Station Name: HUNWICK

[Source: Nick Catford & Roy Lambeth]

Date opened: 1.4.1857
Location: On the south side of Station Road
Company on opening: North Eastern Railway
Date closed to passengers: 4.5.1964
Date closed completely: 4.5.1964
Company on closing: British Rail (North Eastern Region)
Present state: The main station building survives as a private residence along with a section of degraded platform. The booking office has been enlarged with an upper floor in brick.
County: Durham
OS Grid Ref: NZ199327
Date of visit: June 1968 & 27.6.2005

Notes: Hunwick station had two facing platforms on the south side of the Station Road level crossing. The main station building was on the down platform and built of stone. It comprised a two storey stationmaster's house at right angles to the platform with an adjacent single storey booking office. There was another stone building on the down platform adjacent to the crossing; this contained waiting rooms and toilets. There was a timber waiting room on the up platform. The two platforms were spanned by a a lattice footbridge at the north end of the platform. At some time before 1920, the platforms were lengthened. The goods yard comprised a single siding running behind the up platform from the south. The station only had basic goods facilities, handling general goods and parcels but not livestock.

In 1911 the station served a local population of 3143 with 40982 tickets being issued that year. On the north side of the level crossing at Hunwick sidings served Hunwick Colliery and Hunwick Tilery and Brickworks. A signal box on the north side of the crossing on the up side controlled access to the goods yard and colliery and brickworks sidings. In 1911 14030 bricks, 11366 tons of clay/gannister and 4847 sanitary tubes were despatched from the works. By 1920 the brickworks had closed and the sidings had been lifted. Hunwick Colliery closed on 20 August 1921 although some of the sidings were retained as part of a mineral line serving Newfield and other local collieries with connections to Crook and Spennymoor. Freight facilities were withdrawn from Hunwick on 15 September1958

The first railway to Bishop Auckland opened in 1843 as an extension of The Stockton & Darlington Railway from South Church to The Wear Valley and the town eventually developed into an important interchange point with lines radiating to all parts of the railway network including Darlington, Crook (until 1939 this was a through route to Swalwell on Tyneside via Tow Law, Consett Steel Works [Derwent Iron Co], Shotley Bridge and the Derwent Valley) & Weardale, Spennymoor, Barnard Castle and Durham. The station was unusual in shape being triangular, it was no problem if a locomotive needed turning.

The line between Bishop Auckland and Durham opened to freight 19.8.1856 and to passengers on 1.4.1857 with three intermediate stations at Hunwick, Willington and Brancepeth. A forth station serving Brandon Colliery was added on 1861. To the North the branch joined the ECML at Rellymill Junction South of Durham where a line also trailed in from the
left from the Lanchester Valley and Consett. Deerness Valley Junction sited just south of Rellymill Junction on the Bishop Auckland line was a three way junction with the Waterhouses branch trailing in from the west and a spur to Lanchester Valley and Consett leaving to the North-West.

The line also served a number of collieries including Hunwick Colliery with a line to Newfield Colliery and Brickworks from Hunwick Station, West Hunwick Colliery, Rough Lea Colliery, Willington and Sunnybrow Collieries via a link to The West Durham Railway, Brancepeth Colliery (with a colliery line to Oakenshaw Colliery), Brandon Colliery (with a colliery line to Brandon Pit House Colliery).

The line was occasionally used by mainline express traffic diverting to avoid engineering works between Darlington and Durham.

The Sunderland - Durham - Bishop Auckland passenger service ceased in May 1964 although it was re-opened for one day in July 1964 for Miners Gala trains from Brandon, Waterhouses, Ushaw Moor and Fencehouses and a few other stations. Freight facilities were withdrawn from Brancepeth, Willington & Brandon Colliery from 10.8.1964 (Hunwick lost its
freight service in 1958) although the line remained in use for freight for a further four years.

Since closure, Rellymill Junction to Deerness Valley Junction has been incorporated into a realigned East Coast Main Line which has had its curve eased to increase line speed. Much of the remainder of the line has now been converted into the 9.5 mile Brandon - Bishop Auckland Railway Path. The path begins at Broompark Picnic Area. It passes through the villages of Brandon, Brancepeth and Willington before reaching its end at the Newton Cap Viaduct, near Bishop Auckland. The Durham platforms at Bishop Auckland have gone and the site is now a Halfords store.

Further reading: Durham's Railways by Charlie Emett - Sutton Publishing 1999
ISBN: 0750920769. Tickets from Michael Stewart

To see the other stations on the Bishop Auckland - Durham branch line click on the station name: Bishop Auckland, Willington, Brancepeth & Brandon Colliery

Hunwick Station in the early 20th C
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

1897 1:2,500 OS map shows Hunwick station before the platforms were lengthened. The small goods yard is seen behind the up platform while the more extensive colliery and brickworks sidings are seen to the north of the station.

1921 1:2,500 OS map shows Hunwick station after the platforms and goods sidings were lengthened. Hunwick brickworks has closed and the sidings have been lifted. Hunwick colliery closed that year.

1939 1:2,500 OS map. The colliery sidings have been retained as part of a long mineral line serving a number of local collieries and linking to Crook and Spennymoor.

Hunwick Station looking north in 1938
Photo received from Steve Guest (grandson of Hunwick Stationmaster 1935-39).

Hunwick Station looking south in 1938. The rise in the height of the platform is where
the platform was extended.
Photo received from Steve Guest (grandson of Hunwick Stationmaster 1935-39).

Hunwick station waiting room on the up platform, the platform extension is clearly visible on the right.

A large crowd leaving a northbound train at Hunwick station in the early 1950s. The exact occasion is not known but it is believed to be a special train bringing back spectators from the Amateur Cup Final at Wembley, either when Bishop Auckland had played Willington in 1950 or Crook in 1954.
Photo received from Robert Raine

Hunwick station looking south in June 1968.
Photo by Nick Catford

Hunwick station looking south in August 1985.
Photo by John Mann

Hunwick station in June 2005.
hoto by Nick Catford

Click on thumbnail to enlarge




[Source: Nick Catford & Roy Lambeth]

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