Station Name: MIDDLETON-IN-TEESDALE

[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: 13.5.1868
Location: North side of B6277
Company on opening: Tees Valley Railway
Date closed to passengers: 30.11.1964
Date closed completely: 5.4.1965
Company on closing:

Passengers: British Railways (North Eastern Region)
Goods: British Rail (North Eastern Region)

Present state: The station is extant within Dale View Caravan Park
County: Yorkshire
OS Grid Ref: NY947248
Date of visit: June 1968 & 1.8.2007

Middleton-in-Teesdale is a small market town in County Durham. It is situated on the north side of Teesdale between Eggleston and Newbiggin, a few miles to the north-north-west of Barnard Castle. The upper Teesdale town expanded in the early nineteenth century when the London Lead Company moved its northern headquarters there from Blanchland in Northumberland.

The North Eastern Railway opened the terminus of its branch from Barnard Castle on 13 May 1868. Although the town was in County Durham the station, which was named Middleton, was in Yorkshire with the River Tees a short distance to the north of the station being the county boundary. The station was provided with a single platform with a run-round loop on the up (north) side of the line.

As built the station was provided with a single-storey range of buildings which included the stationmaster's house which accommodated the booking office and stationmaster's office. At the south-east end of the range there was an open-fronted waiting shed. The goods yard was located at the rear of the platform and comprised a stone goods shed with one siding running through it. Behind the shed there was a small triangular dock with cattle pens. The goods shed road ran along one side of the dock with another siding along the other side. A two-storey timber supplementary shed and goods office stood between the shed and the dock; it is not known if this building was original or a later addition. The 5-ton capacity yard crane stood at the rear of the dock. Another elevated siding served coal drops to the rear of the dock.

There was a signal box was on the down side of the line some distance south-east of the station and 275yd from the buffers at the end of the line; this could control the entrance to the goods yard and Ord & Maddison’s private sidings on the same side as the box.

When the line opened there was no engine shed. In early 1869 it was suggested that a redundant shed at Shildon could be dismantled and re-erected at Middleton, but the NER eventually opted for a new building and a single storey dead-end stone shed was built opposite the station; this opened later in 1869 with the shed road running off the run-round loop. A 45ft turntable was provided on the shed road with a 6000 gallon water tank on a stone base on the north side of the shed road/loop; locomotives were watered directly from the tank. This tank was disused by circa early 1890s with the base being used as a platelayers' hut with a brick chimney passing through the tank being added. It was replaced by a 10,000 gallon tank on the north side of the road c1895. This tank stood on timber pillars and had a water column alongside.

Extensive alterations to the station were authorised on 1 March 1888 at a cost of £1,420. By this date the stationmaster's house had already been substantially extended with the addition of a second storey and a crenellated porch on the platform, as well as a small porch on the opposite side of the house. Part of the existing waiting shed was retained for conversion to an office for the stationmaster. A gap of 15ft was left between the old building and the new range of buildings. The 98ft-long new range was of timber construction with brick chimneys and a pitched slate roof with a glass-fronted verandah facing the platform. The building was similar to that at many other country stations provided by the NER at this time. The station clock was mounted under a small gable in the centre of the verandah. There were two end gables level with the front of the verandah. This range comprised from north-west to south-east: booking hall and mineral and booking office (in the north-west gable), general waiting room, ladies’ first class waiting room, ladies’ second class waiting room. The south-east gable housed porters and lamps and the station boiler to the rear (reached from the south-east end of the building) and the gents’ first class waiting room facing the platform. A short path along the south-east end of the range and alongside the shed road led to a small block comprising a room for foot warmers and the gents’ toilet. The platform was also widened to 30ft at this time and the tracks realigned.

In June 1894 the station was renamed Middleton-in-Teesdale. At an unknown date c1895 a long narrow building with a hipped slate roof and a large skylight was built between the new range and the stationmaster's office. At the rear this building was in line with the rear wall of the stationmaster's office but on the platform side it projected 12ft beyond the 1888 range. This was a builder’s error that gave only an 8ft clearance from the platform edge. A sliding door gave access to the platform with another sliding door onto the station forecourt. This building housed a new booking office and waiting room.

