Killingworth, North Tyneside
Killingworth Railway Station
1 Jun 2020
Killingworth, North Tyneside
This is a
Current status is
Designer (if known):
The East Coast Main Line still runs through the site, though no service to Killingworth exists presently.
'Killingworth station was on the East Coast main line six miles north of Newcastle Central. It possessed one of the large, dignified buildings – some of which are still standing - that graced a number of stations between Newcastle and Berwick. The architect was Benjamin Green, a Newcastle man who, with his father, designed the city’s Theatre Royal and Grey’s Monument.
The village of Killingworth is basically a single street, on a low hill rising above the neighbouring countryside, and it retains something of its historic, rural atmosphere. All around it the landscape has undergone enormous upheavals, not least in the last fifty years. Rich coal reserves lay beneath the fields, and as early as 1373 it was being extracted in the locality. In 1802 Killingworth West Moor Pit opened, south-west of the village, followed by High Pit to the north-east in 1810. In 1804 George Stephenson was taken on as brakesman, in charge of the winding engine that brought miners in and out of the shaft. His ability to repair a defective pumping engine at the High Pit impressed his employers who promoted him to enginewright. Stephenson’s energy and enterprise were unbounded, for not only did he design a miners’ safety lamp (the ‘Geordie’ lamp from which, it is said, Tynesiders derive their nickname) but developed steam locomotive technology. His first successful design,
The Newcastle & Berwick Railway held itself in high esteem and apparently was in no mind to economise, so Killingworth and many other stations were built in a style that was in vogue with architects of country houses. Located close to the level crossing, the two-storey Tudor/Jacobean (‘Jacobethan’) building, on the down (northbound) platform, was constructed of sandstone ashlar. Its projecting wings had raised gables, topped with ball finials, and at platform level each wing was given a canted bay window. Window openings were designed with mullions, and first floor openings at the centre of the platform frontage, and the other elevations, were also given tall gables and finials. Two sets of quadruple chimneystacks soared above the central section of the building. A platform verandah was clasped between the wings, and a pent-roof wooden glazed verandah was added at the north end of the building. On the up platform a waiting shed with a slate, ridged roof faced the main building. The sides and back were of stone, but the front – a later addition by the North Eastern Railway - was glazed with dado panels, some of stone, others of herringbone timber.
The location of the station was not convenient for Killingworth village, a mile away, without a direct path or road; neither was there direct access to the West Moor colliery cottages. When the station opened, and until the 1960s, the area north of the station was largely farmland, whilst to the west stood Gosforth House, the late eighteenth century mansion of the Brandling Family, surrounded by their pleasure ground, High Gosforth Park. (The Brandling family had a significant role in railway development, principally south of the Tyne.) for further details.) These features of its hinterland limited the numbers of passengers who used Killingworth station; in 1911 a comparison with its neighbouring stations showed that while Killingworth booked 34,429 passengers, Forest Hall booked 40,491 and Annitsford 49,132. However, Killingworth gained a new source of passengers when, in 1881, the Newcastle races were transferred from the city’s Town Moor to (High) Gosforth Park. The NER racecourse station at Moor End (between Jesmond and South Gosforth) was abandoned, and at Killingworth several sidings for racecourse traffic were added behind the down platform. Killingworth Sidings signal box controlled access to the racecourse facilities, where horse boxes were dealt with, and two platforms were built: an island and a flanking platform at the south-western edge of the sidings. On race days special trains conveyed passengers to the untimetabled ‘Killingworth Sidings Platform’.'
Retrieved from Disused Station. Please read their fascinating and in depth analyses into Tyneside railways at the link above.
Listing Description (if available)
The two editions above show Killingworth Railway station throughout the latter half of the 19th century. The first image is in the 1860s when the station was only just over a decade old. It was small, and situated away from the village of Killingworth itself. It linked the Newcastle to Berwick Railway to Killingworth Colliery and the industrial lines to the Tyne. A railway inn served the weary travellers.
The later edition shows the extension of the station with its racecourse sidings, to stable extra carriages in the horse racing season. The line in the north east served Burradon Colliery.
The post WWI edition shows the growing sprawl of Killingworth as a colliery town. The main developments were to the east but miners terraces and affordable housing were popping up on this side also.
The facilities at the station are again extended for mineral sidings and goods loading bays.
Image of the Killingworth railway crossing across Station Road, 1900. To the right is an Oxo advertisement, and to the left is the signal box and semaphore signals. The telephone pole is worthy of note due to its sheer size.
Retrieved from Co-Curate
Photograph of Killingworth Station, 1957. The image is of a local service going south towards Newcastle. An atypical NER footbridge can be seen, as well as a waiting room on the south platform.
Photo by Les Turnball, retrieved from Disused Stations
Photograph of the signal gantry at Killingworth Station, 1959. The growing site meant a more intricate complex of points and signals. There was a junction four ways at this point in every direction. Along with the large array of sidings, such a system was needed for an efficient running of the railway.