Station Name: SWALWELL

 

Date opened: 4.1868 (first appeared in timetable)
Location: On the south side of Hexham Road (B6317)
Company on opening: North Eastern Railway
Date closed to passengers: 2.11.1953
Date closed completely: 7.3.1960
Company on closing: British Railways (North Eastern Region)
Present state: One platform survives
County: Durham
OS Grid Ref: NZ200620
Date of visit:

2.5.2005

Notes: Work on the Derwent Valley Railway started in 1865 and the line was opened on 2nd December 1867 Four viaducts were constructed and a deep, 800 metres long cutting was dug near Rowlands Gill. The Nine Arches Viaduct was one of the major engineering feats of the railway; it is five hundred feet long and was built because the Earl of Strathmore would not allow the railway to pass through the Gibside Estate.

Stations were built at Blackhill, Shotley Bridge, Ebchester, High Westwood, Lintz Green, Rowlands Gill and Swalwell. The line was single track between Blackhill and Lintz Green and double rack between Lintz Green and the junction at Derwenthaugh. At its peak in 1914 the railway was carrying over half a million passengers a year with a regular goods traffic of timber, bricks and coal to Newcastle and iron ore to Consett.

The line also has a gruesome claim to fame in 1911 Lintz Green station was the scene of the inexplicable murder of the stationmaster by an unknown gunman the crime never solved.

By the 1920's, buses started to take the passengers. Freight fared better, continuing to deliver to collieries, coke-ovens, brickworks, paper-mills, dairy farms and the livestock mart at Blackhill, but even the freight traffic declined after W.W.II.

High Westwood Station was closed in 1942 while the remaining stations survived into the 1950's but passenger numbers failed to recover after the war and one by one the stations closed. Shotley Bridge and Ebchester closed in September 1953, Swalwell and Lintz Green followed in December 1953. Rowlands Gill closed in February 1954 and Blackhill survived until May 1955. As road traffic became more efficient the freight service continued to decline until the line finally closed completely on 11th November 1963

The track was lifted in 1964 and for many years little was done to the line until Durham County Council developed it as a country park. The viaducts and bridges were repaired and the trackbed has now become an excellent country path and cycle route.

At Lydgetts Junction near Consett, the Derwent Valley route links with the Lanchester Valley Railway Path, Waskerley Way, and the Sustrans Consett-Sunderland cycle path, the latter two form part of the C2C (Sea to Sea) Cycle Route.

For more information about Swalwell Station see the Swalwell web site. Route map drawn by Alan Young.

To see the other stations on the Derwent Valley line click on the station name: Blackhill, Shotley Bridge, Ebchester, High Westwood, Lintz Green & Rowlands Gill


Swalwell Station in the 1930's - passengers prepare to board the train for the annual Club trip (Swalwell Social Club) to the coast. The view looks towards the southwest and the train is headed east towards Newcastle and then Whitley Bay. To the left an engine shunts old NER coal trucks from the nearby Axwell Colliery, closed in 1953. The footbridge in the distance survived until the 1990s
Photo received from Michael Makepeace from Swalwell Village web site



Swalwell Station in the 1960's. The platforms at Swalwell were staggered, the end of the platform shown in the picture above can be seen bottom left. Axwell Park Colliery sidings can be seen to the right.
Photo by Dave Liddle

Swalwell Station in April 2005
P
hoto by Michael Brady



Click on thumbnail to enlarge


 

 

 

[Source: Nick Catford & Michael Brady]


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