Much of the line’s traffic was stone with interchange facilities at Middleton-in-Teesdale station. Ord & Maddison's Middleton Quarry was opened shortly after the Middleton branch; it lay south-south-east of Middleton Station to which it was linked by a standard gauge half-mile-long reverse with two sidings running across the Mickleton Road. There was a loco shed on the other side of the Mickleton Road. In the early twentieth century, Park End Quarry was opened 1¼ miles north-north-west of Middleton and the Middleton Quarry line was extended to serve it. This was soon abandoned in favour of Crossthwaite Quarry ¼-mile back down the line where the stone was of better quality. Middleton Quarry remained in use until c1930 and Crossthwaite Quarry closed in April 1971, although rail traffic had been replaced by road haulage in 1951; the track was lifted in 1952. The rail network in Middleton Quarry was operated by Ord & Maddison’s own steam locomotives as was the line to Park End Quarry.

Beyond the signal box on the down side another private siding served the London Lead Company's timber works where timber props for the company’s mines were produced. When the London Lead Company left Middleton in the late nineteenth century the saw mill was taken over by other timber merchants, first Messrs Pinkney & Harrison, and later by J Harrison, who ceased trading about 1926.

On 25 May 1894, the Middleton-in-Teesdale Co-operative Society opened a siding running off one of the goods yards roads close to the signal box. The society had its own coal cells and warehouse. By 1923 this siding was operated by the Teesdale Workmen’s Industrial Provident Society and by 1930 a tarmacadam plant, with its own elevator and rail weighbridge was operating on the site; it remained there until the early 1950s and the works was demolished c1963.

The Middleton turntable was removed in the 1940s and in June 1950s the allocated locomotive, G5 No.1764 was transferred to Darlington. The shed continued to be used by Darlington G5s until steam traction was replaced by DMUs on 16 September 1957. The shed was demolished in the summer of 1961.

In 1911 Middleton station served a population of 3,111 with 19,871 tickets being issued that year. The main goods traffic comprised roadstone (91,847 tons), building stone (6,886 tons) and barytes (1985 tons). In 1913 258 wagons of livestock were loaded at the station.

In its early days Middleton station had attractive gardens on the platform and a lily pond on the approach road. The station was a regular prize winner in the annual Best Kept Stations competition. By the 1950s the gardens were overgrown full of stones and broken branches and thick slime. Mrs Joy Archer, wife of the newly appointed stationmaster decided to restore the earlier gardens and with the help of the local staff, transformed the appearance of the station with flower beds, rockeries, a waterfall and a fountain, so that Middleton-in-Teesdale station once again became notable for its floral beauty.

The station was apparently oil-lit until the LNER era when swan-neck electric lamp standards were installed. This company usually attached nameplates to electric lamp standards but this does not seem to have been done at Middleton-in-Teesdale. The LNER also fitted one of the company’s characteristic running-in nameboards with metal letters screwed to a wooden board. British Railways North Eastern Region’s updating of the platform signage amounted to repainting the board in the regional tangerine colour. Enamel totem signs were never installed at Middleton-in-Teesdale or at the other three stations on the branch. Whilst Mickleton and Cotherstone stations were demoted to unstaffed ‘halts’ some time before they closed to passengers, Middleton-in-Teesdale and Romaldkirk were staffed until the end.

After lying empty for a few years after closure to all traffic the station site was purchased by Liz and Ralph Dunn in the early 1970s. They opened the Daleview Caravan Park on the site utilising the station building and stationmaster's house. Daleview Caravan Park is still in business.

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE MIDDLETON-IN-TEESDALE BRANCH

The Stockton & Darlington Railway opened a line to Barnard Castle in 1856; the line was called the Darlington & Barnard Castle Railway. Barnard Castle received a second station in 1861 when the South Durham & Lancashire Railway built its line to Barras.

The two stations were some distance apart necessitating a long walk; to alleviate this, the second station became a through station on 1 May 1862 and on the same day the original Stockton & Darlington terminus was closed. The whole line and its branches eventually became part of the Stockton & Darlington railway which was absorbed into the North Eastern Railway in 1863.

There was a proposal to build a line from the Stockton & Darlington at Barnard Castle to Alston but this was never built in its entirety. Only the southern section of this line was built by the independent Tees Valley Railway who promoted a branch from Barnard Castle to Middleton-in-Teesdale. With few villages and no towns within the catchment area of the branch it was clear that it would not generate much passenger revenue so the main attraction of the line was the carriage of mineral deposits which were found in the locality.

An Act of Parliament was obtained on 19 June 1865 and the 7 mile 55 chain single-track line had its public opening on 12 May 1868 with passenger services starting the following day. Initially there were two intermediate stations at Mickleton and Cotherstone. A third station at Romaldkirk appears to have opened later as it was not ready in time for the opening, first appearing in the company timetable in July 1868. There were two major engineering features on the line, the Lunedale and Baldersdale viaducts (both of which still stand today). From the outset the line was worked by the North Eastern Railway. The Tees Valley Railway was not financially successful and the local company was taken over by the North Eastern Railway by an Act of 19 June 1882. The NER agreed to settle the outstanding debts up to £22,000 and to purchase the line for £25,188. The line was then incorporated into the Central Division of the NER.

