Station Name: TWIZELL

[Source: Nick Catford]


Date opened

8.1861

Location

At the end of an un-named lane, about a mile from its junction with the A698

Company on opening

North Eastern Railway

Date closed to passengers

4.7.1955

Date closed completely

4.7.1955

Company on closing

British Railways (North Eastern Region)

Present state

Platforms extant but overgrown. Stationmaster’s house in residential use, north-east of the platforms. Former railway cottages extant south-west of the platforms.

County

Northumberland

OS Grid Ref: NT876437
Date of visit:

January 1976, June 2011

Notes: Twizell station first appeared in the Bradshaw timetable in 1861, over a decade after the line opened between Tweedmouth and Sprouston. In opening this station the North Eastern Railway surely did not expect it to be heavily used, located as it was in a sparsely populated area lacking villages and hamlets, at the end of a lane from Twizel Bridge. The Anglo-Scottish border follows the River Tweed which passes close to the station, and there is no bridge to provide access to the station from the Scottish (Berwickshire) side; however a ferry operated across the river during some of the time that the station was in use. Ordnance Survey (OS) was slow to add the station to its maps. It did not appear on the 1865 1: 10,560 or 1895 1: 2,500 publications but was eventually shown on the 1898 1: 2,500 map, reproduced below.

The unusual sounding name is derived from ‘twisla’, an Old English word meaning ‘fork of a river’, referring here to the confluence of the rivers Till and Tweed. This element also appears in the name of Haltwhistle, also in Northumberland. The spelling of the name of the station, the nearby bridge and castle is inconsistent. OS used the spelling ‘Twizell’ until the edition of 1924 from which date it was ‘Twizel’. Bradshaw spelling is Twizell in February 1863, Twizel in August 1887 and December 1895 but Airey’s 1881 and 1893 and RCH Handbook 1904 show Twizell. Reid’s timetable of 1920 confusingly uses the spelling ‘Twizel’. The LNER and British Railways seem always to have used ‘Twizell’.

This late addition to the NER Kelso Branch seems to have been only a request stop at first, and Bradshaw of February 1863 merely includes a footnote, ‘The trains will stop at Twizell when required’. Whereas the earlier stations had the dignity of a two-storey stone-built stationmaster’s house, Twizell was grudgingly provided with a small, single-storey, rendered brick structure to accommodate the stationmaster, and of no architectural merit. It stood on the up side at the north-east ramp of the platform with a pent-roofed timber shed, presumably a later addition, adjoining it to the south-west on the platform. A booking office, probably also of timber construction, at one time adjoined the stationmaster’s house on the opposite side.  Two timber structures, one a pent-roofed waiting shelter and the other a store stood on the down platform. The facing platforms were partially staggered, the up (Tweedmouth-bound) displaced about 50yd south-west of the down platform. The up platform was 89yd in length and the down 94yd. The reason for this platform layout is not known. A path stretched from the level crossing at the north-east end of the station to provide access to the up platform. Although the NER Line Diagram (undated) shows this partially staggered layout, a document held at the National Archives  (relating to the installation and inspection in 1882 of a goods siding on the down side north-east of the station) includes a plan which suggests that at this time there were facing platforms and that the up platform extended from the station house to the signal box. The goods facility added in 1882 was limited in comparison to the relatively lavish provision at neighbouring minor station of Norham and Velvet Hall. A pair of railway cottages stood south-west of the station on the up side.

A signal box was added c1880 on the up side of the line, about 50yd north-east of the platform ramp and facing the ramp of the down platform. It was of a non-standard N1 design in timber but was reconstructed in 1900 with an N2 brick base. Before the reconstruction the box had an 8-lever frame; in 1900 a new frame of 20 levers was installed.

In the table below Twizell is no longer a conditional stop.

