Leadgate and East Castle

The station at Leadgate was on the north side of St Ives Road (the main road through the village) and was opened by the North Eastern Railway Company on 17 August 1896.  In 1923, as part of the Grouping, it became part of the London North Eastern Railway (LNER) then, in 1948, after the nationalisation of the railways, passed to the ownership of British Railways (BR).  The station was built on an embankment that also took the line over the Roman Road of Watling Street (known as Durham Road by the locals) and, further through the village, over West Street.

Site of Leadgate Station 1945

Site of Leadgate station in 1945 from Google Earth. Not the best image but the embankments and bridge that took the line over Watling Street can be seen.

As shown in the period photographs and postcards further down the page, the station consisted of two wooden platforms with the main station buildings on the Newcastle bound platform with Consett bound passengers getting a simple shelter all constructed, as was the North Eastern Railway standard on the line, from timber with brick chimneys, slated roofs and glass verandas.  The Consett bound platform was also the site of Leadgate Signal Box which controlled access to the goods yard.

The National Coal Board (NCB) and Consett Iron Company (CIC) had running rights over the lines through Leadgate between Eden Colliery just outside the village and the steelworks.  Between East Castle and the Jolly Drovers was South Medomsley Signal Box and the junction to South Medomsley Colliery which closed in 1962 after it was merged underground with Eden colliery.

At the west end of the village the line branched north at Bradley Crossing to Derwent Colliery and Medomsley Colliery. The line also branched to the NCB Bradley Workshops which were right next to the cricket ground.  Carrhouse goods station and coal depot was located at the junction with the Medomsley branch, this had been a short lived passenger station from 1 July 1858 to 1 October 1868.

After the station was demolished, some of the larger timbers from the structure were left behind and have, subsequently, been incorporated in to newer buildings in the village or used to make furniture.

The tracks through the village were lifted in September 1984.

Leadgate station

Leadgate station around 1910 looking towards Pontop Pike, St Ives Road was on the right. Authors collection, unknown photographer

Passenger Services

The station issued 56,673 tickets in 1898, 71,975 in 1903 and 67,733 in 1913 becoming the only station on the line to issue fewer tickets in 1913 than in 1903 with total receipts in 1913 of £2,146.

The introduction of the local bus services in the early 1920s run by the Venture bus company proved to be the death knell for passenger services not just for Leadgate but for all stations on the line.   In 1931 Venture buses operated between Consett and Newcastle (via Rowlands Gill) every twenty minutes, including Sundays, whilst Northern bus 33 provided a half-hourly service via Leadgate and Burnopfield. Further Northern buses (service 11 via Rowlands Gill and 29 via Whickham) also plied between Consett and Newcastle once an hour. This intensive service was a sharp contrast to the railway service of around a dozen trains on weekdays, and two on Sundays.

The station closed to passengers, like the other stations on the line on 23 May 1955.  Local excursion trains to the coast did run for a short time after this as evidenced by the photo further down the page of a passenger train at the station in September 1955.

Goods Services

Prior to the construction of the station, at the west end of the village was Carrhouse Goods Station as shown in the 1895 map further down the page.

Like most of the stations on the line, Leadgate had a small goods yard consisting, originally, of three sidings on the northern side of the line leading towards Newcastle albeit, by 1947, the shortest siding next to the Newcastle bound platform had been removed as had two small buildings at the rear of the yard as well as the headshunt that ran parallel to the main lines towards the east.

Ticket issued at Leadgate Station prior to 1923 courtesy of Michael Stewart

Goods traffic at Leadgate in 1899 (excluding major minerals such as coal, coke, lime and limestone) consisted of 1,445 tons sent and 6,450 tons received.  As with the other stations on the line, the goods traffic lasted nine years longer than passenger traffic, being finally withdrawn on 10 August 1964.

Ticket issued at Leadgate Station between 1923 and 1947. Courtesy of Michael Stewart.

Bridges

There were four railway bridges in Leadgate, the first, at the Jolly Drovers public house took the railway over the A692 road, the next took the railway over Watling Street followed by a bridge taking the railway over West Street before a road bridge took the A692 over the railway at the west end of the village.

All the bridges were demolished in the late 1980s following the closure of the line with the exception of the road bridge at the west end of the village which survived until 2016 resulting, ironically, in the road out of the village to Consett following, for a short distance at least, the path of the old track bed.

At East Castle, a bridge (still standing) took the line over Stoney Heap Lane and a further, small bridge, took the line over a subway next to Our Lady and Saint Joseph Catholic Church Brooms, next to Eden Colliery.