Much of the line’s traffic was stone with interchange facilities at Middleton-in-Teesdale station. Middleton Quarry was opened shortly after the Middleton branch; it lay south-south-east of Middleton station to which it was linked by a standard gauge half-mile-long reverse. In the early twentieth century, Park End Quarry was opened 1¼ miles north-north-west of Middleton and the Middleton Quarry line was extended to serve it. This was soon abandoned in favour of Crossthwaite Quarry ¼-mile back down the line where the stone was of better quality. Middleton Quarry remained in use until c1930 and Crossthwaite Quarry closed in April 1971 although rail traffic had been replaced by road haulage in 1951; the track was lifted in 1952.

There was a proposal to build a line from the Stockton & Darlington at Barnard Castle to Alston but this was never built in its entirety. Only the southern section of this line was built by the independent Tees Valley Railway who opened a single track 8 3/4 mile branch from Barnard Castle to Middleton on 13th May 1868 with intermediate stations at Mickleton and Cotherstone. A third station at Romaldkirk appears to have opened later, first appearing in the company timetable in July 1868. There were two major engineering features on the line, the Lunedale and Baldersdale viaduct (both still stand today). From the outset the line was worked by the North Eastern Railway. In 1882 the local company was taken over by the North Eastern Railway and in June 1884 the terminus was renamed Middleton-in-Teesdale.

Lunedale Quarry was developed shortly after the opening of the Middleton branch; it was served by a 2ft 6in gauge tramway with exchange sidings alongside the Middleton branch at Lunedale Quarry Signal Box half way between Mickleton and Middleton. There was a loco shed at the sidings. In c1885 a further 2-mile branch was later laid from the sidings to Greengates Quarry with a tunnel under the Middleton - Brough road. A passenger service was provided on this branch for quarrymen travelling in open tubs; Greengates Quarry closed in 1917. (Click on links above to see pictures)

In 1914 a contractor’s 4-mile narrow gauge line was opened to serve the Grassholme Reservoir south of Middleton-in-Teesdale with exchange sidings adjacent to the Tees Valley line north-north-west of Mickleton station.

In 1932 Sentinel steam railcars from Shildon shed worked to Middleton on the 10.25am train from Barnard Castle, returning at 11.35am By 1937, Shildon shed had been closed and the duties were taken over by West Auckland, which used one of its six-cylinder railcars on the 8.04am Darlington to Middleton train and the 10.10am return journey, with another car on the 4.40pm Bishop Auckland to Middleton and the 6.06pm return. At one time a Tyne Dock-based car which worked the 4.06pm train from South Shields to Middleton returning on the 8.20pm from Middleton to Sunderland.

Although the Middleton branch usually saw only the smaller types of engines, there were times when large engines appeared; for instance, during World War II Class V2 2-6-2s worked troop specials and they later appeared on excursions.

The Middleton branch never carried heavy passenger traffic; in 1922 there were five trains a day in each direction on weekdays and one train on Sunday. By 1950 this had increased to six daily trains but no Sunday service. The engine shed at Middleton was closed in 1957 when the steam service was replaced by DMUs but they were unable to halt the decline in passenger numbers and many trains ran virtually empty. 

After the withdrawal of the Barnard Castle to Penrith service on 22 January 1962, through running from Sunderland and Newcastle ceased and all Middleton trains started at Darlington with seven trains daily from Darlington to Barnard Castle, five of which continued to Middleton. The ‘Mondays Only’ early morning train from Darlington to Middleton, and the ‘Saturdays Only’ late evening train from Middleton did carry passengers although their main function was to supply the weekly DMU to Middleton on the Monday and to get it back to Darlington Diesel Depot on the Saturday.

The line was earmarked for closure as part of the Beeching cuts and the proposal to close was published on 6 December 1963. The formal enquiry was held at Barnard Castle on 27 February 1964 to hear 65 objections to the closure but, on 11 September 1964, the Minister of Transport, Ernest Marples, gave his consent, subject to the usual conditions regarding the provision of a modified bus service with the last passenger train running on Saturday 28 November 1964. Formal closure to passengers was on 30 November. Freight traffic lasted for a few months being withdrawn from Romaldkirk and Middleton-in-Teesdale on 5 April 1965.

