnwick passed through a sparsely populated region and in 1901, apart from Wooler where 16,349 tickets were issued, each of the other nine intermediate stations issued fewer than 7,500 tickets. Although in summer 1908 four passenger trains operated in each direction on weekdays, plus a Monday-only market train from Coldstream to Wooler, after World War 1 the service settled down to three trains each way on weekdays only, as seen below in July 1920. The service between Coldstream and Kelso also consisted of only three trains each way, but there were two trains each way on this route on Sunday.

July 1920                      Up trains: weekdays

                          Destination

                                   Down trains: weekdays

                         Destination

8.11am

Berwick

6.48am

Alnwick

10.28am

Berwick

9.15am

Kelso

3.25pm

Tweedmouth

10.40am

Alnwick

3.48pm

Berwick

2.54pm

Kelso

7.38pm

Berwick

4.29pm

Alnwick

8.25pm

Tweedmouth

6.35pm

Kelso

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

9.58am

Berwick

9.00am

Kelso

7.38pm

Berwick

6.35pm

Kelso

Towards the end of the NER era Coldstream’s stationmaster was Thomas Patterson who was replaced by Mr J Nixon at the end of 1919. Mr Nixon was replaced in February 1920 by Mr Purves whose tenure of the post lasted until September of that year.

From 1 January 1923 the former NER became part of the new London & North Eastern Railway (LNER). During the 1920s competition from road motor transport caused revenues on the Alnwick line to decline seriously; for many miles the railway closely followed the Morpeth – Coldstream road (now the A697) which was used by motor buses. By 1930 Messrs Allan & Henderson and Western provided eight weekday, ten Saturday and three Sunday buses parallel to much of the railway route. A review of the Coldstream – Alnwick line’s financial standing by the LNER showed its unprofitability, and even a reduction of fares in October 1928 almost to the level of those charged on the buses failed to improve the situation. Thus it was that the LNER decided to discontinue passenger trains between Coldstream and Alnwick from 22 September 1930 – almost coinciding with the introduction of buses between Newcastle and Coldstream via Alnwick operated by United, a company associated with the LNER. At the time this was the longest railway route in Britain to have closed to passenger traffic. The table below shows the situation after the closure of the Alnwick line. As an economy measure the LNER used a Sentinel steam railcar to operate some services (indicated here by * - ‘One class only’ in the timetable). Not indicated in the table below is the 7.30am from Berwick which terminates at Coldstream at 8.03am, but it appears as the 8.13am for its return journey to Berwick. This service was operated by a steam railcar, undoubtedly Royal Charlotte. The final Saturday down train’s unexpected destination of Sunilaws is worthy of note; why did it terminate here rather than continue the few miles to Kelso before retracing its steps to Berwick?  

September 1937                  Up trains: weekdays

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

8.13am § *

Berwick

9.19am

Kelso

10.23am

Berwick

12.02pm *

Kelso

12.53pm *

Berwick

2.29pm

Kelso

3.27pm

Berwick

5.57pm

St Boswells

6.59pm *

Berwick

9.55pm SO *

Sunilaws

10.29pm SO  *

Berwick

-

-

Sunday: no trains

 

Sunday: no trains

 

SO  Saturday only     § Train starts here     * One class only

The LNER apparently made very few improvements to Coldstream station. NER oil lighting was retained, but new running-in nameboards were installed.

Stationmasters at Coldstream during the LNER era were Mr Isaac Nixon until May 1929, followed by Mr J W Young from June 1929 until December 1933, then Mr R Redpath whose tenure lasted until February 1939. After a short interregnum Mr J Clarke was appointed stationmaster in June 1939. He also supervised Mindrum station on the Alnwick line; it is possible that his predecessor acquired this responsibility after Mindrum closed to passengers in 1930 and thereafter handled only goods and parcels traffic.

On 1 January 1948 Coldstream station became part of British Railways (BR) North Eastern (NE) Region. The Berwick – Kelso – St Boswells line, never a heavily used passenger line, became very much a backwater –enlivened by a flurry of activity when express trains were for a short time diverted over the route following severe flooding in August 1948 which temporarily closed the East Coast main line in southern Scotland. In 1951 Coldstream booked only 1,366 tickets, equating to 4 to 5 per day; nearby, Norham sold 701 tickets, Twizell 537 and Velvet Hall 176. Nevertheless the line remained open, with the following service shown in Bradshaw of February 1955:

