When the original deviation was built, a station was provided at Beamish as well as Annfield Plain, Shield Row (later West Stanley) and Pelton with the passenger service, run by the North Eastern Railway (NER), beginning on 1 February 1894 running to Newcastle via Ouston Junction and Birtley. 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). At the time, Beamish was not the quiet village it is today and it was surrounded by collieries and other associated industries and, as well as the Consett line, a colliery railway ran directly alongside the main road (A693) through the village.
All the buildings at the station, including the goods shed and the signal box followed the standard North Eastern Railway practice for the line and were constructed of timber.
The station itself, with the exception of the signal box, was demolished in the 1960s but other parts, such as the two stone walls that can be seen in the picture of the 9F to the right remained albeit for some reason they were later demolished as well as they are not there now although there is a large pile of stones where the left hand wall once stood which may be the remains of the wall.
The signal box at Beamish survived until 1982 and an effort was made to save it at Beamish Museum although this came to nothing and the box was demolished shortly thereafter. The signal box from Carr House in Consett was subsequently dismantled and installed at Beamish along with the station building from Rowley.
A short video of trains passing through Beamish can be seen here.
By 1917 the service consisted of ten trains each way with three on a Sunday. From the 1930s buses provided stiff competition and by the time of the British Railways era, there were only four trains to Consett and two trains from Consett each day with an extra train each way on a Saturday and none on a Sunday.
Like all stations on the line, Beamish the passenger numbers at Beamish increased dramatically in the early years from 32,149 in 1898 to 49,536 in 1903 and 66.524 in 1913. Passenger numbers stayed buoyant until the introduction of local bus services from the early 1920s which had a massive impact of passenger numbers which rapidly dwindled thereafter. The station itself was closed to passengers on 21 September 1953 and the passenger trains were finally withdrawn completely from the rest of the line on 23 May 1955.
The goods facilities at Beamish consisted of four sidings, a goods shed and a loading dock.
The goods service from Beamish ended on 2 August 1960.
A deadly accident…
The cutting just beyond Beamish station was the site of a spectacular accident on 9 December 1964 unfortunately resulting in one fatality. Twenty three loaded coal wagons broke loose from a train that was being shunted at Annfield Plain Junction and ran all the way down the line to Beamish reaching speeds of up to eighty miles per hour before they hit the back of another goods train. The collision resulted in a huge pile of debris which took sixty men a number of days to clear. For the period of the recovery, all trains had to be diverted through Lanchester. The scars left behind by the accident can be seen, to this day, on the cutting sides and bridge abutments.
Beamish in the 1950s and 1960s…
Beamish in the 1970s…
Beamish in the 1980s…
Photos from a Beamish Local…
The following set of photographs were all taken by David Milburn who used to live in one of the cottages overlooking the station. All the captions are from David as well.