Station Name: GOSWICK

[Source: Alan Young]


Date opened:

11.1870 (First appearance in Bradshaw)

Location:

At the East Coast main line level crossing on an un-named lane about 2 miles east of the A1. Close to the club house of Berwick-upon-Tweed Golf Club (Goswick Links)

Company on opening:

North Eastern Railway

Date closed to passengers:

5.5.1941; reopened 7.10.1946; closed again 15.9.1958

Date closed completely:

10.8.1964

Company on closing:

British Railways (North Eastern Region)

Present state:

Station house (originally the crossing keeper’s house) north-west of the level crossing is still in residential use. Goods yard loading bank is extant north-west of the station house..

County: Northumberland
OS Grid Ref: NU046459
Date of visit: September 1972, August 1981, August 2001

Notes: When the Berwick & Newcastle Railway opened by stages in 1847 the company provided a series of stations with elegant buildings, as well as a number of charming cottages at level crossings for the gatekeepers. At some of the crossings the company built cottages of a more generous size, and it may be that the intention was eventually to open passenger stations at these places and use the cottages as stationmasters’ houses. From the early 1850s a number of extra stations were provided; four of these were located at the crossings where the larger cottages had been built, and one was at Wind Mill Hill. The earliest Ordnance Survey large scale map of 1866 names ‘Windmillhill’ station, so it must have opened informally, perhaps for market train calls, before its first appearance in Bradshaw of November 1871 as ‘Wind Mill Hall’ - amended to ‘Wind Mill Hill’ in the next issue.

Wind Mill Hill was an isolated farm standing a short distance from the extensive coastal sand dunes, and it is remarkable that the North Eastern Railway considered it worth providing a station in such a sparsely populated rural area, with no obvious source of traffic to the east of the station. It is unlikely that the company expected to attract tourist traffic to this isolated stretch of coastline. About a mile south-east of the station was the hamlet of Goswick, but no direct track or road connected the tiny settlement and the station. However the station gained a potential source of passengers when In 1890 Berwick-upon-Tweed Golf Club established a links course on the dunes and built its club house about 100yd east of Wind Mill Hill station. On 1 January 1898 the station was renamed Goswick, the name which had been chosen for the golf course.

The initial first timetable published for Wind Mill Hill in November 1870 indicated that the station was a request stop for three weekday and two Sunday trains in each direction. In summer 1896 the North Eastern Railway timetable showed the following service for what was still Wind Mill Hill station:


Up trains: weekdays

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

6.41am

Newcastle

11.08am

Berwick

9.32am

Newcastle

12.55pm

Berwick

1.58pm

Newcastle

4.12pm

Berwick

2.48pm (Sat only)

Alnmouth

7.37pm

Berwick

6.02pm

Newcastle

9.04pm

Berwick

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

6.46am

Newcastle

10.37am

Berwick

6.08pm

Newcastle

9.02pm

Berwick

The gatekeeper’s cottage was north-west of the level crossing, on the down side of the railway, but when platforms were provided the down platform was placed on the opposite side of the crossing while the up platform was staggered, facing the cottage. Early OS maps show that a siding was installed between the main line railway and the cottage, preventing the building of a down platform in front of the cottage as had been done at Smeafield station.

 It is likely that the signal box provided by the NER by October 1877 was on the down side, south-east of the crossing (therefore adjacent to the down platform) but in 1901 a new box was built on the up side, south-east of the crossing. It was an N2 design brick box but with an N4 roof.

The two-storey section of the original crossing cottage was L-shape, and like the other buildings on the route, of sandstone ashlar with a Welsh slate roof. Other familiar N&B features were a canted bay facing the railway, raised gables, ball finials (not seen on later photographs) and prominent chimneystacks. At the south-eastern end the roof sloped down over a small single-storey section. The building cost £517, being in the same price bracket (£450-520) as cottages at Smeafield, Forest Hall (then called Benton) and Plessey, and the stationmaster’s house at Lesbury, all of which had architectural similarities. The North Eastern Railway’s contributions to the station were architecturally dull, and used brick and timber rather than stone. On the down platform, adjoining the level crossing, the booking and waiting facilities were in a single-storey brick structure under a pitched roof, and a gents’ toilet was in a separate brick building immediately to the south-east. The up platform received a small timber building with a pitched roof which contained a waiting room. Both platforms were backed by brick walls capped with stone.