February 1955                  Up trains: weekdays

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

7.57am

Berwick-upon-Tweed

7.07am

St Boswells

9.54am

Berwick-upon-Tweed

9.54am

St Boswells

5.05pm

Berwick-upon-Tweed

4.03pm

St Boswells

8.23pm

Berwick-upon-Tweed

7.20pm

St Boswells

Sunday: no trains

 

Sunday: no trains

 

SO  Saturday only      SX  Saturday excepted

In June 1955 the service was the same except that the 9.54am and 4.03pm departures were retimed on Saturday only. The following month, the service was reduced to two trains per day each way (weekdays only) and five of the seven intermediate stations between Tweedmouth and Kelso were closed. Coldstream station remained open and staffed, undoubtedly generating more revenue from its goods and coal traffic than from its handful of passengers. The station retained its essentially Victorian appearance, and modernization was restricted to repainting the LNER nameboards in BR(NE) tangerine. The steam-operated service of two return train trips continued until 1964 and is shown below in the winter 1962/63 timetable:

September 1962                  Up trains: weekdays

                     Destination

Down trains: weekdays

                    Destination

9.09am

Berwick-upon-Tweed

10.27am

St Boswells

5.13pm

Berwick-upon-Tweed

7.09pm

St Boswells

Sunday: no trains

 

Sunday: no trains

 

This service continued into the line’s final timetable (September 1963-June 1964) except that the 10.27am to St Boswells would be retimed to depart 10.29am.

Coldstream station closed to passengers with the line on 15 June 1964 but goods were handled until 29 March 1965 when both the line from Tweedmouth to Kelso and the Wooler branch (all that remained of the former Coldstream – Alnwick line) were closed entirely. The down line through Coldstream station was lifted in 1966 by Campbell’s of Airdrie and the station buildings were demolished soon after. The up line was removed in 1969/70. By January 1976 housing was invading the station site and only a goods platform remained. Today there is little evidence that a station was found here.

Tickets from Michael Stewart. Station certificates from Railways of Berwick & the Eastern Borders Facebook Group. Route map drawn by Alan Young

Click here for a brief history of the
Tweedmouth - St Boswells line

To see other stations on the Tweedmouth - St Boswells line click on the station name: To see other stations on the Tweedmouth - St Boswells line click on the station name: Tweedmouth, Velvet Hall, Norham, Twizell, Sunilaws, Carham, Sprouston, Kelso, Wallace Nick, Roxburgh, Rutherford & Maxton & St Boswells

See also Jedburgh branch: Kirkbank, Nisbet, Jedfoot & Jedburgh


Coldstream Station Gallery 1: c1910 - Early 1950s


Coldstream station staff line up for the photographer in front of the stationmaster’s house and office range on the up (Berwick-bound) platform, c1910. Although handsome, the buildings in uncoursed sandstone do not possess the dignity and opulence of those on the East Coast main line designed by the same architects, John and Benjamin Green. A point of architectural interest is the bay window (to provide the stationmaster with a good view of the platforms) beneath the corbelled-out gable and overhanging roof. The stations on this line were fitted with smart lanterns, seen here fixed to the buildings. The coiled serpent bench beyond the building was a feature often seen at North Eastern Railway stations.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection


1883 1:2,500 OS map. Although shown as ‘Cornhill’ the station had been renamed ‘Coldstream’ ten years earlier. This map pre-dates by four years the opening of the Alnwick & Cornhill Railway which elevated Coldstream to the status of a junction. In a sparsely populated area the adjacent village of Cornhill and the small town of Coldstream (over a mile distant on the Scottish side of the River Tweed) justified the provision of substantial buildings in the passenger station and generous goods facilities. The main building is on the west (up) platform with a modest waiting shed on the opposite platform. Behind the down platform two sidings serve the coal depot with its ‘Weighing House’, and on the up side are several sidings, a two-road goods shed and livestock pens.

1898 1: 2,500 OS map. The station has become a junction following the opening of the Alnwick & Cornhill Railway which diverges from the Kelso line immediately south of the road underbridge and runs alongside the original line for about 500yd. The station’s name has been changed to ‘Coldstream’. A footbridge has been added as has a signal box immediately north of it on the up platform. A siding with a turntable has been added on the down side beyond the coal depot. A weigh office (‘W.M.’ – weighing machine) is shown to the west of the passenger station and the earlier ‘Weighing House’ is no longer named.  The construction of an auction mart immediately west of the station and adjacent to the cattle dock (not named) is the most conspicuous change in the vicinity of the station. To the north of the mart is the tantalisingly-named ‘Implement Works’. A row of three railway cottages (named ‘Station Cottages’ on later maps) has been built very close to the sidings on the down side of the tracks.

