The final passenger train to Consett ran on 17th March 1984. Chartered by the Derwentside Rail Action Group and originally scheduled to be a 4 car diesel multiple unit, such was the demand for tickets, the train was then changed to 6 coaches and eventually consisted of Class 46, 46026 named ‘Leicestershire & Derbyshire Yeomanry’, (which was turned out in excellent condition by Gateshead depot) hauling 7 Mk1 coaches from Newcastle to the site of Consett station. Three hundred passengers each paid £10.50 to be part of the historic journey.
The nose of the locomotive was adorned with a headboard, a wreath and the number plate 92066 from a 9F locomotive that had pulled the iron ore trains to Consett in the 1960s.
Tyne Yard driver, the late Bob Dodds and the then Gateshead relief driver Jim Keogan took charge of the train for the journey which left Newcastle Central Station from Platform 10 at 11:19am (it was scheduled to leave at 11:15am) with a scheduled arrival at Consett at 12:18pm. As the train leaves Newcastle the band, ‘The Tyne Valley Stompers’, begin playing in the last coach of the train.
By the time the train ran in March 1984, parts of the line to Consett were already out of commission resulting in the train running ‘wrong line’ from Ouston Junction to South Pelaw junction where it switched over to the correct ‘down’ line. The train also ran wrong line at least as far as Stanley on the return journey from Consett.
The train arrived at Consett at 12:03pm where, due to the lack of a platform, wooden steps are provided for the passengers to disembark. The passengers depart on a bus tour of other sites on the Stanhope and Tyne Railway and return for a meal at the Duke of Wellington on Medomsley Road.
At 2:36pm, the crowd at the site of the station formed a funeral procession led by a coffin, seen in one of the photos further down the page, with the Tyne Valley Stompers playing ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’ which heads back to the train where Don Kent, the secretary of the Derwentside Rail Action Group gives a speech. Everyone boarded the train and, at 2:55pm, the guard blows his whistle and the train departed Consett for the return journey to Newcastle which is reached at 3:58pm.
BBC Look North reported on the last train to Consett, you can watch the report here. The Evening Chronicle also ran an article shown above right.