August 1887                        Up trains: weekdays

                    Destination

                                    Down trains: weekdays

                         Destination

8.35am

Berwick

9.03am

Kelso

10.30am

Berwick

11.58am

Kelso

1.10pm

Berwick

2.38pm

Kelso

3.50pm

Berwick

5.08pm

Kelso

8.10pm

Berwick

7.15pm

Kelso

-

-

8.15pm

Kelso

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

9.45am

Berwick

7.58am

Kelso

8.15pm

Berwick

5.58pm

Kelso

At about the turn of the century Twizell eventually acquired a new stationmaster’s house to replace the diminutive structure on the up platform. It was built north-east of the level crossing on the up side, a rather plain, two-storey red brick structure under a hipped, almost pyramidal slate roof. It is likely that at this time the former station house became the booking office; the earlier booking office was removed and it is not shown on any of the accompanying photographs.

The population served in 1911 by Twizell station amounted to only 186. In that year only 3,614 tickets were issued. In 1913 Twizell station dispatched 265 tons of barley, 109 tons of oats and 57 wagons of livestock.



NER records show that Henry Miles was stationmaster at Twizell until 1 July 1909; when he was appointed is not known. He was succeeded by Mr J C Wilson who went on to be promoted to the post at North Seaton, near Ashington, in July 1911. From September of that year until December 1912 Mr G W Richardson was stationmaster at Twizell, being replaced by Mr W Welborn in January 1913, who held the post until February 1914. Mr T Short was appointed in March 1914, and his tenure was somewhat longer than his predecessors, as he remained at Twizell until August 1922.

In Reid’s timetable, below, the station is shown as ‘Twizel’

July 1920                      Up trains: weekdays

                          Destination

                                    Down trains: weekdays

                         Destination

8.17am

Berwick

6.38am

Alnwick

10.34am

Berwick

9.07am

Kelso

3.55pm

Berwick

2.46pm

Kelso

8.31pm

Berwick

4.20pm

Alnwick

-

-

6.27pm

Kelso

Up trains: Sunday

Destination

Down trains: Sunday

Destination

10.04am

Berwick

8.52am

Kelso

7.44pm

Berwick

6.27pm

Kelso

In 1923 the North Eastern Railway was absorbed into the new London & North Eastern Railway at the ‘Grouping’. Shortly before this, in September 1922 James Wood became stationmaster, and he was in post until July 1930. It is likely that at this time Twizell station came under the supervision of either Norham or Coldstream. In August 1947 stationmaster W A Watson was appointed to look after Norham, Twizell and Velvet Hall stations. Twizell station’s passenger traffic was light, but Dean (2011) notes that relative to the population served it was, in fact ,well used with 20 journeys per person per annum, whilst Carham and Sprouston generated only five journeys per head. During the inter-war years road motor transport enticed passengers from many railway stations, but it is not known if any regular bus route ever served Twizell station, situated as it was at the end of a 1½-mile dead-end lane. As noted on the Norham and Velvet Hall pages, these stations were affected adversely by motor bus competition.

September 1937                  Up trains: weekdays

                     Destination

Down trains: weekdays

                    Destination

8.19am

Berwick

7.57am

Coldstream

10.29am

Berwick

9.10am

Kelso

12.59pm

Berwick

11.56am

Kelso

3.33pm

Berwick

2.23pm

Kelso

7.05pm

Berwick

5.51pm

St Boswells

-

-

9.49pm SO

Sunilaws

Sunday: no trains

 

Sunday: no trains

 

SO  Saturday only

At nationalisation in January 1948 British Railways (BR) North Eastern Region inherited an essentially Victorian Twizell station, still oil-lit and booking a dwindling number of passengers. In 1951 only 537 tickets were sold, and as a cost-cutting measure the station ceased to be staffed on 7 December 1953, and its goods yard was closed. Whereas other BR regions might have added the suffix ‘Halt’ when a station became unstaffed, the North Eastern Region was reluctant to use the suffix, confining its use to ‘untimetabled’ stations after its last public halt (Lewiefield, in Northumberland) closed in 1956.

