They think it’s all over, unfortunately it is now…
The late 1970s in the North East of England saw a terminal decline in the steel industry with Consett affected by both local competition on Teesside and abroad, not helped by the vast costs involved in getting the iron ore to the works in the first place.
September 1980 saw the closure of the Steelworks and with it went the whole reason for the existence of the line to Consett which, inevitably, despite local protests in particular from the Derwentside Rail Action Group, led to it’s closure leaving Consett, at the time, as the largest town in England without a rail connection.
For a superb video montage of photographs of a number of trains on the line between 1980 and closure, click here.
Due to the number of photographs I’m getting, I’ve created a separate page covering the track lifting trains which can be seen here.
One last hurrah…
On 17 March 1984, the last passenger train ran from Newcastle Central Station to Consett and back.
The train was pulled by Class 46 locomotive 46026 which carried a headboard and a wreath as well as the number plate of 92066, a 9F steam locomotive that had previously worked the iron ore trains from Tyne Dock to Consett.
For more photographs and information on the last passenger train click here.
The end is nigh…
The following photos were all taken in early March 1984 just 2 weeks before the final passenger train ran. By this time, the majority of the junction track work had already been lifted.
From Stephen McGahon, two photos of the junction from 1983 and 1984.
Carting it away…
Once the Consett steelworks closed, the line that had, for years, helped supply the vital iron ore for the steel making, was used to take the scrap away as the steelworks were demolished.
Decline sets in…
Over the years, the track layout at the junction was rationalised, first with the closure and ripping up of the Stella Gill sidings and later with parts of the actual junction itself.
An undated photo albeit, from the track layout, it appears to be sometime between 1980 and 1982 with the down connection to the Washington line having been severed and link between the Ouston Junction line and what was Stella Gill severed as well.
The Washington line was next to go following the closure of the Steelworks and, by 1984, most of the junction track work had gone.
The photograph to the right is one of very few (certainly compared to the total number of photos taken at the site) I’ve seen that were taken from the bridge at the Washington end of the junction. Despite it being a footbridge it does not appear to have been anywhere near as popular with photographers as the bridge at the other end of the junction.
The two lines in the centre are sidings and the two at the extreme left are the lines to Washington. The sidings which, judging by the rust and the encroaching undergrowth, have been out of use for some time have already lost their connection to the Washington lines. Like the railway itself, the collection of buildings to the right have completely disappeared as has the bridge that the photograph was taken from.