Station Name: NEWHAM

[Source: Alan Young]


Date opened:

1.2.1851 (first appearance in Bradshaw)

Location:

Both sides of the level crossing on a lane about ¼-mile south west of the hamlet of Newham.

Company on opening:

York, Newcastle & Berwick Railway

Date closed to passengers:

5.5.1941; reopened 7.10.1946; closed again 25.9.1950

Date closed completely: 25.9.1950
Company on closing:

(1941) London & North Eastern Railway
(1950) British Railways (North Eastern Region)

Present state:

Platforms demolished. Modern house stands on the site of former down platform buildings.

County: Northumberland
OS Grid Ref: NU173282
Date of visit: September 1972 & August 2001

Notes: When the Newcastle & Berwick Railway opened in 1847 the company provided 17 public and two private stations from Killingworth to Tweedmouth, and with the exception of Cramlington the main buildings bore a strong family resemblance, being Tudor/Jacobean in character. At several level crossings on the route, where no station was provided in 1847, there were crossing keepers’ houses which were in the same general style as the stations, but on a more modest scale; stations did eventually open at these points, including Forest Hall, Smeafield and Goswick. One of the additional stations to open on the route was at Newham, only a mile from the existing Chathill station, but since the only building here was a pair of small semidetached cottages for the crossing keepers, it would seem that there had been no plans to provide the insignificant hamlet of Newham with a station. It is curious, therefore, both that Newham received a station at all, and that it was the first additional one to open. It first appeared in Bradshaw in February 1851.

The Newcastle & Berwick Railway’s standard station layout was two facing platforms, but several of the additional ones provided by the York, Newcastle & Berwick and its successor, the North Eastern Railway, were given staggered platforms; in each case the platforms were on opposite sides of level crossings. Newham had this layout, with one platform placed in front of the crossing keepers’ cottages (down side, south-west of the crossing) and the other platform to the north-east of the crossing.

The cottages at Newham station were of the standard design for crossing keepers on the Newcastle & Berwick Railway, costing considerably less than most of the station houses, at £482; for comparison an ‘average’ station building such as Christon Bank or Chathill would be in the £1,100-£1,200 range. The sandstone ashlar crossing cottages at Newham are described by Fawcett (2011) as ‘picturesque’, consisting of one storey plus an attic. The front roof of the pair of cottages was punctuated by the gabled attic windows, and it swept down over a pair of mullioned, rectangular bay windows with doors inserted between them. At the gable ends each cottage had three substantial chimneystacks. By the end of the nineteenth century a brick-built two-storey house, rendered on the platform elevation, under a pitched roof had been squeezed between the cottages and the level crossing. It was an awkward-looking structure, L-plan and only one room in width, giving the impression that it would have been wider if space had permitted. As noted above, the down platform was placed in front of the cottages.

On the north-east side of the level crossing the up platform was provided with a waiting shelter, probably of brick or stone construction, and differing in style from the earlier N&B sheds; a pent roof, sloping down away from the platform face, was fronted by a robust, plain façade. A small wooden shed with a pitched roof stood between the waiting shelter and the level crossing.  Two sidings were south of the crossing, facing the down platform, one of them elevated above the coal drops, and accompanied by the weigh office. By October 1877 the North Eastern Railway constructed a signal box on the down side, immediately north-west of the level crossing. This was an N1-design with a stone base, equipped with a 20-level Stevens frame.

In February 1863 Bradshaw gave the following times of train departures from Newham:


Up trains: weekdays

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

7.00am

Newcastle

8.50am (Sat only)

Berwick

12.35pm

Newcastle

11.12am

Berwick

6.07pm

Newcastle

3.32pm

Berwick

-

-

8.41pm

Berwick

Up train: Sunday

Destination

Down train: Sunday

Destination

7.08am

Newcastle

8.30pm

Berwick

The Railway Clearing House Handbook of stations 1904 has the briefest of references to Newham as handling passenger and goods traffic, with no indication that any specialised facilities were installed. NER goods records for 1913 provide no figures for the station’s traffic. The company’s passenger statistics for 1911 note that 315 people were served by the station and that only 2,453 tickets were issued that year: a remarkably small total for the time. The settlement of Newham amounted to fewer than a dozen cottages, a smithy and a school, and there was only a scattering of farms within a mile-or-two of the station. The station’s catchment was limited to the south-east because Chathill station was so close, and in later years had a far more frequent train service than Newham. In winter 1912-13 The North Eastern Railway timetable advertised the following departures from Newham:


