Station Name: ELSWICK

[Source: Alan Young]

Date opened: 2.9.1889
Location: South side of Scotswood Road, about 100yd east of junction with William Armstrong Drive
Company on opening: North Eastern Railway
Date closed to passengers: 2.1.1967
Date closed completely: 2.1.1967
Company on closing: British Rail (Eastern Region)
Present state: Demolished
County: Northumberland
OS Grid Ref: NZ220634
Date of visit: July 1961, May 1967, August 1972 & 4th June 2009

Notes: This populous industrial suburb of Newcastle grew from a population of 3,500 in 1851 to almost 28,000 in 1871 yet it did not have a station until 1889. The station was built at the western end of Armstrong’s huge Elswick Works site, its workforce (exceeding 11,000 by 1900) providing a significant proportion of the station’s traffic.

From about 1875 until the early-20th century the North Eastern Railway built a number of stations with island platforms and/or over-track station buildings, and Elswick had both features. Its 25ft-wide island platform had a lengthy glazed awning supported by iron columns and spandrels with the Star of David motif – as at Heaton (1887). The timber-built offices were above the up line. In 1895 Elswick issued more tickets than other Carlisle line intermediate stations, except Blaydon.

For many years Elswick was a ‘ticket platform’ where passengers’ tickets on Newcastle-bound trains were collected. Situated close to Scotswood Road, Elswick was vulnerable to tram and bus competition, yet it remained heavily used until the inter-war years.  In the 1950s traffic declined. Sunday trains ceased to call in 1952 and, from 11 September 1961, it was unstaffed.
The following June, the awnings and over-track building were demolished. In its final years the station was a sorry sight, the weed-infested platform boasting only decapitated lamp posts and one illegible nameboard facing the up line. It closed in 1967, and the platform was swiftly demolished. Track realignment removed all trace of the station.

The first few miles of the cross-country journey from Newcastle to Carlisle were thoroughly urban and industrial. To the left, the extensive buildings of Vickers-Armstrong’s Elswick engineering works hugged line, whilst to the right, immediately beyond the famous Scotswood Road, rows of impossibly steep streets of terraced flats plastered the slope. After Paradise Bridge, shortly before Scotswood station, the Victorian landscape gave way to a council estate, and a clear view of the river. Approaching Scotswood, the railway divided; the main pair of tracks diverged to the left through the station’s lower platforms, and crossed the Tyne on a six-span hogback girder bridge into Blaydon in County Durham. The lesser-known ‘North Wylam loop’ carried straight on through the higher-level platforms, and disappeared into a short tunnel. The Blaydon and North Wylam routes reunited before Prudhoe, and the remainder of the journey to Carlisle was through some of England’s finest rural landscapes.

The Newcastle (or, more accurately, Gateshead) to Carlisle line was the first to cross the breadth of England from the east to the west coast. Horse-drawn goods trains commenced between Blaydon and Hexham in late-1834, and passenger services on 9 March 1835. Newcastle passengers were conveyed to and from Blaydon by horse-omnibus or boat. Steam locomotives hauled passenger trains from the opening day. On 11 June 1835 a 1¼ mile extension opened eastwards to Derwenthaugh, followed by 7½ miles from Hexham to Haydon Bridge on 28 June. Carlisle to Blenkinsopp Colliery, near Haltwhistle (20 miles), opened on 19 July 1836. On 1 March 1837 trains were introduced on the 2½ miles from Derwenthaugh to Redheugh (Gateshead), passengers being ferried by steamboat across the Tyne to a ‘station’ in Newcastle at No. 66 The Close, where the later High Level Bridge crossed the river. (The Close was one of a scarce breed of rail-less stations in Britain, others being Dartmouth and Hull Corporation Pier.)

The omnibus service from Blaydon to Newcastle continued; its terminus in Newcastle was at an office at 50 Westgate Road. The gap between Blenkinsopp and Haydon Bridge was eventually completed, allowing directors to travel between Redheugh and Carlisle (London Road) on 15 June 1838. The formal opening was on 18 June. This event was less than
successful; heavy rain drenched the passengers, and many were left shaken, and some injured, by two collisions. 

N&CR rails reached Newcastle via a three-mile route including a ‘temporary’ Tyne bridge at Scotswood (which was eventually replaced with the present structure in 1870). Formal opening to a station at Railway Street, close to the Shot Tower, took place on 21 May 1839; regular services began on 21 October. The new Forth terminus, replacing that at Railway Street, opened on 1 March 1847. From 1 January 1851 the company used Newcastle Central, shared with the York, Newcastle & Berwick Railway. Although access to Carlisle Citadel had yet to be achieved, the 60½-mile route was complete.

The Newcastle & Carlisle was absorbed into the North Eastern Railway empire in July 1862. Its eccentric arrangement of right-hand running was discontinued after the re-signalling of the route for the standard left-hand operation in 1863-4.

In the 1960s the transformation of the townscape surrounding the railway between Newcastle and Blaydon began. Many of the terraces of two-storey Tyneside flats were demolished and high-rise blocks took their place, and more recently the Elswick works site has been all but cleared and redeveloped as a business park.

On 4 October 1982 passenger services ceased to use the Newcastle – Scotswood – Blaydon route. Trains were diverted from Newcastle West Junction over King Edward Bridge, then via Norwood Junction and Dunston to Blaydon. This alteration saved expenditure on maintaining Scotswood Bridge, and on points and crossings renewals at Blaydon and Newcastle West
Junction. Tracks were removed from Scotswood Bridge and eastward beyond Elswick, leaving only a one-mile siding from Newcastle. The diversion added four minutes to journey times. On the new route the intermediate station at Dunston (closed 1926) was reopened in 1984, but for some years has enjoyed only a token service. The Metro Centre is adjacent to this route, and its station (opened in 1987) provides additional passenger traffic. Between Elswick and Scotswood the track is now a cycleway and footpath known as Hadrian's Wall Path, part of an 84 mile national trail.

Tickets from Michael Stewart


To see other stations on the Newcastle - Blaydon click on the station name: Newcastle (N & C 1st site), Newcastle (N & C 2nd site), Scotswood Works Halt, Scotswood & Blaydon

Elswick Station looking east in c.1905
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

Elswick Station in c.1900. The station is on the right with the building in the centre background straddling the track. The building on the right is a toll house, where taxes on goods bound for Newcastle were collected.

Elswick Station looking west in June 1962, during the demolition of the station buildings.
hoto by Brian Johnson

Elswick Station looking east in c.mid 1960's, after the buildings had been demolished.

The site of Elswick Station looking west in June 2009
hoto by Ali Ford

Click on thumbnail to enlarge




[Source: Alan Young]

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