The station at Annfield Plain was on the 1886 deviation which replaced the Loud Bank inclines and it replaced the S&TR goods station. It was opened on 1 February 1894 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).
Like all of stations on the line, the station buildings were wooden structures, and the main station building was a mirror image of the building at Leadgate. The NER favoured the use of wood both for economical reasons and, in the case of the line between Birtley and Blackhill, to minimise the risk of subsidence due to mine workings which were present all round the local area. The buildings were painted in the standard NER colours of green for the lower timbers and cream for the uppers.
It was the only location on the line other than Consett with an engine shed (there were sheds at Stella Gill and Pelton Level but these weren’t strictly on the line to Consett) which had it’s own allocation of J25, Q5, Q6 and N9 locomotives. The shed was built in 1886, extended in 1893 and closed in 1940 but was still standing, albeit derelict, in 1949. The engine shed wasn’t at the station but, instead was on the spur to the eastern incline from Annfield East junction.
The station itself was demolished in May and June 1965.
A busy station which, in 1898 issued 60,042 tickets, in 1898, 82,520 in 1903 and, in 1913, issued over 114,000 tickets compared with only 79,000 at Consett. Like most of the rest of the stations on the line, it lost it’s passenger service on 23 May 1955 due, for the most part, to competition from local bus services which had been taking passengers away from the railway since the early 1920s. As an example of the impact of the bus service, 119,944 passengers used the station in 1920 but this had dropped to just 76,495 just one year later in 1921.
The station was a little larger than most on the line with a large goods yard consisting of five sidings and a goods shed. The yard handled 1,286 head of livestock in 1897 and 2,838 in 1907. In 1899, the yard handled 12,838 tons of forwarded goods and 42,699 tons of received goods, excluding livestock, coal, code, limestone and lime. As of 1913, the main item of traffic at Annfield Plain was 3,620 tons of loam and sand. The goods service was finally withdrawn on 10 August 1964.
The site of Annfield Plain station can be found on Google Maps here: 54°51’23.7″N 1°44’10.4″W – Google Maps
Annfield Plain in the 1950s and 1960s…
LNER class Q6 0-8-0 no. 63381 takes water in the rain at the site of Annfield Plain Station on 22nd April 1966. Photo copyright Bill Wright
Annfield Plain in the 1970s…
Annfield Plain in the 1980s…
The photo below shows the final revenue earning train on the line. The photographer, Craig Oliphant, writes:
The original Stanhope & Tyne Railway route is seen in the foreground, this trailed off to Oxhill and Morrison Busty Colliery. Behind the train a second junction once connected with the Tanfield Branch, but at this time it was just truncated and used as a run round for coal trains that only ventured this far. I had traveled with the loco from Consett High Yard, ‘we’ picked up other enthusiasts en-route boarding near Greencroft. The crew kindly allowed us several photo stops were made on our way down to South Pelaw. I had made “The End” headboard which was carried by the last lifting train on the Washington – South Pelaw lifting train, and on the rear of the last passenger train from Consett.
and the crew of the above train ready to leave Consett for the final time, photo caption by Craig Oliphant:
Track Lifting at Annfield Plain…
The Site Today…
Another location with little to no sign of the railway, the site of the station building, the goods shed and the goods yard has completely disappeared under a Tesco supermarket although the trackbed of the line through the station still exists alongside the supermarket as part of the Coast to Coast Cycleway.