Images of South Pelaw Junction as it was and how it is now (post 2013).
The photo below clearly shows the two sets of railway cottages on the north side of the line either side of the Pelton Lane bridge.
The two photos below were taken from the end of the bridge, the first, looking towards the site of the grey cottages in the left of the photo above and the second looking towards the site of the brick built cottages. As with most things at the site, there is no indication at all that the cottages were ever there…
South Pelaw Junction Signal Box
The signal box was the only large railway building of note at the junction and it survived almost to the end being demolished sometime between October 1982 and April 1983.
From the signal box, the turnouts and signals at the junction were controlled by a large network of point rodding and cranks. The following photo shows the base of a point crank boss (lying in the undergrowth in April 2014) that a crank to change the direction of the point rodding would have been fitted to:
Pelton Lane Road Bridge
At the east end of the junction was a fairly substantial plate girder bridge that takes Pelton Lane over the tracks. At one point, the bridge spanned seven tracks, two for the line to Consett and the remaining five the incoming and outgoing lines of Stella Gill sidings.
Today, the bridge still carries the road to Chester-le-Street and the original buttresses are there but the bridge deck has been completely replaced and now has a much smaller open span with a lot of filling in having been undertaken as shown in the photos below taken from the site of Stella Gill sidings.
West End Footbridge
Prominent in all pictures of the junction looking towards Washington, the bridge at the west end of the junction lasted until a couple of years ago when, over a period of just 2 days it was demolished and there is now nothing to indicate it was ever there in the first place…
It was, apparently becoming unsafe and had, at some point after closure, clearly already been propped up as you can see from the metal framework under the left hand (as you look towards Washington) span…
This is the site of the bridge today (April 2014) taken from the top of the embankment on the left in the two photographs above:
The Junction Itself
South Pelaw Junction in 1966 with all the junction track work in place and in use. The steeply graded connection to South Pelaw colliery is out of use following the closure of the colliery in 1964.
The site as it was on 30th November 2013. The location has undergone a huge transformation not only because of the undergrowth but also due to the amount of earth brought in which has raised the level across most of the site. Note also the houses on the right on the site of the old colliery exchange sidings.
The site of the junction had a number of gas lamps and one or two of the posts still stand.
The photo below, from 1971 shows the same lamp post, circled, next to the signal.
The post still being in situ does prove to be very useful – as you can see from the 1970 photo, the post was directly opposite the signal box which makes it possible to work out where the signal box was. The box was demolished between October 1982 and April 1983 and further works to build the current cycle path, removed all traces of the box itself.
Another remaining lamp post, this time on the Stella Gill side of the bridge:
The same post can be seen towards the right of this photo in front of the bridge:
Cable Support Posts
There are dozens of these cable support posts that ran alongside the tracks still in situ.
The posts shown in the picture on the left taken on 30th November 2013 are part of the run of supports that can be seen in the bottom left of the picture below running alongside what used to be the lines to Stella Gill.
Showing the cable supports from the picture above, Class 37 6772 eases down the bank from Consett past the site of Stella Gill sidings.
Towards Stella Gill
Class 24 D5013 on 4th March 1966 looking from South Pelaw Junction towards Stella Gill Sidings.
The same location in 1984 after the railway had been abandoned. If you click on the picture to open it to full size you’ll see that the land up to the bridge in the background has been filled in and that that bridge is now actually at ground level. The bridge remains to this day as it supports a gas main.
And the same location again on 30th November 2013. Parts of the land have been raised substantially here and nature has completely taken over leaving almost no trace of the railway…
‘Past & Present’ shots of Stella Gill itself can be found here.
An enlargement of the centre right of the photo of D5013 showing buffer stops which, even in 1966 were out of use with the track they served already having been removed. Note that in the 1984 photo above, they had already disappeared in to the undergrowth.
The same buffer stops as they were on 30th November 2013, largely hidden within the undergrowth. As recently as 2006, one of the horizontal buffer beams was still fitted, but appears to have been physically removed since as there is no trace of it on the ground…