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Sunday, 26 July 2020


From the A1(M) I glimpsed maintenance today on the Ferryhill to Teesside line, and later walked through Hardwick Park to a footpath on a former colliery railway leading from the Teesside line to Fishburn.
Looking north to Fishburn coke works, possibly in the 1970s
Fishburn was a small village until, as in several places in East Durham, the colliery was sunk in the early 20th century.   Thereafter the village grew on that single industry.

1961 OS map showing the East Coast Main line, Teesside route, & the colliery branch to Fishburn at top right.   (Incidentally, note Sedgefield station 3 miles from its village)
(National Library of Scotland)
In the 1950s Fishburn coke works was built just south of, & fed coal from, Fishburn Colliery.   The colliery closed in the early 1970s, the modern coke works becoming dependent on coal brought from surrounding pits by rail & road.   This left the coke works with additional costs, making it vulnerable as the industries which it fed suffered a market downturn.   Read how Sedgefield MP Tony Blair tried to tackle this in the Commons in July 1983.

A 1950s Hunslet diesel on a train at Fishburn
A colliery wheel as a reminder of Fishburn's former industrial life
See the Fishburn Parish Council website for more information.


Unknown said...

The map also shows the trackbed of the N.E.R. branch from the Ferryhill-Stockton line (crossing the East Coast Main Line) to Windlestone Colliery, just south of Chilton. A bit of the trackbed can be glimpsed from trains today. I wonder if the line (and Windlestone Colliery) was ever photographed.

Derek said...

According to the Durham Mining Museum, which has a photo of the colliery, ( Windlestone Colliery closed in 1924. I don't remember & can't find any shots in books. Google shows 1 or 2 of the colliery but none of the railway. Ask the Armstrong Railway Photographic Trust.