Maps of Leadgate

The west end of Leadgate in 1896 showing Carrhouse Station (Goods) and Coal Depot.  Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

Leadgate in 1895 prior to the building of the station with the railway through the village still a single line. Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

Leadgate in 1921 following construction of the station and the doubling of the line. Note the original configuration of the goods yard at the station with three sidings. Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

Leadgate in 1947 with the station in the centre, Bradley Workshops to the top left and St Ives Church to the top right. Note that, compared to the 1921 map above, the shorter siding in the goods yard has been removed as have the two buildings at the rear of the yard. Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

West end of Leadgate in 1947 showing Bradley Workshops and the branch to Derwent and Medomsley collieries. Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Leadgate Station in the early 20th Century…

A colourised postcard showing Leadgate Station in 1907, Pontop Pike in the background.  Courtesy Nick Catford

A colourised postcard showing Leadgate Station circa 1907.  Eden Colliery can be seen in the background. Courtesy Nick Catford

The guard is anxious to restart his Consett bound train at Leadgate as a member of staff approaches to close an open carriage door, sometime in the early years of the 20th century. The largely wooden station, perched on an embankment, has copious greenery and is well provided with lamps. On a dark evening, the station must have had a very pleasant atmosphere providing, that is, a gale wasn’t blowing. The train is formed of no less than ten vehicles, mostly five-compartment types and probably four-wheelers. Partly out of the picture, bottom right, is a brake third and one of its tail lamps is just visible at the bottom of the picture. On the centre compartment door of the second vehicle from the camera the North Eastern Railway crest can be seen. In the absence of a precise date, the livery of the train is a matter of debate but it was most likely crimson lake with yellow lining and beading while the locomotive would have been in the well known NER light green with black-lined-white boiler bands and red/brown frames. Photo, which appears to have been taken from the signal box, is from the John Mann collection, courtesy of Nick Catford

Leadgate Station in 1915. Taken by Elizabeth Hogg who worked at the station during the First World War as her contribution to the war effort. Courtesy of Nick Catford.

Leadgate and East Castle in the 1950s…

Gresley V1 67658 stops at Leadgate station with a passenger train on 7 September 1955. As the passenger service on the line had ceased almost 18 months before this photo was taken, this must have been an excursion train. Photo copyright Jim Sedgwick, courtesy of Nick Catford.

Leadgate and East Castle in the 1960s…

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An NER Q6 at Leadgate in May 1964. The NCB wagon on the right is in the headshunt of Eden Colliery. The white building that can just be glimpsed under the drawbar of the tender is the Jolly Drovers pub.  Photo copyright Ron Fisher

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LNER K1 62027 at East Castle between Annfield Plain and Leadgate in May 1964. Photo copyright Ron Fisher

Leadgate and East Castle in the 1970s…

37074 East Castle 28-6-76

37074 heads a train of two torpedo wagons at East Castle heading towards Consett. In the background is part of the Eden Colliery complex which remained until 1980.  Further details on these unusual trains can be found here.  Photo copyright Stephen McGahon.

37089 passes East Castle on 28 June 1976. In the background can be seen part of the works at Consett. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

37089 passes East Castle just outside Leadgate on 28 June 1976. Dominating the sky line in the background can be seen part of the works at Consett. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

site of leadgate sta. 28-2-77 37100

37100 on a steel train passes the site of Leadgate station on 28 February 1977. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

With the masts of Pontop Pike in the background, 37127 passes the outskirts of Leadgate with empty coal hoppers from Consett on 31st May 1977.

With the masts of Pontop Pike in the background, 37127 passes East Castle between Leadgate and Annfield Plain with coal hoppers from Consett on 31st May 1977.  Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

In typical weather for the Consett area, 37194 passes Brooms on the outskirts of Leadgate with a single brake van. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

The County Durham Crusader passes between East Castle and Greencroft on 19 May 1979 on the return journey from Consett. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

The County Durham Crusader Railtour passes East Castle on 19 May 1979 on the return journey from Consett. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

Leadgate and East Castle in the 1980s…

Leadgate 001

A rather odd train, on a Sunday morning, probably early in 1980, taken from the A693 just before its junction with the A692 east of Leadgate. Two Class 37s on a train of HBA’s loaded with coal. This was during the 1979/1980 winter of discontent and the road transport drivers were on strike. Very unusual sight on the branch. I slammed the brakes on, jumped out of the car and just hoped it would come out. Pity it was such an awful day – The quality of photos taken when there’s melting snow is always poor. Photo Author’s Collection, description by original photographer.

37114 rounds Brooms Curve at Leadgate with the Tyne-Tees Ltd on 22 March 1980. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

Tyne-Tees Ltd. Brooms curve,Leadgate 22-3-80 37 114

Another shot of 37114 as it rounds Brooms Curve at Leadgate with the Tyne-Tees Ltd on 22 March 1980. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

Tyne-Tees Ltd. climbing towards Annfield Plain 22-3-80 37114

37114 climbing towards Annfield Plain with the Tyne-Tees Ltd on 22 March 1980. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

Brooms church,Leadgate. 37065, weedkilling train

37065 on a weed killing train passing Brooms Church at Leadgate on 21 June 1983. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon.

