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Author Topic: Weardale Railway - 23rd June 2019  (Read 481 times)
grahame
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« on: June 24, 2019, 07:00:35 am »

An excellent trip on the Weardale railway yesterday afternoon - having spent a few hours at the Shildon Musueum, I took a short hop on Northern's Bishop line up to Bishop Auckland for my adventure.

The Weardale railway creeps into Bishop Auckland (West) alsmost as an apology - an unlocked gate in a high security fence is the unsignposted entry - but at least the web site had given me a prior clue where to find it, and the gate was physucally open with a grassy slope down to the platform





A sight for sore eyes - Class 122 bubble car 55012 arrives to take me on the trip all the way up to Stanhope



The scenery is beautiful as the line follows up the rural river valley, crossing the river at severl places and calling at statins which feel remote - little wonder that passenger traffic ceased long before Dr Beeching was on the scene











Mid-trip, we passed the afternoon "tea train" - a service that runs on many weekends and comprises a top and tail set of mark 2 (?) coaches running an out and back excursion from Stanhope. Two manual frames at the loop and the crossing is a long-winded process, but on a lazy Sunday afternoon that really doesn't matter; the same applies to the 5, 10 and 15 m.p.h. limit sections along the line with a top speed of 25 m.p.h anyway



There's a big Christmas market too - to the extent that the carriages are carrying Santa branding all year.



Journey's end at Stanhope is a gem of a station and I could have done wiht longer there.  Having said which, the majority of the passengers start and end their journey there by car, so are not under the train turn around constraint



And so back to Bishop Auckland, with a fairly tight connecting trot back around the Royal Mail depot and across the B&Q Car park to the Northern Station.



Wonderful memories of trips on less urban lines 40 years ago ... heritage memories for me are not so much steam but riding beding the driver in first generation multiple units or (as with yestreday) the very occasional single car.

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martyjon
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« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2019, 07:30:13 am »



Gosh, they must have knew you were coming Grahame. Was the red carper really for you ?
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2019, 07:37:17 am »

Gosh, they must have knew you were coming Grahame. Was the red carper really for you ?

Absolutley not!

I suspect it was for guest parties arriving for the tea train, escorted to their seats and glad-handed on the train. I understand they had some 50 customers at 25 a pop - 20 for children - on that train which would have far more helped their business plan / finances than the Bubble Car.

I was the only one to join at Bishop Auckland for the round trip to Stanhope ... there's a significant marketing opportunity for the connection now that the Northern service is up to every hour; previously, the Weardale service hasn't made it all the way into Bishop Auckland even the three round trips of the day, and when it has it's left a very ling wait for passengers on and/or off the infrequent Sunday services to / from Darlington.
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« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2019, 07:49:11 am »

and calling at statins which feel remote...........

Yep, my statins make me feel spaced out too !

A great typo to start off a Monday. Keep 'em coming grahame !
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bradshaw
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« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2019, 10:14:45 am »

This rail line is fascinating, its main customers were the limestone quarries which operated on the hillsides from Frosterley onwards. The line was operated by BR into the 90s to transport cement from Eastgate, which ceased in 1993.
Before then BR ran a Summer Sundays service to Stanhope, extending a Saltburn to B. Auckland train, rather like the GWR operation to Okehampton.
Hertfordshire Railtours ran an HST up to Eastgate on at least one occasion.

In those days you could then catch a bus to Alston for lunch and return via Killhope lead mine or walk the numerous mineral line connections.
If they upload, this being the second attempt, two photos showing the extent of the mineral railways in the area and a rout description.
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grahame
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« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2019, 11:00:39 am »

Was at this railway a couple of years ago, in the evening so no trains running. visited all the stations. It's got a lot of potential especially with its location near to Shildon. However there are so many heritage lines, can the country support them all?

This rail line is fascinating, its main customers were the limestone quarries which operated on the hillsides from Frosterley onwards. The line was operated by BR into the 90s to transport cement from Eastgate, which ceased in 1993.
Before then BR ran a Summer Sundays service to Stanhope, extending a Saltburn to B. Auckland train, rather like the GWR operation to Okehampton.
Hertfordshire Railtours ran an HST up to Eastgate on at least one occasion.

In those days you could then catch a bus to Alston for lunch and return via Killhope lead mine or walk the numerous mineral line connections.
If they upload, this being the second attempt, two photos showing the extent of the mineral railways in the area and a rout description.

I am seeing your attachments ... and also noting that there's a 1 discount off your rail ticket if you produces a Kilinghope Lead Mine ticket from this year, so obviously some co-ordination.

There looks ... to my slightly-educated eye ... lots of real opportunities.  I suspect there are major long term issues with ownership and maintenance though.  Personal thought is that this line is probably one of the ones worth going that "extra mile" for.     I was ... relieved .. to hear the staff telling me the Bubble Car was unusually quiet and giving me "tea train" numbers.  On one hand, I suspect abstraction and on the other I sense a national rail connectivity that has only just become workable on Sundays with the Darlington train now frequent enough to always connect, and the marketing not yet reaching people.

Interesting to see the loco fleet standardised to class 31 and carriages to Mark 2d (?) - a lesson in pragmatic operation with the benefit of interchangeable parts and real skill building up, perhaps?  Mind you, who on earth would think of putting a couple of locos on the end of a rake of coaches ... oh - wait ...  Grin

It's never gong to be the steam haven of North Yorks Moors - but it could have a really significant future, especially if it leverages the 200th anniversary of the Stockton and Darlington ...
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bradshaw
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« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2019, 11:29:28 am »


This link explains the history of the line, especially the recent history.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weardale_Railway

Bus timetables
https://www.weardale-travel.co.uk/wpc2.html
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rogerw
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« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2019, 01:49:58 pm »

I was up there 6 weeks ago on an excursion which gave a bit longer at Stanhope.  It is lovely well restored station, although, as you would expect, not up to dealing with an influx of 400 passengers so that it was somewhat crowded on our visit.  The line itself is attractive following the river for most of its length.
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« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2019, 08:01:22 am »

An excellent trip on the Weardale railway yesterday afternoon - having spent a few hours

Wonderful memories of trips on less urban lines 40 years ago ... heritage memories for me are not so much steam but riding beding the driver in first generation multiple units or (as with yestreday) the very occasional single car.


Each to their own... Huh Shocked
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