Station Name: STANHOPE (2nd Site)

[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: 21.10.1895
Location: At the end of Station Road
Company on opening: North Eastern Railway
Date closed to passengers: 29.6.1953
Date closed completely: 1.11.1965
Company on closing: British Railways (North Eastern Region)
Present state: The station building has been refurbished and both platforms have rebuilt and restored as part of the Weardale Railway Project.
County: Durham
OS Grid Ref: NY999388
Date of visit: May 1968 & 7.10.2005

Notes: The platforms were originally connected by a wooden footbridge (see first picture), to be later replaced by a standard North Eastern railway pattern type in 1920. Across the river (back towards Frosterley) there was an engine shed, originally built as a single road, extended to three roads and then later in life cut back to single. During the Second World War, two locomotives were stored in the shed for safekeeping. They were Locomotion and Derwent from Darlington.

Despite losing the passenger traffic in 1953, the goods facility continued until 1st November 1965 when all business was transferred under the control of Bishop Auckland.

In 1988 the newly refurbished platform opened to accommodate an experimental Summer weekend service, which was an extension of the Darlington to Bishop Auckland Heritage Line service. Station improvements costing £9,000.00 were carried out prior to the introduction of the service, being financed by contributions from Durham County Council and the Heritage Line Group.

The service was to prove an outstanding success and was repeated each summer between 22nd May 1988 and 5th November 1989 and Saturdays from 19th May 1991 to 27th September 1992

Wear Valley District Council bought the station building from British Rail in 1992. Volunteers from the Weardale Railway Society carried out some initial renovation work before the Council took over and saw the project through to completion in early 1995.

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..

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 station was built.

Stanhope signal box in 1962 - Photo by 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
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
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 & Roy Lambeth

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), Eastgate, Westgate, St. John's Chapel & Wearhead

Stanhope Station early 20th Century
Copyright p
hoto from John Alsop collection

SLS/RCTS 5 day North Eastern Railtour at St. John's Chapel Station on 28th September 1963
Photo by Brian Johnson

Stanhope Station in May 1968

Stanhope Station was renovated in 1988 for an extension of the Darlington to Bishop Auckland Heritage Line service. (Chris Cubitt, chairman of the Lambton Locomotive Trust in the foreground)
Stanhope Station in October 2005
hoto by Roy Lambeth
Click here for more pictures of Stanhope Station




[Source: Nick Catford]

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