The track had been lifted by May 1967 and today much of the course forms the Tees Valley Railway path with a car park at the former Mickleton station site. The path starts near at Lonton, half a mile south south-east of Middleton-in-Teesdale and ends near Lartington two miles north-north-west of Barnard Castle.

Tickets from Michael Stewart except 2175 Roy Lambeth. Closure notices from Alan Brown. Route map drawn by Alan Young.

Click here to see an 8 minuite film of a return journey from Darlington to Middleton-in-Teesdale in 1963.
Click here for Joyce Hughes' memories of working in the Middleton signal box during WWII.

Sources:

To see other stations on the Middleton-in-Teesdale branch click on the station name: Barnard Castle, Cotherstone, Romaldkirk & Mickleton

Middleton-in-Teesdale Station Gallery 1: c1868 - c1930


The original Middleton-in-Teesdale Station probably seen shortly after opening and before the stationmaster's house had a second storey added. Note the open-fronted waiting shelter to the right. Part of this shelter was retained as the stationmaster's office when the new station was built in 1888.
Photo from James Lake collection


1897 1:2,500 OS map shows the layout of the station after the new buildings were added. The station building is seen on the left at the end of a small access drive. It comprises (left to right) the stationmaster's house, booking office (circa early 1890s) and waiting rooms and earlier booking office (1888/89); the hatched area is the verandah. Behind the platform the goods shed and supplementary goods shed are seen with livestock pens standing on the dock to the right of the shed. The siding running along the northern boundary of the yard was for coal. There is a separate access road for the goods yard with a weigh bridge and weigh office (WM = weighing machine) at the end of it. The run-round loop is seen opposite the station and running off it is the engine shed road with the dead-end single-road shed opposite the main station building. Two water tanks are sited either side of the shed road/loop as is the 45ft turntable. To the south-east of the station the signal box is seen on the down side; this controlled access to the goods yard and a number of private sidings. One private siding is seen bottom right; it is the London Lead Company's saw mill for the manufacture of pit props. The saw mill has its own weighbridge and coal depot. All of the other sidings to the south of the main line belong to Middleton Quarry. Two sidings run across the Mickleton Road into the quarry; one is just to the south-east of the signal box the other is north-west of the signal box. The rail-served building to the left of the signal box is probably an engine shed for the quarry locomotives. The River Tees is seen top right; this is the county boundary with the station being in Yorkshire whilst the town is in County Durham.
Click here for a larger version.

1912 1:2,500 OS map. Little has changed at the station since the earlier map but there are substantial changes in Middleton Quarry with new lines and new buildings being shown. From Middleton Quarry a new lane runs north-west running parallel with the road for 1¼ miles to Park End and Crossthwaite Quarries. One of the quarry lines that crosses the Mickleton Road runs to a stone loading gantry close to the turntable. To the south of the road the line passes under another loading facility with a higher level line at right angles to it. Click here for a larger version

Middleton station forecourt c1880s. The house now has two storeys but the original entrance and waiting shelter are still in place; this part of the building was partially demolished c1888 when the new station range was built. The cart on the left is a North Eastern Railway delivery dray. The company name was offset towards the rear because towards the front, here hidden by the man standing by the front wheel, was additional lettering stating the maximum load. The driver can be seen sitting high up on his seat and the boy sitting on the deck is probably his assistant, the 'Dray Boy'. The cart on the right is the hand-operated station trolley used for transferring luggage between arriving vehicles and the station platform or vice versa. In the background is a horse-drawn omnibus. It could be a NER vehicle but looks a little too small, so probably belonged to a local hotel or country estate. The omnibus would have seated, probably, eight inside on longitudinal bench seats with a couple more outside and on the front, below the driver. Access to the inside would have been via a step and doorway in the rear of the body. Click here to see a preserved NER dray.
Photo from James Lake collection

Middleton-in-Teesdale station seen from Middleton Quarry before December 1904. The Middleton to Brough road is seen in the foreground on the left and Middleton-in-Teesdale town is seen in the distance. On the right beyond the station the River Tees can be seen; this is the county boundary with the town being in County Durham whilst the station is in Yorkshire. A locomotive sits on the turntable although it is not obvious from this angle. A rake of mineral wagons sits on one of the sidings by the engine shed. The 10,000 gallon water tank seen on the right was built in the 1890s, replacing the smaller tank hidden behind it.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection


