Station Name: WILLINGTON (Durham)

 

[Source: Nick Catford & Roy Lambeth]



Date opened: 1.4.1857
Location: On the south side Commercial Street
Company on opening: North Eastern Railway
Date closed to passengers: 4.5.1964
Date closed completely: 10.8.1964
Company on closing: British Rail (North Eastern Region)
Present state: Demolished - no evidence of the station remains. The site is now a wide grassed area with the Brandon - Bishop Auckland Railway Path running through it.
County: Durham
OS Grid Ref: NZ198352
Date of visit: September 1967, June 1968 & 27.6.2005

Notes: On the north side of the village a junction served Brancepeth Colliery (closed 1967) and to the south of the station was Willington Colliery (Closed 1932)

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BISHOP AUCKLAND - DURHAM BRANCH LINE
The first railway to Bishop Auckland opened in 1843 as an extension of The Stockton & Darlington Railway from South Church to The Wear Valley and the town eventually developed into an important interchange point with lines radiating to all parts of the railway network including Darlington, Crook (until 1939 this was a through route to Swalwell on Tyneside via Tow Law, Consett Steel Works [Derwent Iron Co], Shotley Bridge and the Derwent Valley) & Weardale, Spennymoor, Barnard Castle and Durham. The station was unusual in shape being triangular, it was no problem if a locomotive needed turning.

The line between Bishop Auckland and Durham opened to freight 19.8.1856 and to passengers on 1.4.1857 with three intermediate stations at Hunwick, Willington and Brancepeth. A forth station serving Brandon Colliery was added on 1861. To the North the branch joined the ECML at Rellymill Junction South of Durham where a line also trailed in from the left from the Lanchester Valley and Consett. Deerness Valley Junction sited just south of Rellymill Junction on the Bishop Auckland line was a three way junction with the Waterhouses branch trailing in from the west and a spur to Lanchester Valley and Consett leaving to the North-West.

The line also served a number of collieries including Hunwick Colliery with a line to Newfield Colliery and Brickworks from Hunwick Station, West Hunwick Colliery, Rough Lea Colliery, Willington and Sunnybrow Collieries via a link to The West Durham Railway, Brancepeth Colliery (with a colliery line to Oakenshaw Colliery), Brandon Colliery (with a colliery line to Brandon Pit House Colliery).

The line was occasionally used by mainline express traffic diverting to avoid engineering works between Darlington and Durham.

The Sunderland - Durham - Bishop Auckland passenger service ceased in May 1964 although it was re-opened for one day in July 1964 for Miners Gala trains from Brandon, Waterhouses, Ushaw Moor and Fencehouses and a few other stations. Freight facilities were withdrawn from Brancepeth, Willington & Brandon Colliery from 10.8.1964 (Hunwick lost its freight service in 1958) although the line remained in use for freight for a further four years.

Since closure, Rellymill Junction to Deerness Valley Junction has been incorporated into a realigned East Coast Main Line which has had its curve eased to increase line speed. Much of the remainder of the line has now been converted into the 9.5 mile Brandon - Bishop Auckland Railway Path. The path begins at Broompark Picnic Area. It passes through the villages of Brandon, Brancepeth and Willington before reaching its end at the Newton Cap Viaduct, near Bishop Auckland. The Durham platforms at Bishop Auckland have gone and the site is now a Halfords store.

Further reading: Durham's Railways by Charlie Emett - Sutton Publishing 1999
ISBN: 0750920769

To see the other stations on the Bishop Auckland - Durham branch line click on the station name: Bishop Auckland, Hunwick, Brancepeth & Brandon Colliery


Willington Station in September 1967
Photo by Nick Catford



Willington Station in the early 20th C
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

The site of Willington Station in June 2005
P
hoto by Nick Catford

Early 20th C

Pre1914

1934

1963

1967

1967

1968

1968


Click on thumbnail to enlarge

 

 

 

[Source: Nick Catford & Roy Lambeth]


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