Past and Present

Images of South Pelaw Junction as it was and how it is post 2013.

South Pelaw Junction Signal Box

The signal box was the only building of note at the junction and it survived almost to the end being demolished between October 1982 and April 1983.

South Pelaw Signal Box 1979

South Pelaw Junction Signal Box in May 1979 taken from the County Durham Crusader railtour. Photo copyright Alan Lewis


The burnt out remains of the signal box can be seen here in March 1984. Photo copyright John Carter

Remains of South Pelaw Junction Signal Box

All that remains of South Pelaw Junction Signal Box, a few bricks and lumps of concrete, in April 2014. Photo copyright John Donnelly

From the signal box, the turnouts and signals at the junction were controlled by a large network of point rodding and cranks.  The following photo shows the base of a point crank boss (lying in the undergrowth in April 2014) that a crank to change the direction of the point rodding would have been fitted to:

Point rodding crank support

Photo copyright John Donnelly

Pelton Lane Road Bridge

At the east end of the junction was a fairly substantial plate girder bridge that takes Pelton Lane over the tracks.  At one point, the bridge spanned seven tracks, two for the line to Consett and the remaining five the beginnings of Stella Gill sidings.

46026 on the last passenger train to consett at Stella Gill (17 March 1984)

Photo Copyright Bill Watson


Photo Copyright Bill Jamieson

Today, the bridge still carries the road to Chester-le-Street and the original buttresses are there but the bridge deck has been completely replaced and now has a much smaller open span with a lot of filling in having been undertaken as shown in the photos below taken from the site of Stella Gill sidings.

Road bridge at South Pelaw Junction 1

Photo copyright John Donnelly

Road bridge at South Pelaw Junction 2

Photo copyright John Donnelly

Road bridge at South Pelaw Junction 3

Photo copyright John Donnelly

West End Footbridge

Prominent in all pictures of the junction looking towards Washington, the bridge at the west end of the junction lasted until a couple of years ago when, over a period of just 2 days it was demolished and there is now nothing to indicate it was ever there in the first place…

It was, apparently becoming unsafe and had, at some point after closure, clearly already been propped up as you can see from the metal framework under the left hand (as you look towards Washington) span…


West End Bridge at South Pelaw looking towards the junction. Photo copyright George Dryden


West End Bridge at South Pelaw looking from the junction. Photo copyright George Dryden


Site of the West End Bridge at South Pelaw looking from the junction. Photo Copyright George Dryden

This is the site of the bridge today (April 2014) taken from the top of the embankment on the left in the two photographs above:

Site of West End Bridge

Site of the West End Bridge at South Pelaw looking across the bridge span.  The junction was off to the left and one of the abutments of the A693 bridge can be seen on the right.   Photo copyright John Donnelly

The Junction Itself

South Pelaw Junction in 1966 with all the junction track work in place and in use. The steeply graded connection to South Pelaw colliery is out of use following the closure of the colliery in 1964.

92060 Sth Pelaw Feb 66 2

South Pelaw Junction in 1966.  Note the 9F with an iron ore train for Consett and, waiting in the siding beside the signal box, the Type 4 (later Class 40) diesel which will act as a banker until the train reaches Leadgate.  Photo Copyright Roy Lambeth

The site as it was on 30th November 2013. The location has undergone a huge transformation not only because of the undergrowth but also due to the amount of earth brought in which has raised the level across most of the site.  Note also the houses on the right on the site of the old colliery exchange sidings.


Photo copyright John Donnelly

Lamp Posts

Taken on 30th November 2013, I had, originally, thought that this was a signal post but, having seen the photo below (taken in 1970) it appears that this was not the case as there is a signal right next to it.


Photo copyright John Donnelly

Click on the image for a larger version and you’ll see that I’ve circled the post in question and it’s clearly not part of the signal.  I’ve now seen a better photo of the post and, right up to the closure of the line, there was a lamp bracket and ladder in place on the post so it was clearly, at some point, a lamp post.

The post still being in situ does prove to be very useful – as you can see from the 1970 photo, the post was directly opposite the signal box which makes it possible to work out where the signal box was.  The box was demolished between October 1982 and April 1983 and further works to build the current cycle path, removed all traces that the box was ever there.


Photo Copyright Bill Jamieson

Another remaining lamp post, this time on the Stella Gill side of the bridge:


Photo copyright John Donnelly

The same post can be seen towards the right of this photo in front of the bridge:

37205 at Site of Stella Gill Sidings

Photo copyright Rail-Online

Cable Support Posts

There are dozens of these cable support posts that ran alongside the tracks still in situ.

The posts shown in the picture on the left taken on 30th November 2013 are part of the run of supports that can be seen in the bottom left of the picture below running alongside what used to be the lines to Stella Gill.


Photo copyright John Donnelly

Showing the cable supports from the picture above, Class 37 6772 eases down the bank from Consett past the site of Stella Gill sidings.


Photo Copyright Bill Jamieson

Towards Stella Gill

Class 24 D5013 on 4th March 1966 looking from South Pelaw Junction towards Stella Gill Sidings.

293 4.3.66D5103StellaGill

Photo copyright Roy Lambeth

The same location in 1984 after the railway had been abandoned.  If you click on the picture to open it to full size you’ll see that the land up to the bridge in the background has been filled in and that that bridge is now actually at ground level.  The bridge remains to this day as it supports a gas main.


Photo copyright Colin Alexander

And the same location again on 30th November 2013.  Parts of the land have been raised substantially here and nature has completely taken over leaving almost no trace of the railway…


Photo copyright John Donnelly

‘Past & Present’ shots of Stella Gill itself can be found here.

Buffer Stops

An enlargement of the centre right of the photo of D5013 showing buffer stops which, even in 1966 were out of use with the track they served already having been removed. Note that in the 1984 photo above, they had already disappeared in to the undergrowth.


Photo Copyright Roy Lambeth

The same buffer stops as they were on 30th November 2013, largely hidden within the undergrowth.  As recently as 2006, one of the horizontal buffer beams was still fitted, but appears to have been physically removed since as there is no trace of it on the ground…


Photo copyright John Donnelly


Photo copyright John Donnelly

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