A goods siding was provided immediately north-west of the down platform. Unusually, adjoining the goods facilities a mission room had been established by the end of the nineteenth century, and this eventually became Windmill Hill Presbyterian Church. Its congregation must surely never have been large, as no significant residential development was ever to take place in the locality.

The Railway Clearing House Handbook of stations (1904) noted that the station possessed limited goods facilities, and NER 1913 statistics indicate that the principal goods traffic was barley and livestock - 167 wagons of livestock were dispatched that year. The company’s passenger statistics for 1911 refer to the station serving a population of only 277 and 4,612 tickets issued. This booking figure would presumably take no account of golfers travelling to the adjacent course having bought return tickets at their home station.

The winter 1912-13 timetable shows an enhanced service in comparison to 1896, with several Saturday-only calls:


Up trains: weekdays

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

6.59am

Alnwick

8.22am

Berwick

9.29am

Alnwick

11.12am

Berwick

11.07am (Sat only)

Alnwick

1.10pm

Berwick

1.52pm

Alnmouth

2.14pm (Sat only)

Berwick

2.36pm (Sat only)

Alnmouth

4.15pm

Berwick

3.36pm (Sat only)

Alnmouth

5.53pm (Sat only)

Berwick

5.24pm

Alnmouth

9.45pm

Berwick

8.21pm

Newcastle

-

-

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

6.35am

Newcastle

10.37am

Berwick

6.06pm

Newcastle

9.02pm

Berwick

In January 1923 the North Eastern Railway lines were transferred to the newly-formed London & North Eastern Railway (LNER), and this probably had little impact on Goswick station. It is thought that the LNER fitted its own running-in nameboards on each platform, but the NER oil lanterns were retained. Even though this was a station of relatively little importance by 1940 the Goswick stationmaster had charge of Scremerston, the neighbouring station on the way to Berwick, which handled very little passenger traffic. The winter 1937-38 timetable provided a similar frequency of Monday-to-Friday departures, but the additional calls on Saturday had been discontinued.


Up trains: weekdays

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

7.36am

Alnwick

8.38am

Kelso

8.46am

Alnmouth

11.13am

Berwick

1.41pm

Newcastle

2.06pm

Berwick

3.32pm

Alnmouth

6.10pm

Berwick

4.51pm

Alnmouth

8.31pm

Berwick

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

6.29am

Newcastle

10.19am

Berwick

5.49pm

Newcastle

11.43am #

Berwick

-

-

8.47pm

Berwick

# Limited stop train

Goswick was one of the stations on the ECML in northern Northumberland which closed to passengers on 5 May 1941; elsewhere in Great Britain closures during World War II were uncommon. However on 7 October 1946 the station reopened, but Sunday services were not restored.

On 26 October 1947 a major rail accident occurred near Goswick .The ‘Flying Scotsman’ express from Edinburgh Waverley to London Kings Cross failed to slow down for a diversion and at 12.47pm was derailed and 28 people were killed. The train was scheduled to divert from the main fast line to the goods loop because of engineering work on the fast line. However, the driver failed to respond to the signals in advance of the diversion and took the 15 mph restricted turnout at approximately 60 mph. The engine, A3 No.66 ‘Merry Hampton’, and most of the train derailed and overturned. The driver, fireman and guard had all, for various reasons, failed to read the notice of the diversion posted at Haymarket depot. The driver, who was held principally at fault, had also taken an unauthorised passenger on to the footplate who may have distracted his attention. He claimed to have missed the distant signal owing to smoke from the engine obscuring his view. The home signal was at clear to allow the train to draw up slowly to the points; the signalman could not judge the speed of the train until it was too late, and was exonerated of any blame. Goswick station house was used as a triage point for the injured whilst the Presbyterian church in the goods yard was used as a mortuary.

This was the last major accident to occur on British railways before their nationalisation on 1 January 1948. On nationalisation Goswick was assigned to British Railways’ North Eastern Region.

The summer 1950 timetable was sparse, but the Thursday-only southbound call by a semi-fast train was a new introduction (no earlier than 1949). This might have been related to activities at Berwick Golf Club – adjacent to Goswick station, as noted earlier – and passengers who had arrived from Berwick on this train could return (on any weekday) in the early evening. The timetable would allow the few residents within the catchment area of Goswick station to visit Berwick market on a Saturday morning or spend a couple of hours shopping in Newcastle on Thursday or Saturday.

