Consett Station

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).

Site of Consett Station 1945

Site of Consett Station in 1945 from Google Earth. Clearly visible is the large island platform and the array of sidings next to the station.

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…

Passenger Services

Consett station 2-11-76 37 166

37166 is parked next to the long closed, but mostly intact, station on 2 November 1976. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

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.

Goods Services

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 1948. Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

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.

Q7 Class locomotive 63460 (reinstated in to service and cleaned) at Consett station on 28 September 1963. Photo copyright Rail-Online

K1 Class 62027 at Consett on 29 September 1963 with an RCTS Railtour. Photo copyright Rail-Online

Q6 Class 63357 at Consett on 28 September 1963. Photo copyright Rail-Online

Q7 63460 at Consett on 29 September 1963 with an RCTS Railtour. Photo copyright Rail-Online

Consett Station sign on 29 September 1963. Note the neatly stacked luggage trolleys 8 years after the station closed… Photo copyright Rail-Online

Consett Station in the 1970s…

A DMU Railtour, part of the Stockton to Darlington 150 celebrations at Consett Station on 13 September 1975. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

A DMU Railtour, part of the Stockton to Darlington 150 celebrations at Consett Station on 30 August 1975. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

Consett 1976

Consett station in 1976 taken from the Delves Lane overbridge. Photo copyright Alan Lewis

37100 leaving Consett with a steel train on 28th February 1977. Taken near the site of Carr House East box which had gone by then as shown by the missing signal arms from the bracket signal in the background. I think the box would have been in the shot as well. Looks like a new starting signal in the centre and the coal drops in use adds a bit of interest. Caption and photo from Stephen McGahon

37100 leaving Consett with a steel train on 28th February 1977. Taken near the site of Carr House East box which had gone by then as shown by the missing signal arms from the bracket signal in the background. I think the box would have been in the shot as well. Looks like a new starting signal in the centre and the coal drops in use adds a bit of interest. Caption and photo from Stephen McGahon

Consett 1977

Consett station in 1977. Photo copyright Alan Lewis

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.

37194 at Consett High Yard with the 9J93 on 27 March 1979. Photo copyright John Atkinson

37194 at Consett High Yard with the 9J93 on 27 March 1979. Photo copyright John Atkinson

Another shot of 37194 in the snow. Photo copyright John Atkinson

Another shot of 37194 in the snow. Photo copyright John Atkinson

Consett Station in the 1980s…

Site of Consett Station 1980 - Colin Alexander1

The site of Consett station in 1980 following the complete demolition of the station and the island platform. Note the, still open, coal depot in the background. Photo copyright Colin Alexander

The site of Consett station in June 1980 just weeks before Consett Steelworks closed. 37166 heads a Consett to Tyne yard freight. Photo copyright Michael Rhodes

The site of Consett station in June 1980 just weeks before Consett Steelworks closed. 37166 heads a Consett to Tyne Yard freight. Photo copyright Michael Rhodes

Consett coal depot 17-6-83 37 079

37079 at Consett Coal Depot on 17 June 1983. The station, although long gone by now, was off to the left of the photo. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

37 094 Consett 10-5-82 shunts coal into depot

37094 shunts a coal train at the site of Consett station on 10 May 1982. Note the NER water crane to the left of the locomotive, fifteen years after the last steam locomotive visited Consett.  Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

Last train at Consett 4

46026 runs round the last passenger train at the site of Consett station in March 1984. The small coal yard in the background was the last industry served by the line. Photo copyright Neil Young

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 East box 13-8-75 from Rail 150 Tour dmu

Carr House East Signal Box looking towards Consett Station taken from one of the Rail 150 Tours in August 1975. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

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

Carr House West Signal Box on 28 September 1963. Photo copyright Rail-Online

Looking South West

Taken from the over bridge that took Delves Lane over the railway, with the site of the station behind the photographer. The large building with the sloping roof to the right is the iron ore unloading terminal (which replaced the unloading gantry in 1974) with Fell Box just visible to the left of it. The lines to the terminal diverged just beyond the centre of the photo where there is a ‘hump’ in the track. Just visible on the left is Carr House (originally Carr House West) signal box. Photo copyright Jon Hale

Carr House (West) 11-5-82 37094 with scrap

37094 approaches the signal box on 11 May 1982 with a load of scrap from the steelworks which was, by then, being demolished. The building in the background above the locomotive was the iron ore unloading facility in use from 1974 to closure in 1980.  Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

37094 again passes Carr House signal box on 10 May 1982 with a coal train made up of 21 and 16 tonne wagons. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

37094 again passes Carr House signal box on 10 May 1982 with a coal train made up of 21 and 16 tonne wagons. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

On 27 May 1982, 31276 passes Carr House signal box with a train of 16T wagons to be loaded with scrap from the demolition of the steelworks while 37163 is in the background loading rails. The building to the right of 37163 is the iron ore loading facility that came in to use in 1974. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

Track Lifting at Consett

37270 heads the final train to leave Consett on 25 September 1984 with the track literally being lifted being the train. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

37270 heads the final train to leave Consett on 25 September 1984 with the track literally being lifted being the train. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

Track lifting at Consett on 25 September 1984. Note the bridge at Leadgate in the background. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

Track lifting at Consett on 25 September 1984. Note the bridge at Leadgate in the background. Photo copyright Stephen McGahon

Consett is finally disconnected from the rest of the rail network on 25 September 1984. Photo copyright Stephan McGahon

Consett is finally disconnected from the rest of the rail network on 25 September 1984. Photo copyright Stephan McGahon

Consett Station Today…

Site of Consett Station

Site of Consett Station in 2009 from Google Earth.

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.

46026 at Consett with the last passenger train on 17 March 1984. Copyright Stephen McGahon

A Google Street View image of the site of Consett Station today from the same location as the photo of 46026 above.

3 thoughts on “Consett Station

  1. Robert Turner

    All of the pictures on this website, particularly the 37s, are fantastic. I thank and appreciate everyone who has been kind enough to contribute.

  2. Carolyn Hoss nee Cook

    I was born at 2 Dacre Gardens in 1944. Used to look out of bedroom window at trains. We also used to play on the embankment in those days. My name is Carolyn Cook daughter of Septimus Cook haulier. I am 74 now and can still remember the trains shunting and the steam and the noise. Very busy in them days.

  3. Alan Lewis

    I am fairly sure that Carr House East signalbox was closed a few years before closure of the line. That’s why Carr House West box was renamed simply “Carr House” by shortening the nameboard.

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