Station Name: PALLION (First site)
|Company on opening:||York, Newcastle & Berwick Railway|
|Date closed to passengers:||
|Date closed completely:||5.7.1965|
|Company on closing:||
Passenger services: British Railways (North Eastern Region)
|County:||Durham (now Tyne & Wear)|
|OS Grid Ref:||NZ374577|
|Date of visit:||April 1976 & 20.6.2013|
Notes: Pallion station opened with the Sunderland Fawcett Street to Penshaw line, and for some time it stood in a rural area. The original station had two short platforms, with a building on the northern (down) one, close to its eastern end; no details have been found of this structure. Situated close to the River Wear, the station increased in importance as a shipyard opened close by, accompanied by other manufactures, and residential terraces spread across adjacent land. The NER rebuilt the station with superior facilities at the end of the nineteenth century; in March 1898 authorisation was given for £9,391 to be spent on new buildings, including a station house. The principal buildings were placed on the southern (up) platform. The station house was a rather drab two-storey brick building presenting a gable to the platform at its western end, although some interest was added by the structure of the bargeboard. It was accompanied to the east by a single-storey office building which stretched along the platform. The western and eastern ends of its roof were half-hipped; the platform and exterior elevations were broken by a cross gable, with bargeboards to match those on the station house. On the down platform was a brick-built waiting room and toilet block, with a glazed timber portion, accompanied by a storage shed to its west. A standard iron footbridge was added to connect the platforms at the eastern end of the station.
By the end of the nineteenth century a full range of goods facilities was located east of Pallion station, with various sidings and a 3-ton crane. In 1913 passenger bookings amounted to 32,661 at Pallion, though serving an industrial area it is likely that this figure falls well short of the number of passengers who used the station as many employees at these factories will have booked their tickets at their home station.
In 1923 Pallion station came under the management of the London & North Eastern Railway and, at Nationalisation, it became part of British Railways North Eastern Region. BR showed little inclination to modernise the station, which retained gas lighting and LNER signage, limited to running-in nameboards. Train services were adequate to serve commuters travelling to and from Sunderland, with an infrequent service during the day. In 1951 Pallion issued 15,641 tickets, a substantial decline from the 1913 figure. Whilst the neighbouring station at Millfield closed in 1955 Pallion survived, but was downgraded to the curious status of a ‘staffed halt’ on 14 August 1961; the 18 June 1962 timetable indicated that it had become unstaffed. A survey in summer 1962 showed that Pallion was used by many more passengers on weekdays than on Saturdays, reflecting its industrial setting. Far more passengers used the station for journeys to and from the Durham direction than to and from Sunderland, presumably preferring buses for the short distance to the nearby town centre.
The Reshaping of British Railways (‘Beeching’) report recommended the withdrawal of the Sunderland – Durham – Bishop Auckland passenger train service, and closure came on 4 May 1964. Goods-handling ceased at Pallion on 5 July 1965, but the line through the station remained in freight use until 1976. In 1984 the rails were still in use from Pallion eastwards to Hendon (Sunderland) but in that year all freight movements ceased and the tracks were eventually removed. Although the up platform building and footbridge were demolished c1976 the house and station building remained in place for some time longer, the latter used by a construction firm. The house was derelict by 1982, and by 1991 the rails had gone and the buildings and platforms had been demolished.
Pallion returned to the railway map on 31 March 2002 when the eastern end of the Durham – Sunderland line was reopened as part of the Tyne & Wear Metro. The section through the new Pallion station is on an alignment a short distance north of the former route.
From 1857 Leamside station enjoyed some importance as the de facto junction where trains to and from Sunderland and Durham connected with the services on London Kings Cross – Newcastle – Edinburgh main line. Fencehouses or Penshaw could equally have been awarded this status, but Leamside station, in its remote rural surroundings, was rebuilt with an island platform and bays at each end to accommodate the connecting services and allow convenient interchange by passengers. Its importance was short-lived and was suddenly removed when the new main line route between Ferryhill and Newcastle via Durham opened in 1872. Leamside station was now an extravagance, with little local population to serve; conversely the splendid Durham viaduct, originally serving only the Leamside – Bishop Auckland branch, was now a prominent feature of the main line providing a vantage point from which millions of passengers would be able to admire Durham and its cathedral.
As with most lines in northern County Durham the Sunderland – Durham route carried large quantities of goods and mineral traffic, notably coal. Several collieries were directly linked to the line, and there were branches into shipyards and Deptford staiths on the Wear as well as to the Hudson, Henson and South docks on the coast.
Passenger services on the Sunderland – Durham line remained frequent. However from the 1920s motor buses began to provide a more intensive service and linked the numerous mining villages and towns in north-east Durham. The ‘Old Main Line’ south of Leamside lost its passenger services in 1941. On the Sunderland – Durham route, apart from the very early loss of Frankland station, between Leamside and Durham, in 1877, casualties began with Leamside in 1953, followed by Millfield in inner Sunderland in 1955. Diesel multiple units replaced steam haulage on the route during 1957.
The author was blissfully unaware of this development, and alighted from a Newcastle train at Durham on 15 May to catch the Sunderland train, only to be informed that the last one had gone! He decided to travel on to Darlington and Middleton-in-Teesdale instead – which was still open.
Goods services ceased between Leamside (Auckland Junction) and Durham (Newton Hall Junction) and at Finchale siding (Frankland) on 22 October 1964. The tracks into the former Fawcett Street terminus in Sunderland, which had continued as a goods facility reached from the Durham line, were severed on 3 October 1965. Goods services were retained between Penshaw and Sunderland until 21 August 1967 when they were discontinued west of Hylton Quarry sidings. In 1971 the line from Pallion to Ford paper works at Hylton was singled and ceased to be signalled when the factory closed, but Dolomite from Hylton Quarry continued to be carried until 1976 when the line was cut back to Pallion; it was officially taken out of use on 20 November 1976. The remainder of the line to Hendon, including Deptford Johnson Siding closed to goods on 27 November 1984. The section of the ‘Old Main Line’ which the Sunderland – Durham services shared between Penshaw Junction and Auckland Junction continued in goods use for some years more, but was ‘mothballed’ in 1991 and closed in 2012.
To see other stations on the Old Main Line click on the station name: Felling 2nd, Felling 3rd , Felling 1st, Pelaw 1st, Pelaw 3rd, Pelaw 4th , Pelaw 2nd, Usworth, Washington 2nd, Washington 1st, Penshaw 1st, Penshaw 2nd, Fencehouses, Rainton, Rainton Meadows (on branch), Leamside 1st, Leamside 2nd, Belmont Junction, Durham Gilesgate (on branch), Sherburn Colliery, Shincliffe & Ferryhill
See also Sunderland and Durham (via Leamside):
|Last updated: Monday, 22-May-2017 11:44:00 CEST||
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