Summer 1950


Up trains: weekdays

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

7.30am

Newcastle

10.03am

Berwick

12.38pm (Thurs only)#

Newcastle

6.17pm (Mon-Fri)

Berwick

1.06pm (Sat only) #

Newcastle

6.23pm (Sat only)

Berwick

5.09pm

Newcastle

-

-

No Sunday departures

-

No Sunday service

-

#  Limited stop train

Goswick’s final summer timetable 1958 was decidedly unbalanced, with one southbound departure on Thursday and Saturday only when semi-fast trains called at the station, but two northbound calls on each weekday:


Up trains: weekdays

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

12.04pm (Thurs only)#

Newcastle

9.48am

Berwick

1.25pm (Sat only)#

Newcastle

6.15pm (Mon-Fri)

Berwick

-

-

7.01pm (Sat only)

Berwick

No Sunday departures

-

No Sunday service

-

#  Limited stop train

Goswick was one of ten stations between Newcastle and Berwick to close to passengers on 15 September 1958. The North Eastern Region timetable, which for several years had meticulously noted closures when they occurred and provided information on bus services that could be used instead, ended this practice with the winter 1958-59 timetable and made no reference to the many newly closed stations. Some of them remained, in error, on the regional map, but Goswick station’s name was removed and the circle representing it was almost erased. Because of this regrettable change in policy it is not known if any buses were available for the stranded Goswick residents. United (a bus company ‘associated’ with British Railways) shows no services to Goswick on the accompanying map.

 Goods services lingered on at Goswick until 10 April 1964. The signal box remained in use after the station closed. It had received a new 26-lever frame in June 1958. On 20 and 21 August 1966 the up and down slow lines (formerly known as the ‘Independents’) between Goswick and Beal were abandoned. The traditional gates were replaced with barriers on 10 December 1978, and by 1979 only three levers remained in the signal box frame. The box closed on 28 March 1982 and henceforth the crossing was supervised by CCTV from Tweedmouth.  The brick base of the signal box was retained as a relay room.

It is thought that the platforms and the buildings on them were demolished in the 1960s, but the end-wall of the booking office building remained in place until at least 1972, and in 1981 the back wall of the down platform was intact and several lamp posts and empty lantern cradles stood on the fragments of the platform. Parts of the wall survive in 2015. The station house is still in residential use. A lengthy goods platform with ramp, excellently preserved and carpeted by grass, can be seen north-west of the station building.

Click here for a brief history of the East Coast Main Line
in Northumberland.

Tickets from Michael Stewart. United bus map from Alan Young. Route maps drawn by Alan Young

Click here for information from David Middlemas about the use of Goswick Sands in WW2.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

  • Addyman, John F (Editor) A history of the Newcastle & Berwick Railway (North Eastern Railway Association, 2011) – especially Chapter 5 ‘The buildings’ by Bill Fawcett
  • Biddle, Gordon  Victorian stations (David & Charles, 1973)
  • Fawcett, Bill A history of North Eastern Railway architecture Vol 1: The Pioneers (North Eastern Railway Association 2001)
  • Young, Alan Railways in Northumberland (Martin Bairstow, 2003)
  • Hoole, K    Railway stations of the North East (David & Charles 1985)

See other ECML stations:
Tweedmouth, Scremerston, Beal, Smeafield, Crag Mill, Belford, Lucker, Newham, Fallodon, Christon Bank, Little Mill,
Longhoughton, Lesbury, Warkworth, Longhirst, Ashington Colliery Junction, Morpeth, Stannington, Plessey, Annitsford (1st), Annitsford (2nd), Killingworth, Forest Hall, Heaton (2nd), Heaton (1st), Durham, Croft Spa, Eryholme, Otterington, Alne & Tollerton


Goswick station, looking north-west from the down platform in 1958. This was the year when the station closed to passengers and it is not known whether this view shows it just before or just after closure. The brick structures in the foreground are the gents’ toilet and, beyond it – with the pitched roof – the building containing the booking office and waiting room. Beyond the level crossing the up platform has a timber building in which there was a waiting room and possibly a store. The 1901-built signal box is on the right. The chimneystacks and roof of the station house are visible beyond the down platform buildings (left) and in the background is one of the railway cottages. The goods siding was placed between the station house and the down main line, and there appears to be a wagon standing on it. The station remained oil-lit until it closed, and several of the NER-pattern lanterns are on the platforms and at the crossing.
Copyreight photo from Stations UK


