Station Name: WESTGATE-IN-WEARDALE

 

[Source: Nick Catford]



Date opened: 21.10.1895
Location: On the east side of an unnamed minor road
Company on opening: North Eastern Railway
Date closed to passengers: 29.6.1953
Date closed completely: 1.7.1968
Company on closing: British Railways (North Eastern Region)
Present state: The station building has been restored as a community centre. The track bed has been infilled up to platform level but the platform edge can still be seen. The station house is a private residence with the back garden extended over the track bed. The arch under the road is used as a garage for a caravan.
County: Durham
OS Grid Ref: NY910380
Date of visit: May 1968 & 7.10.2005

Notes: The station buildings at Westgate-in-Weardale were similar in appearance to the others on the Wearhead extension being of a white brick construction. A pebbledash coating was applied at a later date.

After the withdrawal of passenger traffic in 1953, Westgate became the terminus of the line on 1st November 1965 when it became a public deliver siding and the section westward to St. Johns Chapel was closed.

The station was finally closed on 1st July 1968 when the line was cut back to the present terminus at Eastgate. The station then lay dormant for a decade until Wear Valley District Council bought it from British Rail.

Plans were drawn up to reclaim the station area for a picnic site and recreational area and in 1984 worked commenced by the local community group (P.A.W.S.) in association with the District Council and the RDC Appointed Community Aid. Former World Cup Referee Pat Partridge officially opened the Centre on 15th September 1985.

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE WEAR VALLEY RAILWAY (this is a shortened version taken from the Weardale Railway Project web site. Click here for the full version)
It was in the early days of the Stockton & Darlington Railway Company, that a railway to tap the mineral wealth of Weardale was first considered. However, it wasn't until November 1843 when the Bishop Auckland & Weardale Railway was opened from Shildon Junction to Crook that any real attempt was made to penetrate the dale. The line was leased and worked by the Stockton & Darlington Railway. An extension of this line in 1845 from Crook to Waskerley was opened to serve as another outlet for the Derwent Iron Company at Consett. The section of line was originally called the Weardale Extension Railway but later under a merger with the line from Stanhope to Consett, was known as the Wear & Derwent Junction Railway.

A plan to penetrate Weardale proper was covered by the Wear Valley Act of July 1845, which was to provide a line from Witton Junction (Wear Valley Junction) on the Bishop Auckland & Weardale Railway to Frosterley, with a connecting branch to Bishopley, this opened on 3rd August 1847.

A plan to penetrate Weardale proper was covered by the Wear Valley Act of July 1845, which was to provide a line from Witton Junction (Wear Valley Junction) on the Bishop Auckland & Weardale Railway to Frosterley, with a connecting branch to Bishopley, this opened on 3rd August 1847.

In 1862 the Wear Valley line was extended to Stanhope by the Frosterley & Stanhope Railway, mainly to reach the Newlandside Estate on the south side of the town where large quantities of limestone were known to exist.

The final extension of the Wear Valley line to Wearhead was opened on 21st October 1895. It was impossible to extend the line from the existing station at Stanhope and a new one was built.


Westgate signal box 8.1964 - Photo Roy Lambeth

Between Eastgate and Westgate at Cambo Keels, sidings were established to serve the Weardale Iron Company's Heights limestone quarry. This quarry is still operational today.

The passenger train service survived until 29th June 1953. Up until closure, four trains per day had served the stations of Witton-Le-Wear, Harperley, Wolsingham, Frosterley, Stanhope, Eastgate, Westgate-in-Weardale, St. Johns Chapel and Wearhead. The freight service to Wearhead survived until 1961 when the line was cut back the St. John's Chapel. West of Eastgate followed in 1968, which is the present terminus.

Eastgate cement works were established in 1964 and brought new life to the Wear valley line. Utilising purpose built container wagons, cement was transported mainly by rail from the plant to Teesside, Tyneside and Scotland. This operation ceased on 17th March 1993.

The line which existed until 2004 was single throughout between Eastgate and Shildon. There is a connecting spur into Bishop Auckland station - the terminus of the 'Heritage Line' passenger service from Darlington. A summer only Sunday passenger train service to Stanhope operated as an extension to the Darlington service between 1988 & 1992. The success of this
service was instrumental in reopening the station at Etherley (renamed Witton Park), in August 1991.

A campaign to save the line west of Bishop Auckland, now known as the Weardale Railway, began in 1993 with the threat of closure and track uplift a real possibility after the last cement train ran.

Until 2004, the line was mothballed, but purchase by Weardale Railways Limited has now been achieved and the first works trains began running in 2004 in preparation for the reopening of the first section between Stanhope and Wolsingham in July 2004. In February 2005 Weardale Railways Ltd, the company operating the line ran into financial difficulties and it
was necessary to call in an administrator. No service operated during 2005 but the Weardale Railway Project are hopeful of of a satisfactory outcome in the near future with a resumption of services some time in 2006.

See The Weardale Railway Project web site. Tickets from Michael Stewart

Click here for Roy Lambeth's memories of the Wear Valley line in the late 1950's & 1960's

To see the other stations on the Wear Valley Railway click on the station name: Bishop Auckland, Etherley, Wear Valley Junction, Witton-le-Wear, Harperley, Wolsingham, Frosterley, Stanhope (1st), Stanhope (2nd), Eastgate,
St. John's Chapel & Wearhead


Westgate-in-Weardale Station early 20th Century
Copyright p
hoto from John Alsop collection


Westgate-in-Weardale Station looking west in August 1964
P
hoto by Roy Lambeth

Three Dales Railtour at Westaget-in-Weardale Station on 20th May 1967
Photo by Alan Brown


Westgate-in-Weardale Station looking east in Summer 1969
P
hoto by Roy Lambeth

Westgate-in-Weardale Station looking west in October 2005
P
hoto by Roy Lambeth

Click here for more pictures of Westgate-in-Weardale Station




 

 

 

[Source: Nick Catford]


Home Page
Last updated: Friday, 26-May-2017 08:57:40 BST
© 1998-2008 Disused Stations