Station Name: MANORS EAST
Manors East station is still open but is included for completeness

[Source: Alan Young]
Date opened: 30 August 1850
Location: East of Trafalgar Street and north of Melbourne Street
Company on opening: York Newcastle & Berwick Railway.
Date closed to passengers: Still open
Date closed completely: Still open
Company on closing: Still open
Present state: A new, shorter island platform (7 & 8) has been built and is still open. The abandoned sections of platform 7 & 8 and the adjacent platform 9 are extant but devoid of all buildings. The subways and stairs beneath platform 7 & 8 are also still extant but is being (2005) converted into a restaurant.
County: Northumberland
OS Grid Ref: NZ253643
Date of visit: 1984 & 9.7.2005

Notes: Known by local people as ‘The Manors’, the name refers to the area on the edge of Newcastle’s city centre which was almost obliterated by the station as it grew into an extravagant nine-platform affair. Passengers travelling from Newcastle towards Benton gained a vivid impression of the station’s vastness, as first the Coast Circle via Wallsend platforms (8 and 9) curved away, followed by the East Coast main line platforms (6 and 7), before the train drew in to platform 1, with numbers 2 (for trains from Benton to Newcastle) and 3 to 5 (for Blyth and Newbiggin services) to the right. Today a single island platform on the East Coast main line is all that remains. From 1909 until 1969 Manors was officially two separate stations – East and North – but the latter closed in January 1978.

An Act of Parliament on 21 June 1836 authorized the construction of the Newcastle & North Shields Railway (N&NS) which opened on 20 June 1839. The Newcastle terminus was intended to be at Pilgrim Street but, owing to the possibility of a central Newcastle station being provided for all railways serving the city, the N&NS ended a short distance to
the north-east. A temporary terminus opened close to Carliol Square: known as ‘Newcastle’, this was effectively the first Manors (East) station. Its buildings were not finished until 1842. In July 1846 the Newcastle & Berwick Railway (N&B) absorbed the N&NS, and used the existing North Shields route for about 1½ miles to Heaton Junction for its line which opened as far as Morpeth on 1 March 1847. In August 1847 the N&B amalgamated with the York & Newcastle Railway to form the York, Newcastle & Berwick Railway. From another junction on the east side of Trafalgar Street the N&B pushed further into the city centre, to a junction with the Newcastle and Darlington line at the new Central station on 30 August 1850. The former ‘Manors’ terminus was retained as a coal depot, and a new through station was constructed above Trafalgar Street, on the site of the later platforms 6 and 7. This had an office building on the down side, in the angle of the junction. Access between platforms was through one of the arches of the new viaduct. The platforms were extended and given extensive roofing in 1872-3.

In 1864 the Blyth & Tyne Railway (B&T) entered Newcastle from the north, opening its New Bridge Street terminus about 300yd north of Manors. This station would eventually, in 1909, be superseded by Manors (North). The North Eastern Railway (NER), which absorbed the York, Newcastle & Berwick Railway (as the N&B had become) in 1854 went on, twenty years later, to absorb the B&T.

As traffic grew, the two miles between Newcastle and Heaton, through Manors, became congested. In 1887 the route was quadrupled, and Manors was remodelled. The old down platform and building were retained (as platform 1) but a long island platform (2 and 3, later re-numbered 7 and 8) replaced the old up one, and platform 4 (later 9) was added, its tall, 3-
storey curving frontage following the line of Melbourne Street. Shop units occupied the street level space, with waiting rooms at platform level. The enlarged station required a labyrinth of passages and stairways beneath it - likened by one reviewer to the fictional Castle Gormenghast. Access to the platform from Melbourne Street involved ascent of a lengthy staircase; part way up the staircase a tunnel led off to the other platforms. Robust, slate-and-glass canopies were carried on ornate Gothic columns and spandrel brackets. Platforms 2 and 3 (later 7 and 8) had ridge-and-furrow roofing with hipped ends, carried on two lines of columns, sheltering a timber office range including a booking office, towards its south-western end, and waiting rooms. On platform 4 (later 9) the roof ridge ran along the platform. Quadrupling of the line between Manors and Newcastle Central was completed in 1894.

The next significant development was beside the railway rather than on it. In 1901 Manors power station opened to supply electricity to the city's tramway system. This competition stimulated not only the electrification of the existing railway lines between the city and the coast but also the eventual construction of the Manors-New Bridge Street link with new platforms at Manors (North) which opened on 1 July 1909.

