Annfield Plain

Site of Leadgate Station 1945

Site of Anfield Plain Station in 1945 from Google Earth.

The station at Annfield Plain was on the 1886 deviation which replaced the Loud Bank inclines and it replaced the S&TR goods station.  It was opened on 1 February 1894 the North Eastern Railway.  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).

Like all of stations on the line, the station buildings were wooden structures, and the main station building was a mirror image of the building at Leadgate.  The NER favoured the use of wood both for economical reasons and, in the case of the line between Birtley and Blackhill, to minimise the risk of subsidence due to mine workings which were present all round the local area.  The buildings were painted in the standard NER colours of green for the lower timbers and cream for the uppers.

It was the only location on the line other than Consett with an engine shed (there were sheds at Stella Gill and Pelton Level but these weren’t strictly on the line to Consett) which had it’s own allocation of J25, Q5, Q6 and N9 locomotives. The shed was built in 1886, extended in 1893 and closed in 1940 but was still standing, albeit derelict, in 1949.  The engine shed wasn’t at the station but, instead was on the spur to the eastern incline from Annfield East junction.

The station itself was demolished in May and June 1965.

Passenger Services


Annfield Plain station in 1912. Photo Author’s Collection

A busy station which, in 1898 issued 60,042 tickets, in 1898,  82,520 in 1903 and, in 1913, issued over 114,000 tickets compared with only 79,000 at Consett.  Like most of the rest of the stations on the line, it lost it’s passenger service on 23 May 1955 due, for the most part, to competition from local bus services which had been taking passengers away from the railway since the early 1920s.  As an example of the impact of the bus service, 119,944 passengers used the station in 1920 but this had dropped to just 76,495 just one year later in 1921.

Goods Services

The station was a little larger than most on the line with a large goods yard consisting of five sidings and a goods shed.  The yard handled 1,286 head of livestock in 1897 and 2,838 in 1907.  In 1899, the yard handled 12,838 tons of forwarded goods and 42,699 tons of received goods, excluding livestock, coal, code, limestone and lime.  As of 1913, the main item of traffic at Annfield Plain was 3,620 tons of loam and sand.  The goods service was finally withdrawn on 10 August 1964.

Annfield Plain Station in 1946, stitched together from two maps as the station falls right on the edge of the Ordnance Survey 25″ maps. Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Annfield Plain Engine Shed is to the top centre of the map with the station at bottom right. Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Annfield Plain in the 1950s and 1960s…


Annfield Plain station taken from a train heading in the direction of Consett. Photo copyright Ernie Brack

Annfield Plain Station

LNER class Q6 0-8-0 no. 63381 takes water in the rain at the site of Annfield Plain Station on 22nd April 1966. Photo copyright Bill Wright

Q7 at Annfield with Iron Ore Train

A Q7 approaches Annfield Plain with a loaded iron ore train. Photo Author’s Collection


9F 92097 passes the site of Annfield Plain station on 10 April 1965 with the R.C.T.S. (West Riding and North East Branches) “The North Eastern No.2 Rail Tour” Photo copyright Kenneth Gray


9F 92064 passes Annfield East signal box with a loaded iron ore train. Note the Type 4 (later Class 40) at the rear of the train acting as a banker. Photo copyright Kenneth Gray

92063 with the Tyne Docker at Annfield Plain

9F 92063 approaches Annfield Plain with the ‘Tyne Docker’, the last steam hauled iron ore train on 17 November 1965. Note the Type 4 diesel banking engine and the extra brake van added for a group of rail enthusiasts. Photo Author’s Collection

D6789 at Annfield Plain heading towards Stanley on 27 April 1965. Note the iron ore train heading towards Consett. Photo copyright Rail Online.

D6789, with brake tender leading, heads a steel train at Annfield Plain heading towards Stanley on 27 April 1965. Note the iron ore train heading towards Consett in the background. Photo copyright Rail Online.

