Station Name: PALLION (First site)

[Source: Alan Young]

Date opened: 1.6.1853

South of Pallion second station (Metro). Immediately south-west of the roundabout where Pallion New Road (B1405) meets European Way

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)
Goods services: British Rail (North Eastern Region)

Present state: Demolished
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.

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SUNDERLAND TO DURHAM (AND BISHOP AUCKLAND) VIA LEAMSIDE LINEDespite its name the Durham & Sunderland Railway (D&S) – not via Leamside – never did reach Durham City. Its route from South Dock, Sunderland, extended through Murton to Haswell (where the Hartlepool Dock & Railway Company already had a terminus) which opened in 1836, with a branch from Murton through Hetton, Pittington and Sherburn House to Shincliffe, two miles south-east of the Durham City centre, which opened in 1839. The North Eastern Railway eventually diverted the line from Shincliffe to terminate in Durham at Elvet station in 1893.

In an Act of 27 July 1846 the Newcastle & Darlington Junction Railway (see ‘Old Main Line’ history) was authorised to build a line from Pensher (later known as Penshaw) to join the D&S Railway at Sunderland. The line was known as the Painshaw Branch (another variation on the spelling of Penshaw). From Sunderland as far as Penshaw the line followed the River Wear valley but its route was generally some distance from the river to avoid a meander near Hylton and to serve the communities which were growing south of the river. The line opened on 20 February 1852 for goods traffic and 1 June 1853 for passengers. The terminus in Sunderland was Fawcett Street station, which opened on the same day on the southern edge of the developing commercial centre of the town.

The Bishop Auckland branch from Leamside via Durham opened to passengers on 1 April 1857. Beyond Leamside, at Auckland Junction (later known as Leamside Junction) it swung westwards from the route to Ferryhill, crossed the River Wear on a viaduct, then sharply south-west to reach Durham City. The curious dog-leg in the route enabled the line to follow the intended course of the moribund YN&B project of 1848: see details in the section below on the ‘new’ main line. Durham City’s centre is densely built up on the narrow, steep-sided peninsula within a meander of the River Wear, dominated by the cathedral and castle; the railway did not enter this historically important area, but passed by to the north-west, where a substantial viaduct was necessary and the city’s station was found.

The Leamside – Bishop Auckland branch now provided an alternative route between Durham and Sunderland, far more convenient than via the Durham & Sunderland’s Shincliffe (for Durham) terminus – which was abandoned in 1893 when the D&S was re-routed to a terminus at Durham Elvet. On the day the Bishop Auckland branch was opened the branch from Belmont Junction to Durham Gilesgate closed to passengers: this had been opened by the N&DJ on 15 April 1844, providing the first station in Durham City.

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.

In Sunderland the inconvenient gap between Monkwearmouth, the terminus of trains from Newcastle and South Shields on the north bank of the River Wear, and the lines from the south was closed in 1879 when in the ‘Monkwearmouth Junction’ project a bridge over the river and a tunnel under the town centre were constructed together with a new station known either as Sunderland (or Sunderland Central). From August 1879 Fawcett Street station closed and trains on the Durham line ran into the new station. The Central station also replaced the Hendon terminus, formerly used by trains to Seaham and West Hartlepool.

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.

Expecting that coal exports from Sunderland’s South Dock would increase, the North Eastern Railway and local authorities jointly funded the construction of the Queen Alexandra Bridge, to carry both rail and road traffic in the manner of High Level Bridge between Gateshead and Newcastle. The NER paid £325,000 (including railway approaches) while Sunderland Corporation contributed £146,000 and Southwick Council a further £11,000. The new bridge and associated lines would enable coal from the ex-Stanhope & Tyne line to reach South Dock, eliminating reversals at Washington and Penshaw, using instead a mineral line from Southwick Junction (between Washington and Boldon) over the new Queen Alexandra Bridge, then the Sunderland – Durham line from Diamond Hall Junction (just west of Millfield station). The bridge opened in 1909, but from the NER perspective it was a financial disaster since it apparently carried one coal train per day until the early 1920s when regular traffic ceased.

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.

Further economies were exercised when Pallion and Penshaw were downgraded to ‘staffed halts’ and Cox Green became an ‘unstaffed halt’ on 14 August 1961. Passenger traffic censuses in summer 1962 and winter 1962-3 showed a respectable level of use on Monday-to-Friday of Hylton and Pallion stations, but limited traffic at the other stations, notably Cox Green. The Reshaping of British Railways (‘Beeching’) report of March 1963 recommended the withdrawal of passenger services between Sunderland, Durham and Bishop Auckland - as well as the services between Newcastle and Washington - and the official proposal of closure was published on 19 July 1963. Not a single objection was lodged to the Washington closure, which took place on 9 September 1963. BR must have been unprepared for the lack of resistance to this closure as a timetable for Usworth and Washington stations appeared in the winter 1963-4 North Eastern Region book. On 28 February 1964, having considered objections to the Sunderland – Durham – Bishop Auckland proposals, Ernest Marples, Minister of Transport, consented to the closure, and services were officially withdrawn on 4 May 1964.

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.

Sources and bibliography:

Tickets from Michael Stewart (except 1673 JC Dean) Bradshaw from Chris Totty. Route maps drawn by Alan Young.