Faced with declining traffic, in 1954 BR proposed to save £7,744 a year by closing Velvet Hall, Twizell, Sunilaws, Sprouston and Carham stations and substantially reducing the number of trains. It was reported that annual revenue from Sunilaws amounted to £217, Velvet Hall £125, and Twizell £66. The numbers of passengers travelling daily in an October census were four, six and two respectively.  Bradshaw of February 1955 shows the following timetable, which would be the final one for Twizell, save for retiming from June 1955 of the 10.00am and 3.53pm departures on Saturday only.

February 1955                  Up trains: weekdays

                     Destination

Down trains: weekdays

                    Destination

8.03am

Berwick-upon-Tweed

6.57am

St Boswells

10.00am

Berwick-upon-Tweed

9.45am

St Boswells

5.11pm

Berwick-upon-Tweed

3.53pm

St Boswells

8.29pm

Berwick-upon-Tweed

7.12pm

St Boswells

Sunday: no trains

 

Sunday: no trains

 

SO  Saturday only      SX  Saturday excepted

The final trains called at Twizell on Saturday 2 July 1955 and on the following Monday the station closed entirely. All of the platform buildings were standing in 1958 but had been demolished by the time that the line closed to passengers (June 1964). The signal box remained in use until 28 July 1964 and the platforms were not demolished, although they have become progressively overgrown. The railway cottages and stationmaster’s house remain in use.

Tickets from Michael Stewart. Borders Facebook Group. Route map drawn by Alan Young

Click here for a brief history of the
Tweedmouth - St Boswells line

To see other stations on the Tweedmouth - St Boswells line click on the station name: To see other stations on the Tweedmouth - St Boswells line click on the station name: Tweedmouth, Velvet Hall, Norham, Coldstream, Sunilaws, Carham, Sprouston, Kelso, Wallace Nick, Roxburgh, Rutherford & Maxton & St Boswells

See also Jedburgh branch: Kirkbank, Nisbet, Jedfoot & Jedburgh


Twizell Station Gallery 1: 1930s - Winter 1963/64

Twizell looking south-west circa 1930s from close to the level crossing. The architecture of this station, a later addition to the NER Kelso Branch, was simpler than at its neighbours. The original stationmaster’s house, thought later to have become the booking office, is close to the up platform ramp (right) and the down platform has a modest timber pent-roofed shelter. The platforms are partially staggered, the up platform displaced some 50yd south-west of its opposite number, for reasons unknown. The running-in nameboard appears to have raised lettering, but is not a standard LNER design; the dark background suggests that it is in LNER livery. The NER casement oil lanterns here were of a slightly more elaborate style than found on many of the company’s stations. In the distance is a pair of railway cottages.
Photo from John Mann and Alan Young collections


1898 1:2,500 OS map. Although it had opened in 1861, this is the earliest large scale map to show Twizell station. It is in an isolated rural location at the end of a lane from the south-east and close to the River Tweed (immediately north-west of the small area of woodland) which at this point forms the boundary between Northumberland (England) and Berwickshire (Scotland). A ferry is shown connecting a track from Twizell station with the Scottish bank of the river; it is unlikely that this conveyed many passengers from the sparsely populated Berwickshire countryside. The main station building, at this time providing living quarters for the stationmaster, is on the north-west (up) platform with a small waiting shelter on the opposite platform; the platforms are partially staggered, the down one displaced in a north-east direction. A siding is provided for coal traffic and the weigh office (‘W.M.’- weighing machine) is adjacent to the lane. The signal box is north-east of the up platform and two railway cottages are to the south-west of the platform. A much larger house for the stationmaster, would soon be built north-east of the station.