1866 1: 2,500 OS map. Until 1898 Goswick station was known by the North Eastern Railway as Wind Mill Hill. The Ordnance Survey version was ‘Windmillhill’. The station has not been seen in a public timetable before November 1870, but four years earlier it is marked and named on this map. It was possibly used, unadvertised, by market day trains before it officially became a public station. The station house (originally used by the crossing keeper) is shown south-west of the double-track main line, but a long siding runs from the down line north-west of the station and ends in front of the house. No platforms are shown on this map, but the position of the siding would prevent the down platform from being installed north-west of the crossing – thus it was built on the other side of the crossing while the up platform was located opposite the station house, north-west of the crossing

1898 1: 2,500 OS map. This was the year when the station’s name would change from Windmillhill [sic] to Goswick, taking its new name from the links golf course which opened in 1890 and whose club house is shown about 200yd east of the station; the golf course took its name from a hamlet about a mile south-east of the station. The platforms are shown at the station, and their arrangement is ‘staggered’ with the down (northbound) south-east of the level crossing and the up one to the north-west. The platform buildings are also shown though the up platform building is indistinct. The siding between the station building and the down main line is still shown and a goods platform can be seen, approached by a roadway which also gives access to two semidetached cottages and a Mission Room – surely with little prospect of a large congregation in such an isolated spot.

1924 1: 2,500 map. The principal changes to railway features since the 1898 map are the station name – now Goswick – and the addition of a signal box (in 1901) on the up side, south-east of the level crossing. The platforms and buildings are represented with greater clarity than on the earlier map. The goods siding is still in place in front of the station house. The Mission Room is now shown to be a Presbyterian church. A house has been built across the road from the station.

Goswick signal box, looking north from a down train on 12 August 1969. This box was built in 1901 on the up side of the tracks, replacing an earlier one which was probably on the down side. The box seen here is an N2 design brick box but with an N4 roof. The up platform stood beyond the level crossing, but appears to have been demolished.
Photo by Alan Brown

Goswick station looking north-west from a down train on 5 September 1972. In the foreground are the remains of the down platform, retaining its back wall, a lamp post and cradle and a wall of the former office building. Beyond the level crossing is the station building with its pitched slate roof and chimneystacks.
Photo by Alan Young

Goswick signal box, looking east over the level crossing c1970s. The box would close in 1982.
Photo by John Hinson from The Signal Box web site

The station building at Goswick looking north-west from the level crossing in August 1981. It was constructed by the Newcastle & Berwick Railway in 1847. Its design closely resembled the building at Smeafield , six miles south, which also began its life as a gate keeper’s cottage before a passenger station was added and the building became the stationmaster’s house. Although it is much smaller and lacking the flamboyance of the buildings at the original N&B stations it shares with them the sandstone construction, the raised gables and kneelers at the edge of the gables. As built the structure will also have been given decorative ball finials on the gable crests and the ground floor canted bay would definitely not have had the ‘picture windows’ seen on this photograph. A goods siding used to extend in front of the station building and it served the ramped platform, seen far right. Brick-built semidetached cottages, constructed in NER days, are seen beyond the station building.
Photo by Alan Young

The remains of the down platform at Goswick station, looking south from the level crossing in August 1981. The platform face and much of the back-fill have been removed, but the back wall and four lamp posts, still with lantern cradles, survive. A platelayers’ hut is beyond the end of the former platform. In the distance are the Kyloe Hills/
Photo by Alan Young

Looking south from the level crossing at the remains of Goswick station’s down platform in July 2015 The red brickwork is the back of the booking office building and the cream-coloured brickwork beyond, largely obscured by vegetation, is the back wall of the platform.
Photo by Terry Callaghan

The electrified East Coast main line, looking north-west from Goswick level crossing in July 2015. The up platform of Goswick station was formerly to the right of the tracks, where the warning sign is now placed. The station building can be seen on the far left
Photo by Terry Callaghan

The station building at Goswick looking north-west from the level crossing in July 2015. It was constructed by the Newcastle & Berwick Railway in 1847. Its design closely resembled the building at Smeafield , six miles south, which also began its life as a gate keeper’s cottage before a passenger station was added and the building became the stationmaster’s house. Although it is much smaller and lacking the flamboyance of the buildings at the original N&B stations it shares some of their architectural features. A goods siding used to extend in front of the station building. Two railway cottages (far right) are partially obscured by vegetation.
Photo by Terry Callaghan

The former goods yard platform loading bank , seen in July 2015, is still well preserved at Goswick. It stands a few yards north-west of the old station house.



 

 

 

[Source: Alan Young]



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