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 Coxhoe (branch from Ferryhill)

See also: Springwell, Brockley Whins (1st site), Brockley Whins (2nd site)
& Boldon (route prior to 1850)

See also Sunderland and Durham (via Leamside):
Durham (still open), Frankland, Cox Green, South Hylton , Hylton, Pallion 2nd , Millfield 2nd, Millfield 1st, Millfield 3rd , Sunderland Fawcett Street (on branch) & Sunderland Central (Still open)

Station still open as part of the Tyne & Wear metro

Pallion station looking east in May 1959. The buildings are typical of late-NER practice, dating from 1898 or soon after. On the up platform, to the right, the main station facilities were housed in the single-storey building with a gable facing the platform. On the opposite platform another single-storey block provides waiting and toilet facilities; the glazed timber section is a typical feature of NER design. Beyond the footbridge, which also dates from the reconstruction of the station c1898, is the signal box. The station is lit by gas and would continue to be until closure to passengers in 1964.
Copyright photo from Stations UK

1860 1:528 OS town plan.

1870 1:2,500 OS map. Pallion station is in a rural setting in 1870, but with industry – the brick and tile works - encroaching from the east. At this time the station building is on the short down (north) platform, but there appear to be no structures on the equally short up platform

1896 1:2,500 OS map. In the 26 years since the previous map considerable industrial and urban growth has taken place at Pallion. This map includes the right bank of the River Wear, in the north-east corner, and a shipyard has been established beside it. In addition to shipbuilding, Wearside was noted for glass production, and a glass works is adjacent to the station.  A foundry also appears on the map. The up platform has gained a building since the previous map was published. Goods facilities are located to the east of the station where sidings and a crane are shown.

1940 1:2,500 OS map. Further housing development took place in the early twentieth century, this time directly south of Pallion station. There have also been changes in the railway infrastructure since the previous map. The growing demands on the station resulted in the provision of new station buildings in 1898 or soon after. The existing buildings have been removed and, in their place, a station house and a block containing offices and waiting facilities have been built on the up (south) platform, and a waiting room/toilet block has appeared on the down platform; there is also now a footbridge to connect the platforms. A second railway bridge for freight traffic has been built north of the original one.

Looking east from the footbridge at Pallion station in April 1962. The up platform is in the foreground. Beyond the bridge over Merle Terrace is Pallion Station signal box and an elevated water tank can be seen about 150yd further on. To the left, the freight line with its separate bridge over Merle Terrace is occupied by a rake of wagons. The loco seen here was built by Kitson and Co of Leeds for the Lambton Railway in 1907; it was the second of three locos built there in 1909. Robert Stephenson and Co modified the design and built another three locos with a final one being built in 1934 by Hawthorne Leslie. Two of these locos have been preserved: No.29, the first of the class, and No.5, the first
of the second group.
Photo from John Mann collection

The south (up) platform of Pallion station looking west from a Sunderland-bound train in 1964. The footbridge and principal passenger buildings can be seen, and the station’s gas lighting and a nameboard are still in place.
Photo by Roy Lambeth

Pallion, looking east from the down platform in August 1967. The station closed to passenger traffic three years earlier and, except for the removal of lighting and signage, and the arrival of weeds on the platform, it has changed very little in that time. The main station facilities – the office and waiting room block and station house – are on the up platform. The footbridge is a typical NER construction.
Photo by JC Dean

Pallion station, looking east from the up platform in the late 1960s after closure to passengers. The station house is on the extreme right. On the opposite platform a storage shed is accompanied by a waiting room/toilet block. Beyond the typical NER footbridge the signal box can be
glimpsed in the distance.
Photo by JC Dean

Pallion station, substantially intact although closed to passengers for six years, looking west from the footbridge in April 1970..
Photo by Graeme Phillips
A general view of Pallion looking east c1975, just over a decade after closure to passengers. The station is intact though clearly neglected, retaining its footbridge, a passenger building and storage shed on the down (right) platform and the main building, obscured by the footbridge, on the up platform. Although both tracks are in place in the foreground, and in freight use, the down line has been removed beyond the cross-over.
Photo by Alan Lewis from his Ipernity photo gallery

Pallion station looking east in April 1976 shortly after the footbridge and the down platform
building had been removed.
Photo by Alan Young

In May 1977 a Class 08 diesel hauls an eastbound mineral train through Pallion, and it is entering a remaining section of down track from the singled line beyond. The station building is seen on the left, partially obscured by the brick wall.
Photo by Alan Lewis from his Ipernity photo gallery

The up platform at Pallion station, looking south-west in summer 1982. Both the former office and waiting room block and the station house are extant, the latter in a derelict state. The wall in the foreground is screening what is now a building contractor’s premises.
Photo by Alan Lewis from his Ipernity photo gallery

Looking west in October 1991 from the centre of the former goods yard towards the site of Pallion station; a few industrial buildings are clinging on.
Photo by Alan Lewis from his Ipernity photo gallery

Looking east across the site of Pallion (first) station in June 2013: it has been removed entirely and the site has been landscaped. The bridge over Merle Terrace is seen between the trees.
Photo by Roy Lambeth

The Metro station is seen at the upper (northern) end of the photo, with the site of the former station, closed in 1964, in the grassed area. The former railway bridge over Merle Terrace is still in place.

Click here for more pictures of Pallion first station




[Source: Alan Young]

Last updated: Wednesday, 13-Oct-2021 09:45:27 CEST
© 1998-2013 Disused Stations