Station Name: ROWLEY

[Source: Richard Ashby]

Date opened: 1.9.1845

On the west side of the A68 (road over bridge now
demolished) with station access lane off A68 to a car park on the Waskerley Way cycle track (part of the Coast 2 Coast cycle route) which passes through the station site.

Company on opening: Stockton & Darlington Railway
Date closed to passengers: 1.5.1939
Date closed completely: 6.6.1966
Company on closing: North Eastern Railway
Present state: Demolished - the station site is now a picnic area for walkers and cyclists’ using the Waskerley Way and the C2C Route.
County: Durham
OS Grid Ref: NZ087479
Date of visit: 1968

Notes on Rowley station by Alan Young): Although the listed date is 1.9.1845, Bradshaw continued to show Crook as the terminus until October 1846. The station was opened as Cold Rowley and was renamed Rowley on 1.7.1868.

Rowley station’s facilities were primitive at first, with only a rough platform and no signals — as noted in a report following an accident on the line. It is clear from the same source that passengers were carried on the route in coaches attached to mineral trains, and that some passengers took free rides in mineral wagons.The North Eastern Railway absorbed the S&D in |863.Ten years later the NER improved Rowley station, whose use was increasing as it served the growing community of Castleside, about a mile to the north-west.

A stately single-storey building in sandstone with a tall ridged roof was constructed on the down platform (north-west of the double track). Its broad, arched windows enlivened the platform elevation, and passengers were provided with both an enclosed waiting room and an open-fronted waiting area.The signal box was north- east of this platform.The up platform possessed a waiting shelter, and there was a siding to the south-east. Goods traffic handled at Rowley was principally ganister (stone) and livestock.

ln l896 four passenger trains in each direction, between Blackhill and Darlington, called at Rowley.The winter |937/38 timetableshows the same frequency. NER statistics reported that in 1900 only 9,350 tickets were issued and that the station served a population of almost 1,000. By 1931 bookings had declined to 2,548,and only 753 in 1938.Together with the LanchesterVa|ley route,the Blackhill-Tow Law passenger service through Rowley was withdrawn on I May l939. Goods traffic ceased between Burnhill and Tow Law, and this section of track was lifted in |952.

In the late l950s the track through Rowley was singled. Rowley continued to handle goods traffic until l966, and for a further three years the line through the station carried traffic from Durhills sand quarry (near Parkhead, between Waskerley and Stanhope) and the War Department siding at Burnhill. The line closed entirely on l May I969 and the track was lifted in I970.

Rowley station`s building fell into disrepair; but its future was assured when it was acquired by the North of England Open Air Museum at Beamish. ln l972 it was dismantled and reconstructed at its new home.|ohn Betjeman, Poet Laureate and tireless campaigner to retain the best of our railway legacy, formally opened the station in the museum in july |976.The building is now the centrepiece of a delightful North Eastern Railway exhibit, complete with goods yard, signal box and rolling stock, presented as a station of l913.

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 a more detailed history of the Stanhope & Tyne Railway up to the amalgamation with the North Eastern Railway in 1863. Ticket from Michael Stewart

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

Click here for other views of the Stanhope & Tyne Railway

Click here for freight movements around Consett

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

Snowed in at Rowley Station in 1910
Picture received from David Parkin & Peter Fullerton

1895 1:2,500 OS map. Although dated 1995 thes map has not been updated. The station was renamed to Rowley but still shown it as Cold Rowley. Yhe main line is still single track with a passing loop at the staion and there is no goods yard.

1921 1:2,500 OS map. The line has now been doubled, the station expanded
and a goods yard provided.

Rowley Station in the 1920's
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

Not only does this uuperb view from the road bridge include the station buildings and sidings in their rural settingin 1937, but it also reveals the efforts of a dedicated gardener.
Photo frrom John Mann collection
Rowley Station in 1968
hoto by Roy Lambeth

The former station building at Rowley reconstructed as an exhibit at Beamish Museum
is seen in April 1976.
hoto by Alan Young

Rowley Station after moving to Beamish Museum
Photo by Geoff Walker from his web site




[Source: Richard Ashby]

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