Annfield Plain in the 1970s…

37089 at Annfield East on 29 June 1976. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

37004 at Annfield Plain with the 6K40 oil tanker train on 12 February 1979. Photo Copyright John Atkinson

37004 at Annfield Plain with the 6K40 oil tanker train on 12 February 1979. Photo Copyright John Atkinson

Annfield Plain in the 1980s…

Appr Annf Plain 11-4-80 37062

37062 approaches Annfield Plain with a train of bogie bolsters carrying a load of steel plate on 11 April 1980 just five months prior to the closure of the steel works. Photo Copyright Stephen McGahon

The photo below shows the final revenue earning train on the line. The photographer, Craig Oliphant, writes:

The original Stanhope & Tyne Railway route is seen in the foreground, this trailed off to Oxhill and Morrison Busty Colliery. Behind the train a second junction once connected with the Tanfield Branch, but at this time it was just truncated and used as a run round for coal trains that only ventured this far. I had traveled with the loco from Consett High Yard, ‘we’ picked up other enthusiasts en-route boarding near Greencroft. The crew kindly allowed us several photo stops were made on our way down to South Pelaw. I had made “The End” headboard which was carried by the last lifting train on the Washington – South Pelaw lifting train, and on the rear of the last passenger train from Consett.

37023 at Annfield Plain on 30 September 1983

37023 heads the last freight from Consett (coal empties) at Annfield Plain S&T Junction on 30 September 1983. Photo copyright Craig Oliphant

and the crew of the above train ready to leave Consett for the final time, photo caption by Craig Oliphant:

The Crew of 37023 at Consett High Yard as they prepare to haul the last freight train (coal empties) to Tyne Yard. Driver John Lodge, but the guard's name escapes me. 30-09-83.

The Crew of 37023 at Consett High Yard on 30 September 1983 as they prepare to haul the last freight train (coal empties) to Tyne Yard. Driver John Lodge, and the guard is John Johnson.  Photo copyright Craig Oliphant

The Site Today…

Another location with little to no sign of the railway, the site of the station building, the goods shed and the goods yard has completely disappeared under a Tesco supermarket although the trackbed of the line through the station still exists alongside the supermarket as part of the Coast to Coast Cycleway.

Site of Leadgate Station

Site of Annfield Plain Station in 2009 from Google Earth. The station was located where the large white building (a supermarket) is. Also visible right at the top of the image is Annfield Plain junction with the line to Beamish heading towards the top right. The line from the junction to the top left led to Pontop Coke ovens and South Derwent Colliery.


Site of Annfield Plain station on 11 April 2014. The wall and houses on the right can be seen in the photographs above. To the left where the station buildings were is the Tesco supermarket. Photo Author’s Collection


Site of Annfield Plain station on 11 April 2014. Photo Author’s Collection

6 thoughts on “Annfield Plain

  1. Michael Denholm

    I went to the ‘Upper Standards’ (the less said about that place, the better!) in 1959 and lunchtimes for me and several other stalwart escapees was Annfield Plain Station. Footplate rides for the short journey to Annfield East on ‘O1’s, ‘ Q6’s, ‘Q7’s & ‘9F’s were better than the school yard. ‘Proper’ rides were pre-arranged on Fridays and then a Saturday morning ‘bike ride from my Sunniside home to Annfield Plain Station was rewarded with a cab ride on a ‘banker’ after taking water there, to South Pelaw, back ‘up the bank’to South Medomsley & return to Annfield Plain. Happy? Yes!!

  2. paul douglas

    Hello there, i worked at tyne yard in the 80s, the traincrew in the photo, i knew the guard by his nickname, JR and 180, he liked darts but we used to call the driver jacky lodge, cheers,.

  3. Keith Brown

    The guards name is John Johnson and yes he certainly liked his darts…..and the bevvies to go with it! I also worked at Tyne Yard at that time and went to a pub in Birtley with him occassionaly. Can’t remember the name of the pub though but it served Sam Smiths OBB.
    Keith Brown

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