Saturday, 5 January 2019

South Shields Stations

In the 1830s two mineral railway companies connected the Tanfield area to industry in, & export from, South Shields.   They also built the first passenger railway stations in the borough, which are included below with all railway stations in South Shields of which I'm aware.   Read "The Railways of South Shieldsby Neil Sinclair & Ian Carr for more info.
The first railway into Shields was the Stanhope & Tyne Railroad in the 1830s.   They were more interested in shipping coal, lime & minerals via the drops shown mid left on this 1855 OS map.  The S&TR had a passenger station off Salem Street (shown at the NE end of Thames Street), but I think this predates most photography.   Incidentally, the Waggon Building Shed is the site of the imminent Nexus training centre.
(OS Map segment courtesy of the National Library of Scotland)
The first Brandling Junction Railway station in Shields was at Windmill Hill in the 1830s, near the site of the later High Shields station.   It was soon replaced by the second BJR Low Shields station, nearer the market place & North Shields ferry.
(Drawing from South Tyneside Libraries)
The BJR Low Station is shown near the centre of this 1855 OS map.   The BJR was also more interested in mineral traffic - note their drops at bottom left.   Hilda Colliery drops were further up river.   The S&TR runs north - south on the right.   Ballast was a problem until wooden brigs were replaced by iron steam colliers with water ballast from about 1860, although the ballast also provided raw materials for bottle, glass & brick works.
(OS Map segment courtesy of the National Library of Scotland)
Low Station in the 1950s - it was in passenger use from the 1840s until the late 1870s.   Note the original low level platform.   The higher section is within the much larger South Shields Goods Station, which was immediately to the south.
(photo JW Armstrong Trust)
Low Station was in use as a garage until demolition in the 1980s.    Note the similarity in style to the first BJR station in Shields
(photo: South Tyneside Libraries)
The Brandling Junction Railway took control of the Tanfield Branch from 1839.    It could then move minerals from Tanfield Moor not only to the Tyne at Redheugh, but also to the more navigable reaches at South Shields.   The Stanhope & Tyne therefore lost the Tanfield Moor & other traffic to the BJR, leading to the collapse of S&TR business in the 1840s.


Due to a shift in the centres of business, population & visitors, in 1879 the NER opened a new station facing Mile End Road on the east of the site of the original S&TR station.   This required a massive civil engineering project to connect the BJR with a viaduct over the top of St Hilda  colliery to the S&TR at Garden Lane.   The station reminds me of Tynemouth, also having to handle day visitors as South Shields became a coastal holiday resort.
Steam locos at the NW end of the station, which handled local traffic to Sunderland & Newcastle.   There were also scheduled & seasonal inter city passenger services to the likes of London & Blackpool, plus football, pigeon & other special trains.
Early NER EMU at High Shields, the first station from SS when heading for Newcastle.   This station was quite large, serving dense housing & being close to riverside works - probably why it was retained & the link installed to the S&TR.   The peak of the overall canopy can be seen, and the signalbox at left controlled the large goods station yard between here & the BJR Low station.
Looking north east, 1950s BR EMU bound for SS at High Shields, which was adjacent to Trinity Church.
(photo JW Armstrong Trust)
The BJR / NER route crossed the Harton Coal Company's line to their High Staiths several times; the HCC electrified line is passing under the Newcastle line & thereby avoiding the cemetery at Trinity Church,   Nearby, the third rail NER & overhead HCC routes also crossed the local overhead electric tram or trolleybus routes - South Shields led the way.   Note the distant cranes at Redheads shipbuilding & repair yard.
This shows the single storey buildings on both platforms of the BJR at what was called Jarrow Dock station, later Tyne Dock following parliamentary boundary changes.    The building work in the foreground may be the start of the replacement NER station at Tyne Dock.   Note the angled gable of the attached building at the far right .....
(photo: South Tyneside Libraries)
.....which is shown above the DMU in this view of Tyne Dock with its island platform built by the NER, but still following the BJR route to High Shields.   The Sunderland line diverged to the left (beyond the signalbox behind the DMU) crossing the S&TR on its separate approach to Shields; the Newcastle line dives into a tunnel ahead.
Returning to South Shields, the current Metro station is on the bridge over King Street
This is a single track & platform, staircase & lift down to King Street at the right, but there is another passenger exit straight on .....
..... which appears at the immediate extreme right of this photo.   The tracks fan out onto the sites of the S&TR station (left) & NER station (right).   Ahead are construction works on the Nexus rail training & maintenance installation.
Going back to the other end of Shields station, looking towards Newcastle, the metro is passing the platform of the forthcoming South Shields transport interchange; town hall clock and gasometer for spatial reference
The digger at top left is on the trackbed during October 2018 to move the point where the up & down lines merge; construction work on the inbuilt ski jump was progressing.
(For more on Metro developments, see British Trams Online News)
The next metro station towards Newcastle is at Chichester, where bus routes also converge.  More interestingly the tunnel on the right was the HCC / NCB / BC surface route connecting several collieries, exchange sidings & river staiths.   Also note that the metro system connects South Shields & the next station Tyne Dock via the S&TR route - the BJR route with all its embankments & bridges have been removed.
Chichester is not on the original S&TR route, but on a deviation to the south of what became the electric tram sheds (still in use by Stagecoach, with some track in place).   This deviation avoided level crossings at Dean Road & Laygate Lane - alignment of which is evident in existing structures.

