Station Name: PARKHEAD


[Source: Richard Ashby]

Date opened: After 1.9.1845
Location: On the north side of an access road running east from the B6278. Waskerley Way (cycletrack) passes through the station site
Company on opening: Stockton & Darlington Railway
Date closed to passengers: Probably by 1862
Date closed completely: 2.8.1965
Company on closing: North Eastern Railway
Present state: The station house still stands. It has been renovatd and converted into a guest house.
County: Durham
OS Grid Ref: NZ003432
Date of visit: 1968 & 5.5.2006
Notes: Parkhead was opened as a goods only station but early Stockton & Darlington passenger tickets exist showing Parkhead - Bishop Auckland and back. An article by Dr. T M Bell in the North East Express (May 2002) refers to an unsigned and undated lease to let R. Cordner of Crawley House to use a line from a junction on the Weatherhill & Rookhope, 3 miles from
Park Head on the Stanhope & Tyne to Low White Heaps. Conditions included provision, weather permitting, for a passenger train to Park Head and back on Darlington & Bishop Auckland market days. It is not certain whether the service actually ran but the lease implies that some sort of service must have existed over the line in order to get passengers to markets. If the service did run it's unlikely to have lasted beyond October 1862 when the direct line to Stanhope was opened.

Parkhead was later known as Blanchland and this name was officially adopted from 1.7.1923.

This early railway was opened in 1834 to transport limestone from the quarries above Stanhope in Weardale and coal from the various collieries in North Durham to South Shields. Its consulting engineer was Robert Stephenson and the line was built without an Act of Parliament and by means of 'Wayleaves' where the company paid the landowner an annual rent for crossing their property. Not surprisingly as word got out so the landowners started asking for extortionate rents and the line was bankrupt by 1840. The section from Consett to the Tyne was taken over by the newly formed Pontop & Tyne railway while the rest southwards was bought by the Derwent Iron Company to ensure a supply of limestone to the iron works at Consett which had been established following the discovery of iron ore in the area. It became know as the Derwent Railway.

The line had to rise several hundred feet out of Weardale by means of inclined planes and winding engines at Crawley and Weatherhill; the summit was worked by horses and the traffic was lowered northwards by means of another winding engine and the self-acting Nanny Mayors incline.

More horse working followed after which traffic was lowered down one side and hauled up the other side of Hownes Gill and then hauled by rope to the iron works.

The Derwent Iron Company was looking for an outlet to the south and itself considered building a line towards Crook and the Stockton and Darlington Railway but in the end it was the S&D who constructed the Weardale Extension Railway from Crook, via the Sunniside incline and Tow Law, on behalf of the Derwent Iron Company and which subsequently purchased the Derwent Railway. The line, opened to traffic in 16 May 1845, joined the former Derwent Railway at Waskerley, at the head of Nanny Mayors Incline where a small railway village developed on the top of the moors.

The Stockton and Darlington replaced the inclines by deviations suitable for locomotives except at the Stanhope end where the two inclines survived until 1951. Hownes Gill inclines were replaced by a fine viaduct (still standing) in 1859 and in the same year a new line, avoiding Nanny Mayors Incline, facilitated through working from Crook to Consett, traffic from Stanhope and Waskerley northwards now having to reverse at the new Burnhill Junction. A station was built at Burnhill on the new deviation line about half a mile north of the junction and footpath connected it to Waskerley across the moor. Just before the new Hownes Gill Viaduct a spur line was constructed bringing the S&D line down to the Lanchester branch of the NER and passenger traffic was diverted to the station at Blackhill on the western side of the new town of Consett

The line from the Crawley incline above Stanhope to Crook carried passengers from 1 September 1845 but no stations were initially provided beyond Tow Law. (The S&D did advertise for tenders for Waskerley in 1846 but almost immediately canceled it and a station was provided for Rowley instead). The passenger service was cut back from Crawley to Waskerley in October of the same year, resuming on 1 April 1846 but was finally withdrawn at the end of the year and not resumed again. The service from Crook to Waskerley survived until 1859 when the deviation line was opened and services northwards diverted via the new Burnhill station.

With increasing competition from roads and the decline in the handling of lime and stone the line north of Tow Law to Blackhill (Consett) was closed to passengers in May 1939. The original route across the moors from Waskerley survived intact until 1951 when the inclines above Stanhope were closed and Weatherhill became the terminus until all traffic ceased on this original Stanhope and Tyne route from 1 May 1969

Click here for additional history of the Stanhope & Tyne Railway. Ticket from Michael Stewart

To see the other stations on former Stanhope & Tyne line click on the station name: Waskerley, Burnhill, Rowley & Blackhill

Click here for other views of the Stanhope & Tyne Railway

See also Stations on the Bishop Auckland - Burnhill line
Derwent Valley Railway
Lanchester Valley Railway

The site of Parkhead Station in 1968. Parkhead Station house can be seen in the centre.
hoto by Roy Lambeth

Parkhead Station house before restoration
Photo received from Terry and Lorraine Turnbull of Parkhead Station House B & B & Tearooms

Parkhead Station in May 2006 taken from the same viewpoint as the top picture
Photo by Roy Lambeth





Click on thumbnail to enlarge




[Source: Richard Ashby]

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