Middleton-in-Teesdale Station before December 1910 but after c1895 when the new booking office was added. The booking office projects 12ft in front of the 1888 building leaving a clearance of only 8ft between the building and the platform edge; this was an error by the builder. The verandah is in front of the waiting rooms and is a typical feature of NER country stations of this period. Note the station clock mounted on the central gable of the verandah. The south-east end gable of the 1888/89 building was the gents’ first class waiting room, entered from the verandah and the porters’ and lamp room from entered from the side of the gable. The small block on the south-east end of the buildings was a foot warmer room and the gents’ toilet (out of view).
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

The stationmaster's house seen from the platform in the first decade of the twentieth century. This is the original 1868 house but with substantial alterations including a second storey (added before March 1888). A bay window has replaced the original flat window using the original frames. At some time, probably at the end of the nineteenth century, a strange square castellated porch was added. The single-storey building at the north-west end of the house was for a store, pantry and WC. Note the neat garden at the rear of the platform and the large skylight in the roof of the new booking office projecting onto the platform.
Photo from John Mann collection

Looking north-north-west at the range of buildings at Middleton-in-Teesdale station in the first decade of the twentieth century. The photographer is probably at the top of one of the water tanks. The buildings in view date from a number of different periods. The house on the far left dates from 1868 but had its second floor added before 1888. The building protruding onto the platform is the booking office. It was built c1895 and is entered from the platform through two sliding doors; note the skylight in the roof. The main block dates from 1888/89 and housing waiting rooms and an earlier booking office. The entrance to the gents’ toilet can just be made out behind the fence on the extreme right. The station is well decorated with flowers and there are flower beds at the back of the platform in front of the house and large planters in front of the verandah. The run-round loop is seen in the left foreground and the ground frame for it can just be made out on the extreme left.
Photo from John Mann collection

An interesting northward view across Middleton-in-Teesdale station and its facilities. The town itself is out of view in the left background, being a little under half a mile from the station; the River Tees running between town and station but is difficult to discern in this view. The river runs left to right roughly across the centre of the photograph. The ownership of the wagons tells us that the photograph was taken post-Grouping, i.e. after 1923. Behind the photographer is Middleton Quarry which ceased production sometime in the early 1930s. It is unclear if the quarry was still in operation when this photograph was taken but the presence of wagons from as far away as the Great Western and Southern Railways suggests that it was. Features of the station visible are part of the platform, the goods shed (left) and cattle pens behind and right of the running-in board. Nearer the camera, the locomotive is sitting on the out-of-view turntable and a water tower can be seen at far left. The locomotive appears to be an ex-NER Class C 0-6-0, LNER/BR Class J21. Middleton Quarry had an extensive internal system of railway sidings although these would have been altered from time to time as required (see maps). The quarry had two connections with the Middleton-in-Teesdale branch, both accessible only via sidings from a connection at the south-eastern end of the station site and both required a reversal. The north-westernmost connection into the quarry can just be seen in the foreground, curving southwards at bottom right of the photograph to pass beneath what is now the B6277 road from which this photograph was taken. At bottom right of the photograph a narrow gauge track with a few tubs present can be seen. What was clearly a facility for tipping material from the narrow gauge tubs directly into standard gauge wagons is also visible.
Click here for a larger version with a more detailed caption.
Photo from John Mann collection

LNER Class D3 4-4-0 waiting to depart for Darlington. This loco began life as a Great Northern Railway Ivatt Class D2 (this was H A Ivatt, father of the perhaps better known H G Ivatt of the LMS). A handful of these D2 rebuilds ended up in the Darlington area with one being outstationed at Middleton-in-Teesdale and two more at Barnard Castle - this being the situation as of 1935. The number of the loco seen here is by no means clear but appears to be 4354 which survived only until 1937 which dates the picture to the 1923 - 1937 period. Withdrawals had begun in 1935 but a few of the various rebuilds managed to plod on into BR days; the last one, which was a D3, bowing out in October 1951. Classes D2/3/4 were difficult to tell apart. In the foreground Middleton's 45ft turntable is seen. The short length of track at right angles to the shed road is for a gangers’ motor trolley. The LNER had Wickham trolleys but also built their own. They were not especially heavy and could be lifted on and off the track by four ‘beefy blokes’. The white fencing on the right is the livestock pen which stands on the dock. The remains of a stone loading gantry are seen in the left foreground.
Copyright photo from David Hey's Transition to Steam web site

Click here for Middleton-in-Teesdale Station Gallery 2:
April 1951 - June 1961

 

 

 

[Source: Nick Catford]



Last updated: Wednesday, 19-Jul-2017 13:13:52 BST
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