Station Name: LUCKER

[Source: Alan Young]


Date opened:

29.3.1847

Location:

North of the level crossing on the B1341 road

Company on opening:

Newcastle & Berwick Railway

Date closed to passengers:

5.5.1941; reopened 7.10.1946; closed again 2.2.1953

Date closed completely: 7.6.1965
Company on closing:

Passengers (1941): London & North Eastern Railway
Passengers (1953): British Railways (North Eastern Region)
Goods (1965): British Rail (North Eastern Region)

Present state:

Passenger platforms and buildings demolished. Goods loading bank is standing immediately south-east of the level crossing on the up side. The signal box base, south-east of crossing on down side, is retained as a relay room.

County: Northumberland
OS Grid Ref: NU153310
Date of visit: September 1972

Notes: Lucker was quite remarkable as station of no importance yet possessing a building magnificent both in size and decoration; some of Britain’s towns were given inferior station buildings. Lucker was favoured because of a covenant made between George Hudson, who controlled the N&B, and Hugh, 3rd Duke of Northumberland. The Duke owned substantial stretches of land that the railway would cross, and he insisted that Lucker, which served the coastal townships of Bamburgh and North Sunderland, should be a ‘first-class station’, together with Warkworth, a ducal domain , and the station at the Alnwick branch junction. (See Fawcett in Addyman [Ed] 2011).

Lucker was one of the original stations provided on the East Coast main line when it was opened in 1847. The route through northern Northumberland crossed lightly populated countryside, failing to serve any of the area’s villages conveniently as it followed as direct and gently graded a route as possible northward to Berwick. The village of Lucker was about half-a-mile south-west of its station. The well-known, picturesque coastal village of Bamburgh, capital of the medieval kingdom of Northumbria and dominated by its heavily restored castle, was about four miles east of the station.  Although Lucker was the closest station to Bamburgh, the next station north at Belford was officially recognised as ‘Belford, for Bamburgh’.

Lucker station was provided with a characteristically opulent Tudor/Jacobean Newcastle & Berwick Railway building, and was among the finest of them. It was built of buff-coloured sandstone with a smooth ashlar finish, and it possessed two storeys. The N&B station building plan was most commonly H-shaped, as seen for example at Longhirst and Killingworth; the other plan, with a projecting centre on the platform elevation and a two-storey canted bay corbelled out to carry the gable above, was seen at Chathill and Stannington. Fawcett (2001) notes that both of these plans were combined with impressive effect at Lucker, yet the elaboration did not result in any great increase in the cost, which was £1219 compared with £1119 for Chathill. The platform elevation was further enhanced by gabled windows on either side of the projecting centre which, like the other gables, received the N&B decoration of ball finials. The gables ended with prominent kneelers, and the roofline was enlivened by tall chimneystacks. The forecourt elevation lacked the projecting central section, but the two gabled windows seen on the platform frontage were repeated facing the forecourt. From the northern wing a single-storey ridge-roofed section, reminiscent of local rustic cottages, extended perpendicular to the main building’s alignment and it continued further west with a lower roof. Each of the roofs was surmounted by a chimneystack. Altogether, the composition of the station building was fascinating.

The main building was on the down (south-west) platform, and on the opposite, facing platform was the standard pent-roof stone waiting shelter, the slope of the roof being down towards the platform edge. It is understood that the shelter was originally open but that here, as at other ECML stations in Northumberland, the North Eastern Railway closed it in with a timber-and-glass front.
In May 1849 the frequency of Lucker’s train service was shared with the other minor ECML stations in Northumberland and was provided by what had become the York, Newcastle & Berwick Railway (YNB). Between Newcastle and Berwick only Morpeth, Acklington, Lesbury (for Alnwick), Belford and Tweedmouth were served by more trains.