Looking north-east  at Twizell station from a departing train on 25 April 1952. The main building of rendered brick was originally the stationmaster’s house and is thought to have become the booking office when a new station house was provided c1900. The timber stggructure in the foreground was originally the ladies’ room. Beyond the up platform ramp a path leads to the level crossing and signal box. On the down platform are two timber buildings, the nearer one being a pent-roofed timber shelter. The running-in nameboard has replaced that seen on the earlier photograph. Beyond the crossing the goods yard is to the right with a small goods dock and a loading gauge.
Photo by J W Armstrong / ARPT

Looking north-east from the down (Kelso-bound) platform at Twizell station in 1952. At this stage the station is still staffed, though its stationmaster is based at Norham; in the following year Twizell would be reduced in status to an ‘unstaffed halt’. The main building and a timber extension are close to the ramp of the up platform; the extension formerly accommodated a urinal at the near end with a ladies’ room beyond. A timber waiting shed can be seen in the distance on the down platform.
Photo from Roy Lambeth collection

The source of this photograph locates the scene at Twizell and gives the date of 1953. The loco in the picture is Thompson B1 4-6-0 No.61357 which was new ex-works during October 1949. In 1953 she was allocated to St Margarets (Edinburgh) and was withdrawn in 1965. BR introduced LMS style smokebox shedplates on all regions from sometime in 1950; under magnification it appears that No.61357 is not carrying a shedplate, so it is likely to be a little earlier than 1953 (the year provided by the source) perhaps 1951 and unlikely to be later than 1952.
Photo from ‎Colin Ashmore from Railways of Berwick and the Eastern Borders Facebook Group

Looking north-east along the down platform at Twizell, probably from a Kelso-bound train. The date is September 1955, so the station had closed to all traffic a few weeks earlier when passenger trains ceased to call. With its clean white lining and lanterns still in place the station could still be in use. To the left the main building and up platform ramp are visible with the signal box close to the level crossing. The goods yard at this station closed in 1953 and the sidings which were beyond the level crossing on the down side have been removed.
Copyright photo by HC Casserley

A general view of Twizell station looking north-east in September 1955, several weeks after it had closed to passengers, and to all traffic, having closed to goods in 1953. The partial staggering of the platforms is apparent, the up (left) platform displaced some 50yd south-west of the down. Smart casement lanterns adorn the platforms. The main station building, a plain single-storey structure is seen at the far end of the up platform.
Copyright photo by RM Casserley

Twizell station looking south-west in August 1958, three years after it had closed to all traffic. The platforms and all of the buildings are intact and the lanterns are still in place, although the station is beginning to show signs of neglect. Beyond the station two railway cottages can be seen on the up side of the line.
Copyright photo from Stations UK

The signal box at Twizell station is seen circa 1958. The box is a 1900 reconstruction of the original structure of 1880. It consists of a non-standard N1 cabin on a later N2 brick base and is equipped with a 20-lever Stevens frame. The box would close on 28 July 1964, a few weeks after passenger trains ceased to operate on the line. The Home signal carries an ‘X’ indicating that it is not in use.
Photo from Roy Lambeth collection

Looking north-west from the disused Twizell station possibly in winter 1963-64 as a local passenger train bound for Kelso and St Boswells approaches in the distance. The station closed to all traffic in 1955. In the foreground are the remains of the station building at the ramp of the up platform, and a tarmac path continues to the signal box and level crossing. The timber buildings on the down platform have been removed. Beyond the level crossing the goods sidings on the right have been lifted but the redundant loading gauge is still in place.
Photo by Morrison Halbert from Roy Lambeth collection / ARPT collection

Looking north-west from the disused Twizell station possibly in winter 1963-64 as a local passenger train bound for Kelso and St Boswells approaches. The single BR Mark 1 coach is drawn by a 4MT 2-6-0 loco; its number cannot be seen but it is probably 76049 or 76050, both of which were shedded at Hawick from November 1963. The station’s buildings have been demolished although the signal box at the level crossing is extant.
Photo by Morrison Halbert from Roy Lambeth collection / ARPT collection

Click here for Twizell Station Gallery 2:
Winter 1963/64 - December 2012

 

 

 

[Source: Nick Catford]




Last updated: Wednesday, 27-Dec-2017 11:30:06 CET
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