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
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
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.
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
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.
was instrumental in reopening the station at Etherley (renamed
Witton Park), in August 1991.
|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
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.
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.
||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
Weardale Railway Project web site. Tickets from Michael Stewart
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:
Valley Junction, Witton-le-Wear,
(1st), Stanhope (2nd),
St. John's Chapel