Up trains: weekdays

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

9.56am

Alnwick

10.14am

Beal

11.59am (Sat only)

Alnwick

12.45pm

Berwick

2.19pm

Alnmouth

1.45pm (Sat only)

Berwick

3.05pm (Sat only)

Alnmouth

3.46pm

Berwick

4.15pm (Sat only)

Alnmouth

5.28pm (Sat only)

Berwick

6.03pm

Alnmouth

7.13pm

Lucker-

-

-

9.15pm

Berwick

Up train: Sunday

Destination

Down train: Sunday

Destination

7.01am

Newcastle

10.06am

Berwick

6.33pm

Newcastle

8.38pm

Berwick

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 10.14am ex-Newham could change at Belford or Beal to catch this faster train to Berwick or onward to Edinburgh.
By 1912-13 Newham was already established as one of the lesser stations of the main line, with fewer trains calling than at some of its neighbours. For example there were two local up trains which called at the Lucker before the first departure (9.56am) from Newham. The stationmaster at Newham was not rushed off his feet, and in conversation with the author in 1977, his daughter recalled that the long intervals between trains and shortage of passengers requiring tickets provided the opportunity for her father to indulge his passion for gardening. One of the photographs received from this lady shows the immaculately manicured garden on the down platform, as well as her father’s pride and joy, the station name ‘NER NEWHAM’ embedded in the mown grass bank beside the platform ramp. Perhaps an ‘L’ had to be prefixed to the ‘NER’ when in 1923 Newham became part of the new London & North Eastern Railway: no photographic evidence has been found to check if this addition was ever made!

In the quarter of a century of LNER administration it is unlikely that any significant investment was made in the station. It is not known if the company ever replaced the NER signage. The signal box was relegated to gate box status on 2 March 1931, and ground frames were subsequently used, one of four levers for the gates and another of three levers to control the goods yard.
By winter 1937-38 the frequency of train calls at the station had changed little from before World War I:


Up trains: weekdays

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

8.05am

Alnwick

10.17am

Beal

9.15am

Alnmouth

1.41pm

Berwick

2.10pm

Newcastle

5.43pm

Berwick

4.02pm

Alnmouth

8.04pm ‡

Berwick

5.21pm

Alnmouth

-

-

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

6.57am

Newcastle

9.54am

Berwick

6.15pm

Newcastle

8.19pm

Berwick

Approximate time. Calls to set down only
Passenger traffic was so light at Newham that the LNER closed the station to passengers on 5 May 1941; several other ECML stations in northern Northumberland shared this indignity. It is perhaps surprising on 7 October 1946 Newham reopened, but Sunday trains were not restored. In January 1948 nationalisation placed Newham within British Railways’ North Eastern Region, and under the new administration the station had only a morning and late afternoon departure in each direction, as shown in the summer 1950 timetable:


Up trains: weekdays

Destination

Down trains: weekdays

Destination

7.58am

Newcastle

9.30am

Berwick

5.34pm

Newcastle

5.39pm (Sat only)

Berwick

 

 

5.49pm (Mon-Fri)

Berwick

No Sunday departures

-

No Sunday departures

-

These few trains clearly attracted few passengers because at the end of the summer timetable, on 25 September 1950, Newham station closed to passengers. Goods traffic ceased to be handled on the same day. At that time the BR(NE) timetable made no reference to station closures, so Newham simply vanished. If the station had closed during the operation of the summer or winter timetable this occurrence would have been be noted in the monthly amendments booklet.
Newham station’s platforms had been demolished by the early 1960s. From March 1961 the level crossing gates were released by Chathill, and a small hut bearing the former signal box nameplate continued to house the ground frame. From December 1990 the crossing was brought under CCTV surveillance from Alnmouth. The N&B cottages survived until about 1971 and were outlived by the neighbouring NER station house. However this, too, had disappeared by 2001 and a single-storey house had replaced them.

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

Route maps drawn by Alan Young..

