There were a number of stations at Consett over the years (the first one had been opened by the North Eastern Railway (NER) in 1862 as the terminus of its Lanchester Valley Railway from Durham which only lasted until 1867 and a second, described below, at Benfieldside on the northern edge of the town) but the ‘main’ one, on the east side of Delves Lane, was opened on 17 August 1896 by 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).
The station consisted of a large island platform on which stood the single, timber built (most of the building on the line were built of timber as, not only was it economical but it resulted in lighter structures to minimise the risk of subsidence over mine workings), station building with a large flat roofed awning with a deep valance painted in the green and cream colour scheme that was standard for the stations on the line. The platform was accessed from a ramp leading from an over bridge from Delves Lane.
Unlike the other stations on the line however, it was not demolished after closure and the station buildings survived relatively intact and vandalism free until at least November 1976 as evidenced by the photographs below.
By June 1980, all traces of the station itself had been removed with the demolition of the station building and island platform but, remarkably, despite the last steam hauled train having run seventeen years previously, a North Eastern Railway water crane survived at the site until the end and it can be seen in the photograph of 37094 further down the page.
Despite fierce local opposition, the steelworks at Consett closed in September 1980, almost 3,000 jobs were lost and the railway lost the reason for it’s existence. As the line had been maintained to a high standard for the trains for the steelworks, local people believed that the restoration of a rail service to Consett would have a role in helping boost the local economy and the Derwentside Rail Action Group was established. A feasibility study was undertaken but, ultimately, the calls fell on deaf ears.
Organised by the Derwentside Rail Action Group, the final train to Consett ran on 17 March 1984 after which, the only trains to visit the town were those involved in lifting of the track which commenced soon after the last train ran. On 25 September 1984, the tracks joining the site of Consett station to the line to Ouston Junction were cut and Consett became, certainly at the time, the largest town in England without a connection to the railway network.
Consett Magazine ran an article in 2016 stating that the line to Newcastle via what is now the Derwent Walk was to be reinstated. The article was published on 1 April…
As a result of it not being the only station in Consett, it wasn’t as busy as may have been expected. For example, in 1913, just over 79,000 tickets were issued at Consett compared with over 114,000 at Annfield Plain and over 170,000 at Shield Row.
This was mainly due to the existence of Blackhill station (opened as Benfieldside, on 2 December 1867. It was renamed Consett on 1 November 1882, despite being located much closer to Blackhill, a large village which also housed Consett Iron Company workers. On 1 May 1885 it was again renamed, this time as Consett & Blackhill, before finally becoming Blackhill on 1 May 1896) which was much closer to the Steelworks and was a four way junction with trains to Newcastle (via both the Derwent Valley and South Pelaw) , Durham, Crook and Bishop Auckland. As a result, it had a much shorter journey time to Newcastle. In 1913, 145,849 tickets were issued at Blackhill station, almost twice the number issued at Consett.
By 1920 there were eight trains from Newcastle to Consett on Monday to Friday, ten on a Saturday and two on a Sunday. In the other direction, there were eight trains to Newcastle on week days, nine on Saturdays and two on Sundays.
Whilst the population of the town grew in the 20th Century, passenger numbers dropped after the First World War, in no small part due to competition from the new bus services. Venture buses, for example, who are still operating today, operated between Consett and Newcastle every twenty minutes in 1931 and in 1930, ticket bookings at Consett were down to less than 15,000, less that a fifth of those in 1913.
The station closed to passengers on 23 May 1955.
To the North West of the station good facilities included a large number of sidings with a large, timber built, goods shed, coal drops for the local coal merchants and a turntable right next to the Delves Lane bridge.
The station closed completely to goods traffic on 2 October 1967 although the coal drops remained in use until at least 1977 and the coal depot almost right until the closure of the line in 1984.
Consett Station in the 1960s…
On 29 September 1963, the Stephenson Locomotive Society / R.C.T.S. North Eastern Rail Tour visted Consett, the following three photos were taken on that day.
Consett Station in the 1970s…
Snowy weather… Due to it’s height above sea level, the weather in Consett was, and still is, unpredictable. Here we have 37194 in snow at the end of March. At the time this photograph was taken, Tyne Yard, less than 15 miles away was basking in spring sunshine.
Consett Station in the 1980s…
Carr House East
Carr House East Signal box sat between Leadgate and Consett. Sometime between August 1975 and February 1977, the box was dismantled and rebuilt at Beamish Open Air Museum where it can be seen today as part of Rowley station. A signalling diagram showing which part of the line it controlled circa 1950 can be seen here: https://signalbox.org/diagrams.php?id=815
Carr House West
Beyond Consett station was Carr House West (later just Carr House) signal box. A signalling diagram showing which part of the line it controlled circa 1970 can be found here: https://signalbox.org/diagrams.php?id=814
Track Lifting at Consett
Consett Station Today…
Today, like the steelworks, no trace of the station remains with the site having been completely built over during the construction of the new A692 road in to Consett as evidenced in the Google Earth image to the right from 2009.
The Delves Lane roundabout visible in the centre of the picture marks the spot where the ramp from the original over bridge ran down to provide access to the island platform of the station.
By way of a comparison and a perfect example of how the railway has been obliterated from the Consett landscape, the two images below were taken from the same location 34 years apart.