Station Name: EDLINGHAM

[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: 5.9.1887
Location: At the end of a long approach road running north from B6341
Company on opening: North Eastern Railway
Date closed to passengers: 22.9.1930
Date closed completely: 2.3.1953
Company on closing: London & North Eastern Railway
Present state: The platform, station buildings and signal box are all in good condition. The station is now a private residence and visitors are not welcomed.
County: Northumberland
OS Grid Ref: NU121093
Date of visit: 21.3.2006

Notes: A station was built at the tiny village of Edlingham. With typical optimism railway planners anticipated villagers from as far away as Longframlington and Rothbury would regularly travel seven miles to catch a train. They would then return by train to Edlingham laden with strawberries from the market, before walking the remaining 7 or 8 miles home.

The station was sited at the bottom of a long loop built to avoid the Duke of Northumberland's estate and comprised a single platform with a single storey stone building on the down side of the line. There was a small goods yard, also on the down side to the west of the station, this comprised two sidings, one serving a cattle dock and the second serving a small goods shed.

In 1911 the station had a catchment area with a population of 576. 1819 tickets were sold that year. Although the main goods traffic was agricultural, quantities were never large and in 1913 only six wagon of livestock was loaded at the station.

On 23.8.1926 the station became unstaffed and was downgraded to a halt. After closure to passengers the station was renamed Edlingham Siding on 14.2.1938, remaining open for freight traffic until 2.3.1953.

In 1881 there was a proposal to build a railway line from Rothbury to Wooler to be called the ‘Central Northumberland Railway’. This plan had the support of the North British Railway who were the North Eastern’s great rivals in Northumberland at the time.

Following local objection from people in Alnwick who didn't want to see agricultural traffic from the Wooler area being diverted to the market town of Rothbury Alnwick traders, politicians and local land owners combined to put pressure on the North Eastern Railway to come up with a counter proposal. The N.E.R. proposed the ‘Cornhill Branch’running from
their existing station at Alnwick through Wooler to a junction with the Tweedmouth to Kelso lined at Cornhill on Tweed.

Both proposals went before Parliament in 1881 but the Cornhill branch was by far the cheapest and an act was passed authorising the North Eastern Railway to build their 36 mile line from Alnwick to Cornhill; construction commenced the following year.

Alnwick station was lavishly rebuilt and to avoid the Duke of Northumberland's estate north of Alnwick, the line initially headed south with the expensive diversion requiring a tunnel and a viaduct at Edlingham.

After some delays the line finally opened to good and mineral traffic between Coldstream and Wooperton 2nd May 1887 and throughout for all traffic on 5th September 1887. The line was single track throughout with passing loops at all stations but only Wooler Station had a second platform. Initially the line was well used but this was short lived and passenger services fell into decline after WW1 as the line was unable to compete with the new and more convenient bus services.

Staffing levels were reduced, signal boxes closed and station masters were put in charge of more than one station but the line continued to lose money and an early decision was taken by the London & North Eastern Railway to withdraw passenger services. The final passenger train ran between Alnwick and Cornhill on 22nd September 1930, only 43 years after the line had opened

Despite losing its passenger trains the line remained open for freight mainly for local farmers, with regular goods trains. As a sideline the railway rented out disused waiting rooms and old carriages as self-catering holiday homes. These were known as ‘Camping Coaches’ and Cottages and they were a popular tourist attraction on this and many other lines from the thirties until the early sixties

During the Second World War the branch enjoyed a brief revival when Akeld station became the railhead for a new R.A.F. airfield at Milfield. After the war the airfield’s giant hangers were used for grain storage, and traffic to an from these helped keep the line open but the line's days were numbered.

The line suffered serious storm damage between Ilderton and Wooler in August 1948 with further storm damage the following year when as bridge north of Ilderton station was washed away. With such meagre traffic on the branch the newly formed British Railways could not justify the cost of replacing the bridge; instead the line became two lines; one from Alnwick to Ilderton, and the other from Coldstream to Wooler bur the service was infrequent, sometimes only one train a week.

The section from Alnwick to Ilderton eventually closed on 2nd March 1953. The Coldstream (Cornhill) to Wooler stretch survived a while longer before falling victim to the notorious Dr. Beeching’s railway cuts. It finally closed in March 1965, along with the Tweedmouth to Kelso line. Railway enthusiasts ran a special passenger train into Wooler shortly before the closure.

Other web sites:
Northumbrian Railways
- The Cornhill Branch
Ilderton Station web site - includes a full history if the Alnwick - Cornhill line. Historical text taken from Ilderton Station web site. Route map drawn by Alan Young, ticket from Michael Stewart

To see other stations on the Alnwick - Cornhill (Coldstream) line click on the station name: Alnwick, Whittingham, Glanton, Hedgeley, Wooperton, Ilderton, Wooler, Akeld, Kirknewton, Mindrum & Coldstream.

Edlingham station in 1954, shortly after the track was lifted.
Photo by John Mallon

1897 1:2,500 os map shows the signal box in its original position, opposite the platform.

Edlingham Station in October 1987. The projection from the station building is the signal box. This replaced the original box opposite this position.
Photo by Alan Lewis from his Flickr web site

Looking south west at Edlingham Station in March 2006. Note the signal box, this is a new building. The original box was at the other end of the station (see old picture in the text). This was later replaced by a small box on the platform.
hoto by Nick Catford




[Source: Nick Catford]

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