The extensions to Manors were on a generous scale. Two through platforms (1and 2) and three bays (3, 4 and 5) made up Manors (North): the older platforms became Manors (East), numbered 6 to 9. The new line came across the corner of Trafalgar Street bridge on girders, then over the site of the Newcastle & Berwick station building which was replaced with an office
range adjoining platform 1. The North station building, approached from Trafalgar Street, was set back behind a wide, triangular forecourt. It also served the existing Manors (East) because from the booking hall a staircase led down to a subway to platforms 2 and 3, from which platforms 4 and 5 of Manors (North) and platform 6 of Manors (East) were then directly accessible; a parcels subway and lifts were also provided. A footbridge linked all platforms, stretching from the ‘up’ end of platform 1 to serve island platform 7 and 8 of Manors (East) and finally the ‘down’ end of Manors (East) platform 9.  There was access to the station from New Bridge Street over-bridge at the north end of platforms 1 and 2. A long, covered ramp delivered passengers to the exterior of the main building, whilst covered flights of stairs led to platform 2/3. This facility was possibly already disused when it was damaged by fire in the early-1960s. Extensive glazed roofing sheltered the new ‘North’ platforms. The new station roofing lent a light, airy atmosphere to Manors (North) in contrast to the more gloomy platforms of Manors (East). William Bell was Chief Architect of the North Eastern Railway from 1877 until 1914, when these major changes were made to Manors station.

As noted earlier, electrification of the Newcastle tramways, spurred the NER to ‘fight the devil with fire’: the company electrified the route from Newcastle Central to New Bridge Street via Wallsend / Carville and Tynemouth using a 600v DC third rail system and increased the frequency of the service. From 1909 electric trains were introduced through the new
Manors (North), travelling to Benton, but the traditional ‘Coast Circle’ electric service, starting and terminating at Newcastle Central, did not begin until 1917. Electric services continued until 17 June 1967, diesel multiple units having been gradually phased in to replace the fleet of electric trains that had been operating since 1937.

Although in practice one station, and the nameboards bore the name ‘Manors’, the old and new parts were officially Manors East and North from 1 January 1909 until 20 February 1969. Some tickets referred to East and North, as did LNER timetables until June 1947. In British Railways days working timetables still distinguished East from North. Public timetables indicated by footnotes that express services from Monkseaton via the East Coast main line called at the East rather than the North platforms.

On a typical weekday in the early-1960s, outside rush hours, an electric multiple unit called every twenty minutes to the Coast via Benton (platform 1), and to the coast via Wallsend (platform 8); from the Coast via Benton (platform 2) and from the coast via Wallsend (platform 9), totalling twelve services per hour. Rush-hour Coast Circle services were frequent but at
irregular intervals, and occasional services to and from the ‘Riverside Branch’ (the St Peters and Carville route) and Blyth / Newbiggin used the station too. On Saturdays the Blyth / Newbiggin services operated at hourly intervals, terminating in platforms 3, 4, or 5, rather than using Central station. By the early 1960s these were diesel multiple units, though the first working of the day - originating at Newcastle Central, travelling to Newbiggin, then returning to Manors – was steam-hauled and conveyed mail and parcels. Platforms 6 and 7 had irregular express EMU workings to and from the Coast via the East Coast main line and Benton SE Curve, as well as DMUs to and from Alnwick. Some steam-or diesel-hauled ‘semi-fast’ Berwick and Edinburgh services called at Manors, but main line expresses did not call. A variety of goods traffic also passed through Manors, and goods services on the ¾-mile Quayside Branch, electrified with overhead equipment - but third rail in and just outside its tunnels - terminated here. The Quayside branch went over to diesel haulage on 29 February 1964 and closed on 16 June 1969. For many years after, the poles to support the electric wiring remained on Manors (East) platforms.

The variety of passenger services began to decline when, on 2 November 1964, Blyth / Newbiggin trains were withdrawn, making Manors (North) platforms 3 to 5 redundant. The few Riverside Branch trains ceased from 23 July 1973. Much more significantly trains were withdrawn permanently from Manors (North) when the Coast service via Benton ended on 23 January 1978 in preparation for Metro works: Coast trains via Wallsend continued to use Manors (East) until 11 August 1980. On 14 November 1982 a regular local passenger service resumed at Manors, but using the new underground Metro station on the Newcastle to Coast route.

Until the mid-1970s Manors was busy and well maintained; in 1967, 201,173 tickets were issued there, increasing in 1972 to 346,217 when the Coast Circle services were revitalized in the Tynerider promotion of 1970. The North Eastern Region’s favourite ‘oriental blue’ paint was applied to iron columns and woodwork - though this did not really
blend with the tangerine signage! LNER electric ‘mint imperial’ design lamps hung from the roofing of the North station, or were carried on hooped standards on the open platforms. Small LNER name tablets accompanied the lamps: tangerine BR ‘totem’ signs were, sadly, never fitted. Under the East station roofing the electric lighting had LNER brick-shaped diffusers bearing the station name. Tall, vandal-proof lamps arrived in 1971, and ‘corporate identity’ black-and-white signage followed in 1973.

From August 1980 only some thirty local services on the East Coast main line called at Manors, but the number dwindled by winter 2010 to four southbound on Mondays-to-Fridays (two on Saturdays) and four northbound on Mondays-to-Saturdays, with no Sunday services.