This is Tyne Dock metro station looking east towards Shields, along the S&TR route; the B&JR was to the left
Heading west & tunneling under the lines to Tyne Dock, Simonside is a new station with magnificent ramps
The staggered platforms of Bede station are next, before heading out of South Shields into Jarrow
This diagram should summarize the previous stations & leads to those of the public passenger carrying SSM&WCR
Westoe Lane station with an 18" RSH about to head for Whitburn.
I have to declare an interest here, being born (just) within earshot of the 'rattler'.
Westoe Lane was the first station to be nationalized, under the NCB on 1/1/1947.
(photo: Geograph)
Marsden Cottage Halt was reputedly the smallest station in Britain .....
(See the Disused Stations web for more info on Marsden Cottage)
..... although it must have had an upsurge in holiday traffic or mineworkers living in the nearby new estates to warrant a platform extension & tin sheds to shelter from the North Sea winds
(photo: Geograph)
A 'Marsden rattler' passes the site of the first station at Marsden which was north of the village
(See Disused Stations web for more info - photo: Ken Nunn collection)
Ex NER class C on another rattler waits to leave the second Marsden station, which was adjacent to Whitburn (or Marsden) Colliery.    This was a few hundred yards south of Marsden village, and nearly a mile north of Whitburn Village.
(See Disused Stations web for more info on Whitburn)

For more information on the Marsden Rattler see the Marsden Banner Group web 

We now head for some of the other railways & stations of South Shields .....
Brockley Whins metro station serves the southern part of South Shields on the Newcastle to Sunderland route
The previous station on this site was built by the BJR and had staggered platforms to accommodate a line coming in from Tyne Dock on the right.   The station was originally named Brockley Whins, but for a hundred years between was called Boldon Colliery, when this had a larger population, although it was nearly a mile away by road.
(photo: Geograph)
A maintenance train on the south pier of the Tyne Improvement Commission.   These & other TIC works led to a massive expansion of the coal & other industries along the Tyne.   TR saved waggons from this system, perhaps including the side tipper between hut & Ruston.   The pier railway did not carry the public or have stations, but there was a scheme .......
A new line was being constructed down & around a ballast hill in early 1939, with the intention of connecting the TIC to the LNER station via Wapping Street & Salmons Quay.   This could have led to the Metro heading right down to the sandy beaches.    Note the footings for a platform on the inside of the curve.
(photo: James Cleet)
The 400m platform still exists today, although the rails in the concrete of Wapping Street have gone.   Through the tunnel of overgrowth ahead the route climbs steeply under the River Drive concrete overbridge towards the metro development site.
Since the 1970s the Lakeshore Railroad has had a station on a circuit in South Marine Park.   It has a long operating season & seems quite busy at times.

There were other stations in the amusement park,
which is on the sands at the end of Ocean Road.

So, how many stations in South Shields?   I count about 20 on different standard gauge sites, excluding those (eg Jarrow, Boldon & East Boldon) just beyond the isthmus bounded by the Tyne & the North Sea.
The coal drops from Boldon Station rebuilt at Beamish.
Boldon Station was built by the Pontop & South Shields
 Railway, a successor to the bankrupt S&TR.
(photo: Geograph)

South Tyneside History web has further excellent views of South Shields railway stations.

South Tyneside History web also shows the scale of the task of handling ballast hills.   Ballast waggonways were the first railways within South Shields.   You can still walk along one - from under the Metro bridge at Crossgate, alongside Erskine Road (where E9 worked) to the Bents Park.

A Google image search for railways of South Shields yields many interesting photos.

If you have more information about the stations or railways of South Shields please share it by commenting on this post, emailing, or perhaps develop another post.

5 comments:

Unknown said...

Hi Derek, I asked on Facebook and I've managed to get a photo of south shields low station , Alfie

shop steward said...

Well done Derek an interesting sequence of information

Michael Denholm said...

A comprehensive photographic / map journey through the railways of South Shieldx. It compliments the (very good) book mentioned on the subject. Well done!

Unknown said...

I've seen the (old) photograph of Tyne Dock station before, and the caption in that book stated they were removing the level crossing and replacing it with a rail overpass

Derek said...

Thanks for the interest in & comments about this.

Tyne Dock changed as the town & (coal) trade expanded. From the photo & the street layout it looks like there was a road crossing immediately east of the BJR station. A replacement road (Boldon Lane) to the Dock was cut under the S&TR & BJR routes to the west, possibly around the same time as the tunnel on the BJR route was formed under the approach lines to the Dock, & the station changed to an island platform to the east of the former crossing. (The old BJR station was on the alignment of Boldon Lane cut & where bridges for S&TR/BJR routes were installed.)