1924 1:2,500 OS map. Coldstream station is seen here probably at its zenith, with a terrace of four railway cottages joining the three already there. A crane is now shown close to the weigh office, west of the passenger station, and a further weigh office is indicated for the sidings east of the station. Apart from the railway cottages the presence of the station seems not to have encouraged the development of housing in its vicinity.

Looking south from the footbridge at Coldstream station c1930. The buildings on both platforms are seen to advantage from this viewpoint, the stationmaster’s two-storey house and offices being on the up (right, Berwick-bound) platform. Beyond the bridge is the junction where the Alnwick Branch (left) leaves the Kelso route, although the lines run alongside each other for some distance before diverging.
Copyright photo from Stations UK

Looking north-east from the up platform of Coldstream station in May 1937. The stationmaster’s house, offices and waiting rooms are behind the photographer. The footbridge is a typical late nineteenth century NER design. Beyond it is the station’s water tank carried on a tall stone plinth. Post-mounted oil casement lamps adorn the down platform.  In the distance are the two terraces of railwaymen’s cottages constructed between 1882 and 1897. The locomotive in the distance is too far away for positive identification but has the appearance of a J25 0-6-0 about it; it lacks a smokebox numberplate but still carries its number on the bufferbeam as was LNER practice. All signals visible are still lower quadrant wooden arms types (presumably of NER origin); during the 1950s most if not all at Coldstream were to be replaced by upper quadrant, metal-arm types.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

On 18 July 1951 a down goods train is entering Coldstream station. The photographer is looking north from the footbridge. To the right, beyond the siding, is the water tank; a further siding passes in front of the terrace of railwaymen’s cottages. The locomotive is Worsdell-designed J25 0-6-0 No.65697, built by the NER at Gateshead in May 1900; she would be withdrawn from 54C, Borough Gardens shed, in November 1958 and cut up at Darlington Works, North Road in May 1959.
Photo by ER Morten

In July 1951 a two-coach local passenger train stands at the up platform of Coldstream station. The loco hauling it is Worsdell-designed G5 0-4-4T No.67303, built in October 1900 at the NER Darlington works. She was withdrawn from 52D, Tweedmouth shed in February 1953. The signal box and footbridge were installed by the North Eastern Railway in 1887 when the station became a junction with the opening of the line to Alnwick.
Photo from John Mann collection

Coldstream station is seen in the early or mid 1950s, looking south-west from the footbridge. The office and waiting room range of the station can be seen to the right on the up platform. The four-coach train represents lavish provision on a line where two coaches are the norm. The locomotive is Class D30 No.62428 ‘The Talisman’ built in 1914 and based at 64G, Hawick shed, from which she would be withdrawn in December 1958.
This view of the northern end of Coldstream station includes various North Eastern Railway features, such as the signal box and footbridge, dating from the station’s elevation to a junction in 1887, the railway cottages built between 1882 and 1897, and post-mounted oil lanterns. The goods yard is accommodating a rake of wagons. The dark paint on the signs suggests that LNER livery is still on display and that the photo was taken in, or before, the early 1950s.
Photo from John Mann collection

Looking south-east across the goods sidings towards Coldstream station in the early 1950s. The signal box, footbridge and gable of the stationmaster’s house are visible and one of the terraces of railwaymen’s cottages is seen beyond the locomotive. A local passenger train is drawing out from the station on its way to Tweedmouth and Berwick, hauled by an ex NBR K Class, LNER/BR Class D34 4-4-0 or 'Glen' class. As this implies, all of the class were named after Glens and the names were painted on the splashers. Although it is difficult to discern, the loco is in BR livery and carries the early BTC/BR 'Cycling Lion' logo on the tender. Identification of the loco is offered tentatively: a couple of digits of the smokebox numberplate and cabside number, a 2 and a 9, can be seen on close inspection, and the last letter of the name appears to be a 'G'. Only one of the Glens fits the bill, this being No.62490 'Glen Fintaig'. She spent her BR years mainly at St Margarets shed but with a brief spell at Hawick. Withdrawal came in February 1959. The first carriage is a Thompson Non Corridor Lavatory Composite and the second a Gresley steel-panelled Five Compartment Brake Third. This combination appears in other pictures so it was possibly a two-car set dedicated to these services and bolstered with extra coaches as necessary. One of the Glens, 'Glen Douglas', has survived into preservation.
Photo from Roy Lambeth collection

Click here for Coldstream Station Gallery 2:
Early 1950s - 9 July 1961


 

 

 

[Source: Alan Young]



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