The near-extinction of Manors (East) passenger services was accompanied by a dramatic contraction of the station. By late-1979 the tracks had been removed from the North platforms, and demolition of the buildings was advanced. By Easter 1980 the only old buildings remaining were on ‘local’ platforms 1 and 9. Northbound passengers wishing to catch local trains on the main line had to make do with a crude, breezeblock shelter, while southbound passengers – if there were any – and Coast-bound passengers, who shared platforms 7 and 8, had to shelter in the subway. In September 1985 the once-dignified entrance building on platform 1 was being demolished. The cupola, stripped of its clock, rose proudly above the crumbling remains of the booking hall. On the façade a tangerine British Rail Manors sign was still fixed to the gable in front of the turret, accompanied by a modern British Rail sign, reassuring doubters that trains still called. Access to the station was afforded by a lengthy footbridge over the ‘Central Motorway East’. On reaching the unstaffed station the would-be passenger had to navigate through the roofless North booking hall, avoiding chunks of fallen masonry, then along the rubble-strewn former platform 1, overhung by roofing supports awaiting demolition. Beyond this a causeway crossed the old track-bed to platform 2. To catch a train to Newcastle Central a footbridge then had to be crossed.

By 1991 Manors (East) possessed one shortened island platform, with overhead wires installed for the main line electrification. The Technopole Business Park on the site of Manors North, and extending into the space between the North and East stations, might have been expected to justify an improved train service at the surviving platform, but the frequent services at the
nearby Manors Metro underground station probably meet workers’ needs.

Recently Manors station has attracted much interest, with lively LNER Encyclopedia blog-site discussions on its every feature. Perhaps the use of its gloomy subway and the long staircase in East station leading to Melbourne Street as a film set in the 1971 cult movie Get Carter, starring Michael Caine, is part of its mystique. Contributors seem amazed that so little remains of such a vast and formerly important transport facility. After years of a minimal peak-hour service, in summer 2011 trains began to call at Manors at hourly intervals, suggesting that the station in its greatly reduced form might have a future.

Tickets from Michael Stewart, 1950 Bradshaw from Nick Catford. Station plan drawn by Alan Young.

Click here for the transcript of W. Fawcett's history of Manors Station

See also Manors North

A goods service steams through Manors East towards Newcastle in 1955. 61014 is seen carrying a class D freight headcode. This loco was built in December 1946 at Darlington works for the LNER. It carried the name 'Oribi' and had a working life of just less than 20 years, when it was withdrawn from 52F, North Blyth Shed in December 1966 and was scrapped by Hughes Bolkcows in March 1967

1940 1:2,500 OS Map. Manors (North) and (East) – simply described as ‘Manors Station’ - are shown at their full extent. North station’s five platforms can be seen, with glazed roofing (shown as cross-hatching) covering much of the area. The main building and its triangular forecourt are at the western margin of the station, with access from Trafalgar Street. Further entrances can also be seen: the subway from Trafalgar Street from which passengers emerged by a flight of steps to platforms 2 and 3; and the long, covered ramp immediately west of the site which led from New Bridge Street and delivered passengers to the main entrance.

60135 is seen working an express passenger train through Manors East in 1955. This Pacific was designed by AH Peppercorn and built at Darlington Works by the fledgling British Railways in 1948.. One of a class of 49, it carried the name 'Madge Wildfire' and had quite a short working life, it was withdrawn after less than 14 years from 56B, Ardsley shed on 12 November 1962 and scrapped at Doncaster works in May 1963. The well publicised A1 new build Tornado, is the sole representative of the class, all the original examples were cut up just after withdrawal.

An A4 relegated to freight duties enters platform 8 at Manors East in 1963

Manors (East) looking west from platform 4 c1973.
Photo from John Mann collection

Manors (East) platforms 8 and 9 looking west in December 1977.
Photo by Alan Lewis from his Flickr photostream

Deltic-hauled down main line train at platform 6, looking west from the east end of
platform 7 in December 1979
Photo by Alan Lewis from his Flickr photostream

Manors (East) looking south in November 1979. Demolition of the buildings and platform roofing is under way on platforms 7 and 8'
Photo by Alan Lewis from his Flickr photostream

Manors (East) looking south-west. Demolition of the roofing is in progress on
platform 6 in November 1979
Photo by Alan Lewis from his Flickr photostream

A HST passes through the southbound platform at Manors East in 1984.
hoto by Keith Ward

Manors Station looking north-west in August 2004 as an express passes through on the East Coast main line bound for Newcastle.
hoto by Robert Clark

Looking south towards Newcastle in June 2005. The new island platform is in the foreground with the remains of the original platforms 7, 8 & 9 in the background.
hoto by Ray Byrne

Manors Station in July 2005 - the new platform 7 & 8 can be seen on the right, a section of the old platform 7 can also be seen on the far right. The remaining section of Platform 1 can be seen to the right of the small brick building on the left.
hoto by Mike Brady

The original platform 7, 8, 9 at Manors East looking south-west in July 2005
Photo by Mike Brady

For more pictures of Manors East station click here

[Source: Alan Young]

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