Up trains: weekdays

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

7.55am

Newcastle

9.05am

Berwick

11.25am

Newcastle

3.43pm

Berwick

6.08pm

Newcastle

5.53pm

Berwick

-

-

8.58pm

Berwick

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

7.41am

Newcastle

9.16am

Berwick

5.56pm

Newcastle

8.18pm

Berwick

From 1854 the YNB was one of the constituents of the new North Eastern Railway, the company which operated Lucker station until the ‘Grouping’ of 1923. The NER provided the following service in February 1863:


Up trains: weekdays

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

6.57am

Newcastle

8.56am (Sat only)

Berwick

12.32pm

Newcastle

11.18am

Berwick

6.02pm

Newcastle

3.38pm

Berwick

-

-

8.50pm

Berwick

Up train: Sunday

Destination

Down train: Sunday

Destination

7.05am

Newcastle

8.36pm

Berwick

The signal box at Lucker was constructed by the North Eastern Railway in 1873, replacing a ‘Ground Cabin’. It was located south-east of the level crossing on the down side of the line and was an N1 design with a stone base and a special low window for the crossing.

By the 1870s Lucker had freight handling facilities both to the north-west and south-east of the level crossing. On the down side, north-west of the crossing, were four sidings trailing from the main line, two of which served the coal depot.  The goods loading bank and associated sidings were south-east of the crossing on the up side, but there was no goods shed. The Railway Clearing House Handbook of stations (1904) indicates that Lucker could handle the normal full range of goods traffic and was equipped with a 15cwt capacity yard crane. In 1913 NER data refers to barley and livestock as the main goods traffic handled; unusually for northern Northumberland there was no stone traffic.

In March 1898 troughs were installed north of Lucker to enable locomotives of express trains to take up water while travelling at speed, rather than spending idle time at a station using a water crane. With the demise of steam haulage in the 1960s they were taken out of use on 18 August 1969 and subsequently dismantled. One of the photos in the gallery below shows the troughs in place in 1955.

Lucker station did not attract any residential, commercial or industrial development, and in 1911 its catchment area had a population of only 734. In that year 5,567 tickets were issued, over twice the total of neighbouring Newham but nevertheless a low figure in the days before competition from road transport. The train service shown in the North Eastern Railway timetable for winter 1912-13 appears generous for a station which had relatively few passengers:


Up trains: weekdays

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

7.22am

Alnwick

10.19am

Beal

8.08am

Alnwick

12.50pm

Berwick

9.52am

Alnwick

1.50pm (Sat only)

Berwick

11.55am

Alnwick

3.51pm

Berwick

2.15pm

Alnmouth

5.16pm #

Berwick

3.00pm (Sat only)

Alnmouth

5.33pm (Sat only)

Berwick

4.11pm (Sat only)

Alnmouth

(7.18am: arrival)

(Terminates here)

5.59pm

Alnmouth

9.24pm

Berwick

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

6.56am

Newcastle

10.11am

Berwick

6.28pm

Newcastle

8.43pm

Berwick

# Limited stop train
The first northbound departure of the day is shown to run as far as Beal; this train waited at Beal for about half-an-hour, moving off the main line to enable a northbound express to call, before completing its journey to Berwick. Passengers on the 10.19am ex-Lucker could change at Belford or Beal to catch this faster train to Berwick or onward to Edinburgh.

In 1923 the North Eastern Railway ceased to exist and its assets became part of the new London & North Eastern Railway. As an economy measure this little-used station ceased to have its own stationmaster and by the mid 1930s was supervised by Belford. It is likely that the LNER replaced NER nameboards with its own, but no photographic evidence has been seen to support this. The winter 1937-38 timetable, below, shows a similar frequency of trains to the 1912-13 service, except that there was no longer an augmented Saturday service.


