Station Name: DURHAM ELVET

[Source: Nick Catford]
Date opened: 24.7.1893
Location: At the Junction of Green Lane, Whinney Hill and Old Elvet
Company on opening: North Eastern Railway
Date closed to passengers: 1.1.1931
Date closed completely: 11.1.1954
Company on closing: North Eastern Railway
Present state: Demolished
County: Durham
OS Grid Ref: NZ281422
Date of visit: 25.6.2005

Notes: Durham Elvet station had a long, spacious island platform which, unusually for the NER, was bereft of any roofing, reflecting its limited role. At the head of this was a building designed by the NER architect William Bell around a large waiting/dispersal hall. This was fronted by a neat office range, given a touch of style by the central clock gablet.

There were sidings on both sides of the platform lines with a small goods yard to the north with a 3-ton capacity crane. There was a rurntable on the south side of the platform. Although the station closed to passengers in 1931 it continued to be used by Durham Miners Gala trains and remained open for goods traffic until 11 January 1954

Early in 1949 Elvet Station buildings were taken over by the County Council and used as office for the motor taxation department but the original buildings were demolished in 1964 and a new office block was built on the site. The front of the site is now occupied by Durham Magistrates Court while an NHS office block stands on the rear of the site.

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DURHAM & SUNDERLAND RAILWAY The first line in to Durham came from the east when the Durham & Sunderland Railway opened their line from Sunderland Town Moor to Pittington in 1836. The line reached Sherburn House in 1837 and its terminus on 28th June 1839. However the station was not actually in Durham but at Shincliffe, south of the city. Intermediate stations were built at Ryhope, Seaton Bank Top, Murton and Haswell. Initially the line was rope hauled; this lasted for over 20 years before locomotives were introduced.

In 1846 the Durham & Sunderland Railway was purchased by the Newcastle & Darlington Junction railway who obtained an Act for line from north of Sherburn to Shincliffe and on to Bishop Auckland. There was to be a triangular junction for access to Durham Elvet station but the line was never built. In 1846 the N & DJR was renamed the York & Newcastle Railway and the following year it amalgamated with the York Newcastle & Berwick Railway which itself merged with other lines to form the North Eastern Railway in 1854.

In 1893 the North Eastern Railway opened a station in Elvet in Durham city. This was served by a new line branching off the old Shincliffe line at Sherburn House. From the 24th July 1893 the service to Shincliffe was withdrawn and the station closed. At the same time Sherburn House Station was resited from the junction onto the new branch.

For many years the old station buildings at Shincliffe were used by the Durham Rural District Council Highways Department, it has now been converted into a house. Although the passenger service terminated at Shincliffe the line extended further west to Houghall Colliery before running south to Croxdale Colliery by a farm in Blades Wood between Farewell Hall and Sunderland Bridge. The bridge abutments survive in several places including the crossing of The River Wear at Shincliffe as does some of the embankment either side of the river. The line beyond Houghall Colliery was abandoned in the 1830's.

The passenger service to Elvet was not a great success and had a short life of less than 40 years as it was withdrawn on 1st January 1931. The station continued to be used for one day a year (except during the war years) until 18th July 1953. The one day was the famous Durham Miners Gala and on this day special trains were run from most of the surrounding pit villages, bringing miners, their families, bands and banners to the City. One of the last uses to Elvet Station was by a circus that came by train in 1953.

Sherburn House station also closed in 1931 but the line to Pittington remained open until 5th January 1953 and the branch from Murton was retained until the late 1950's for wagon storage. Hetton to Sherburn closed to all traffic on 3rd April 1960 and to Murton on 11th November 1963. There was a single track spur from Pittington to Sherburn North Signal Box on The Leamside Line which gave access to the branch until complete closure.

Tickets from Michael Stewart

To see the other stations on the Durham & Sunderland Railway click on the station name: Sherburn House, Pittington & Hetton

Miners Gala train at Durham Elvet on 23rd July 1949

1896 1:2,500 OS map

Durham Elvet station - miners gala arriving in 1949.

Looking north-east towardsw Durham Elvet station c mid 1950s.
Photo from Alan Brown collection

Durham Elvet station forecourt c1960, at this time the building was used as offices by the council.

The site of Durham Elvet Station in June 2005 taken from a similar viewpoint as the picture above
hoto by Nick Catford


Early 1960s


click on thumbnail to enlarge




[Source: Nick Catford

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