At Ouston Junction, the line to South Pelaw diverged from the route of the East Coast Mainline via the ‘slow’ tracks that ran all the way to Tyne Yard.
From 1954 to the late 1960s, the iron ore trains came from Tyne Dock via Washington so did not use Ouston Junction albeit, on occasion, and especially at the weekend, trains from Tyne Dock would come via Gateshead, joining the ‘slow’ lines from Tyne Yard and use Ouston Junction to join the Consett Line at South Pelaw. The line from Washington was closed in the late 1960s and all iron ore trains came from Tyne Dock via Gateshead.
In 1974, with the iron ore for Consett now coming from Redcar rather than Tyne Dock, the route from Washington was reinstated and the iron ore trains no longer used Ouston Junction.
The photograph to the right shows an HST passing the junction shows the line to South Pelaw curving away to the right with the line to Washington passing along the embankment and over the bridge in the background.
At this time, prior to the closure of the steelworks at Consett, the full junction trackwork was still in place with both the East Coast Mainline and the line from South Pelaw Junction joining the ‘slow’ lines to Tyne Yard.
The Junction after the closure of the steelworks.
The following photo shows the junction after the closure of Consett Steelworks. Note that, compared to the photo of 55013 above, the junction has already been rationalised with the removal of two crossovers, a remnant of which can be see on the left hand rail of the right hand track.
Despite Ouston Junction being a very popular location for photographers, the image below is the only one I’ve seen, so far, of a train coming off the Consett Branch.
The Junction after the closure of the Consett branch…
Taken from the bridge that took the line from South Pelaw Junction to Washington, 47351 at Ouston Junction on 27 September 1985 with the line to Consett curving away to the left. Photo copyright Dave Jolly
The Site Today…
The junction was removed when the line to Consett was completely lifted in 1985 and the ‘slow lines’ to Tyne Yard were removed later. The following two photographs show the, now unrecognisable, site of the junction in 2014, today you would never know the junction had ever existed…
The bridge that carried the Washington line has been replaced by a footbridge. In the photo to the left, the line to South Pelaw Junction originally curved away from the main line towards the building in the centre of the photograph.