Up trains: weekdays

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

8.00am

Alnwick

8.15am

Kelso

9.10am

Alnmouth

10.22am

Beal

2.05pm

Newcastle

1.46pm

Berwick

3.55pm

Alnmouth

3.02pm

Berwick

5.17pm

Alnmouth

5.48pm

Berwick

 

 

8.10pm

Berwick

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

6.52am

Newcastle

9.59am

Berwick

6.10pm

Newcastle

8.24pm

Berwick

Lucker 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  a working timetable effective from 5 May 1941 shows that  a down news/parcels train called at Lucker, and from this date until at least 6 May 1946 there was one call daily northbound and one Saturday-only to set down southbound.  The station reopened on 7 October 1946, but on weekdays only. Lucker became part of the nationalised British Railways’ North Eastern Region on 1 January 1948. The first regional timetable (from 31 May 1948) showed an infrequent weekday-only service with up departures for Newcastle at 7.52am and 5.31pm and down calls at 9.31am (Berwick) and 5.37pm (Edinburgh). In the final summer timetable for summer 1952, below, the up late afternoon departure has been discontinued:


Up train: weekdays

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

7.56am

Newcastle

9.24am

Berwick

-

-

5.36pm (Sat only)

Berwick

-

-

5.50pm (Mon-Fri)

Berwick

No Sunday departures

-

No Sunday departures

-

In 1951 Lucker station sold only 277 tickets – about one per day. Its closure to passengers on 2 February 1953 will have caused little inconvenience to the local populace. Goods traffic continued to be dealt with until 7 June 1965.

The passenger platforms at Lucker were removed c1959 and the station building outlasted them for only a short time. It is regrettable that the fine building was demolished in summer 1960, but fortunate that the NER’s historian Ken Hoole was on hand to photograph the vandalism (as seen in the gallery below).  The signal box remained in use, with a new frame at the back of the cabin installed in 1959. The box was decommissioned on 20 August 1978, barriers having replaced gates at the level crossing several weeks earlier, on 3 June. Chathill signal box took over supervision of the crossing by CCTV when Lucker box closed. At Lucker the stone base of the signal box survives as a relay room, and the goods loading bank is extant on the opposite side of the tracks.

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

Route maps drawn by Alan Young. Tickets from Michael Stewart.

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)
  • Quick, Michael   Railway passenger stations in Great Britain: a chronology (RCTS 2009)
  • Clinker, C R    Clinker’s register of closed passenger stations and goods depots (Avon Anglia 1978)

See other ECML stations:
Tweedmouth, Scremerston, Goswick, Beal, Smeafield, Crag Mill, Belford, 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


.Some construction or maintenance work is in progress at Lucker c1900-14. This view looking north-west from the goods loading bank includes the NER signal box, the level crossing and the enormous N&B station building. A small brick-built structure is immediately beyond the crossing; it is not indicated on the 1897 OS map and its purpose is not known
Photo from Philip Hodgetts from Railways of Berwick and the Eastern Borders private Facebook group


1867 1: 2,500 OS map. The station stands alone in the countryside, the village of Lucker being about half-a-mile southwest. The passenger facilities are north-west of the level crossing, with the station building on the south-west (down) platform and a waiting shelter on the opposite platform. The coal depot is served by sidings behind the down passenger platform, and the weigh office (WM=Weighing Machine) is nearby. The goods facilities are on the up side, south-east of the level crossing. No goods shed is provided.

1897 1: 2,500 OS map. The signal box is now shown immediately south-east of the level crossing on the down side of the railway. A pair of semidetached railway cottages has been built south of the station building, but no other habitation has appeared in the vicinity.

1924 1: 2,500 OS map. Little has changed since the map of a quarter of a century earlier. Another railway cottage has been added to the two shown on the previous map, and a building has appeared in the coal depot area behind the cottages. The railway facilities remain in splendid isolation, no housing, commerce or industry having been attracted by the presence of the station.