Last train at Pontop 2

46026 at Pontop just outside Leadgate on the way to Consett with the last passenger train on 17 March 1984. Photo Copyright Neil Young

Last train at Pontop

46026 at Pontop just outside Leadgate on the way to Consett with the last passenger train on 17 March 1984. Photo Copyright Neil Young

Track lifting at Leadgate…

37093 at Leadgate 27 on September 1984. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

37093 at Leadgate, looking towards Villa Real on 27 September 1984. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

37093 at Leadgate 27 on September 1984. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

37093 at Leadgate 27 September 1984. Houses have now been built on the trackbed and the overbridge in the cente of the photo no longer exists.  Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

37093 with a train of track panels at Leadgate on 27 September 1984. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

37005 with a track lifting train at Leadgate on 18 September 1984. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

37078 Teeside Steelmaster stands close to Leadgate, just outside of Consett, on a rail removal train in 1984 with the drivers, Tommy & Matt, posing for the camera.

37078 Teesside Steelmaster stands at Villa Real, on a track lifting train in 1984 with the drivers, Tommy & Matt, posing for the camera. Photo copyright Keith Brown

A Class 46 at St Ives Road, Leadgate, with a track lifting train. Photo copyright Allen Marrs

Taken during a break in the track lifting operations beside the Jolly Drovers bridge, looking towards Leadgate on 19th September 1984. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

Taken during a break in the track lifting operations beside the Jolly Drovers bridge, looking towards East Castle and Annfield Plain (Pontop Pike in the background) on 19th September 1984. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

37058 at Leadgate on 2 October 1984. Photo copyright Allen Marrs

Carl Southern has created this video with a montage of photos of the railway around Leadgate:

Leadgate and East Castle Today…

With so many photos now uploaded, I’ve moved the Leadgate and East Castle Today information to it’s own page here.

 


 

11 thoughts on “Leadgate and East Castle

  1. Neil Gander

    Head down the hill from the bridge at the Transformers and you can visit the old ventilation shaft for the Eden Colliery at Stony Heap.

    1. David Tyson

      If you walk past the Transformers towards Leadgate on the left, at the first pylon is a brick bridge parapet which I think must be for the tramway from the Brass Thill drift which was between the railway and the Stanley road.

  2. Peter Robinson

    The Leadgate entry is a bit messed up. South Medomsley Junction (and signal box) was after East Castle between the Brooms Church and the Jolly Drovers. See the map at http://www.dmm.org.uk/maps/1951d22.htm This was access to South Medomsley pit (the pit being nowhere near Medomsley) and the sidings at the Eden. The next signal box was Leadgate station. The next big infrastructure was at the other end of the village. Bradley Crossing signal box controlled access to the Bradley shops, the junction to both Derwent and Medomsley Pits and also the engine sheds opposite side of the line. Beyond Leadgate came Carr House.

  3. Joe Mallon

    John
    As you say Leadgate Station was opened in 1896 and before that there was Carr House Station. Between them there was Railway Terrace and “the stationmaster’s house” at the bottom of West Street built well before Leadgate Station.
    I have been seeing a lot of press cuttings about Leadgate Exiles and Leadgate Park football teams travelling far and wide to Tyneside, Wearside & Teeside and teams from those parts travelling to Leadgate from 1887 onwards. What puzzles me is how these teams travelled so far without motor transport. I’ve always assumed this had to be by rail so wonder whether Carr House was a passenger as well as Goods station.

    1. Andrew mitchell

      John. Just been trying to get some history on the area of Leadgate and the history of my house. You refer to the stationmasters house at the bottom of west st. I’m now wondering if this is the house I live in now at 16 valley view? I believe it was built in 1900.

  4. David Shields

    This is beautifully done. Over the twenty year’s I’ve had a house in Leadgate, just off the site of the Railway Station, many people have used our own site and asked questions about the Railway Station! Your work pulls it all together and I’d very much like to make this post on Leadgate Village’s Face Book and Web Page to share this page-link. I can guarantee that those with any interest in the history of Leadgate Village will follow the link and hopefully like what they find.

  5. DON DUFTON

    I have just acquired 2 go[d and enamel medals relating to 1 eden colliery A.M.C.C. WINNERS1927 28 AND SOUTH PONTOP VILLA NORTHERN FOOTBALL COMBINATION RUNNERS UP 1927/28 AND WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF ANYONE CAN GIVE ME ANY INFORMATION IE TEAMS ETC

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