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)
  • Hoole, K    Railway stations of the North East (David & Charles 1985)

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


Newham station looking north-west along the down platform c1910. In the foreground the semidetached cottages for the crossing keepers are seen. These pre-dated the station as they were constructed with the line, which opened in 1847, whilst the station did not come into use until 1851. Beyond the cottages a further two-storey house can be seen, which was the stationmaster’s residence. Beyond the level crossing is the North Eastern Railway signal box, an N1 design with a stone base, which was constructed by October 1877. The up platform is ‘staggered’ beyond the crossing, with a waiting shelter and a shed close to the crossing. A member of the station staff and two signalmen are to be seen.
Photo from John Mann collection


1867 1:2,500 OS map.  Newham station is named and its building – the crossing keepers’ cottages – is shown south-west of the level crossing, and two sidings are on the up (north-east) side opposite the site of the down platform. The siding closer to the main line serves the coal depot. The weigh office is shown as ‘Weighing Machine’. There is no indication of the platform or building north of the crossing, on the up side. The hamlet of Newham is also shown; it is remarkable that such a small settlement justified the provision of a station at all, considering that Chathill was only one mile south-east of Newham.

1897 1: 2,500 OS map. This map shows the additional building on the down (south-west) platform inserted between the level crossing and the crossing keepers’ cottages - now clearly indicated as two dwellings. The platform itself is now shown, as is the up (north-east) platform, on which the waiting shelter and the shed close to the crossing can be seen. The siding closest to the main line has the coal drops (coal depot) shown in more detail than on the earlier map, but the weighing machine is no longer named. The presence of the railway station has not caused any significant growth in the nearby hamlet of Newham.

1923-24 1: 2,500 OS map. As the NER era closes and the LNER era opens, Newham station remains in its quiet rural setting with negligible change since the map of 1897. Three small buildings have appeared opposite the down platform.

Newham station looking south-west c1910. This photograph complements the first as all of the platform buildings are seen again, but from a different angle. The contrast between the charming ‘chalet style’ crossing keepers’ cottages, the distinctive NER hipped-roofed signal box and the characterless house between them can be appreciated. The rear of the waiting shelter and the shed on the up platform are seen to the right. A wagon is standing on the elevated track above the coal drops, and in front of it the small building with a pitched roof and pent-roofed extensions is the weigh office.
Photo from John Mann collection

Newham station, c1920, looking north-west. This photograph was given to the author by the daughter of the stationmaster. It was probably taken at her father’s request to illustrate the station garden which he lovingly maintained. He has taken advantage of the cutting to announce the names of the railway company and the station, painstakingly cut out of the mown grass, and the platform is festooned with carefully tended flowerbeds and shrubs; it looks as if roses have been encouraged to frame the NER nameboard. Business was not brisk at Newham! Many stations were immaculately presented in pre-nationalisation days, and station staff fiercely contended for the awards for best kept station gardens. This one must have brought pleasure to passengers glimpsing it from passing expresses, even if there were few passengers who trod the platform at Newham with time to admire the gardens. The buildings in the background are clearly not  intended to be the subject of this picture.
Photo from Alan Young collection

The station house and crossing keepers’ cottages at Newham are seen from the level crossing c1971. The station closed to all traffic in 1950, and the edge stones of the down platform have been demolished and the infill gently graded to prevent it from collapsing onto the rails; the rear of the platform has been retained, behind the fence, to allow access to the cottages. The timber hut carrying a ‘Newham’ sign houses the ground frame, the signal box having been decommissioned. An NER oil lantern still lights the crossing.
Photo by John Mann

On 7 September 1972 Newham station is seen from a passing up train. The crossing keepers’ cottages seen in the earlier views have been demolished, but the station house remains in place. It can be seen that this building is of brick construction, rendered on the platform elevation perhaps in an attempt to make it blend with the sandstone of the cottages. The ground frame hut carries a nameboard from the former signal box, and an NER oil lantern is still in use. The North Eastern Railway trespass notice has appeared since the previous photograph was taken – fifty years after the NER ceased to exist.
Photo by Alan Young

Looking south at the site of the former down platform of Newham station from the level crossing in May 2009. The crossing keepers’ cottages and station house have gone and this bungalow stands in their place. The posts and wire of the 1991 East Coast main line electrification scheme can be seen. A Corporate Identity nameplate identifies the location.
Photo by Roy Lambeth

A Class 221 Super Voyager on a down Cross Country service speeds through the site of Newham station at 13:07 on 19 May 2009. The building on the right was built on the station site prior to 2001.
Photo by Roy Lambeth

Looking south-east from Newham level crossing in May 2009. The down platform of the former station was on the right of the tracks and the coal depot was to the left.
Photo by Roy Lambeth

May 2009

May 2009

Click on thumbnail to enlarge


 

 

 

[Source: Alan Young]




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