This and the picture above are the only photographs discovered so far which depict Lucker station while it was open, and this is on a postcard sent in July 1908. The forecourt of the station is shown clearly, with the substantial station building in the ‘Jacobethan’ style dominating the scene. Its smooth, coursed stonework, decorated gables and tall chimneystacks can be enjoyed. The single-storey sections at right angles to the two-storey structure are more in keeping with vernacular cottage architecture.  The presence of a horse and awkwardly loaded cart, attended by a cloth-capped man, seems to have attracted some onlookers. The stone-built waiting shed on the up platform is visible on the right; it has been closed in with timber and glass by the North Eastern Railway.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

Lucker Troughs are seen in August 1955 with Class A1 No.60152 ‘Holyrood’ travelling north.  The troughs were installed between Lucker and Belford stations in March 1898 to enable locomotives of express trains to take up water while travelling at speed, rather than spending idle time at a station using a water crane. With the demise of steam haulage in the 1960s the troughs were taken out of use on 18 August 1969 and subsequently dismantled. The Peppercorn-designed 4-6-2 locomotive was built at the BR(NE) Darlington works in July 1949 and was initially based at 64B, Haymarket shed in Edinburgh. She was withdrawn on 21 June 1965 from 50A, York North shed, to be cut up the following August by Cashmores, Great Bridge.
Photo from J W Armstrong Photographic Trust

Lucker station looking north-west from the level crossing in 1958, five years after it had closed to passengers. The enormous ‘Jacobethan’ station building on the down platform is one of the finest designed by Benjamin Green for the Newcastle & Berwick Railway, and this lavish provision was required by a covenant made between the controller of the Newcastle & Berwick Railway, George Hudson, and the Duke of Northumberland. It combines the pair of projecting wings, found on a number of the N&B stations, with the central projecting bay windows and gable seen at Chathill and Stannington, resulting in a building of great dignity. On the up platform the stone wall of the waiting shelter can be seen, with a lamp standard and empty lantern cradle and a signal post in the foreground. We are fortunate that the photographer visited just in time to record the platforms (which probably were removed in 1959) and the buildings which were demolished in 1960.
Copyright photo from Stations UK

Lucker station looking south from the remains of the up platform, c1959. The down goods train is passing the signal box. Both platforms have been demolished but the station building, whose south-eastern wing is visible, is still in place – but for not much longer.

Demolition of the main building is in progress in July 1960, as an unidentified ‘Type 4’ English Electric diesel loco (later Class 40) hauls an up train through the Lucker station. The NER N1-style signal box – and the signalman - are seen in the left foreground.
Photo by Ken Hoole / NERA

Demolition of the fine station building at Lucker is under way in July 1960. This view is northward from the station forecourt. The single-storey section has already been removed: its imprint can
be seen far left.
Photo by Ken Hoole / NERA

Lucker crossing gates and signal box on the down side of the tracks, looking south c1970. The N1-design box was constructed by the North Eastern Railway in 1873 and was to close in 1978, shortly after the gates were replaced with barriers.

Looking north-west at the site of Lucker station c1971. The site of the down platform is on the left, and a short section of its back wall can be seen. On the right, the up platform has also been demolished.
Photo by John Mann
On 19 May 2009 A4 Pacific (4-6-2) No.60007 ‘Sir Nigel Gresley’ has just surprised the photographer by appearing at Lucker level crossing, hauling a single coach southwards. The derelict goods loading bank is behind the loco. The Gresley-designed locomotive was built at the LNER’s Doncaster works in November 1937, and it first carried the number 4498 but was later renumbered ‘7’. After nearly 30 years of prestige main line service she was withdrawn from 61B, Aberdeen Ferryhill shed, on 1 February 1966. The loco is owned by the Sir Nigel Gresley Preservation Group and has worked on heritage and main line railways.
Photo by Roy Lambeth

The site of Lucker station is seen in this view looking north-west from the level crossing in May 2009/
Photo by Roy Lambeth

The former goods loading bank is still in place south-east of the level crossing on the up side of the main line tracks at Lucker station, but it has been colonised by vegetation. Goods traffic ceased in June 1965 and this photograph was taken in May 2009.
Photo by Roy Lambeth

1977

May 2009

May 2009

May 2009

Click on thumbnail to enlarge


 

 

 

[Source: Alan Young]




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