Shotley Bridge Station

In 1865 work began on the eleven mile Derwent Valley Railway line (also known as the Lanchester Railway extension) linking the Newcastle to Carlisle line near Blaydon with the Lanchester and Durham line at Consett.

It opened for freight and passenger traffic in December 1867, with stations at Swalwell, Rowlands Gill, Lintzford, Ebchester, Shotley Bridge and Blackhill (which was initially called Benfieldside station). A station at High Westwood was added in 1909.

At first the line was mainly single track, but was later dualled throughout.

In the early years there was substantial passenger traffic, reaching a peak in 1914 and carrying up to half a million passengers annually. Many visitors to the Spa Grounds in Shotley Bridge came by train. There was also heavy goods traffic of timber, bricks, coal from the mines along the valley to Newcastle and iron ore to the steelworks at Consett.

After the First World War passenger traffic began to fall off and goods traffic declined as the mines in the valley closed.

Passenger services were withdrawn in 1953 and the line closed altogether in 1963. The timetable shows there were two passenger trains a day to Newcastle and back just before closure.

The line was converted into the Derwent Walk Country Park by Durham County Council and Gateshead Council. The eleven mile line is well used by walkers, wheelchair users, horse riders and cyclists. It is part of the National Cycle Network [Route 14] and the ‘Sea to Sea’ [C2C] long distance cycle route.