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23rd February 2019

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Published by membersonly, 2019-02-21 16:18:53


23rd February 2019




In the notes which follow, historical and geographical details are given of the lines used by today’s tour
of the Tyne & Wear Metro system, and of certain other associated lines. Opening and closing dates
and other information about lines traversed, and of others nearby or connecting with the system, are
given in either the Route Description section or the appendices which follow. Opening and closing
dates (to passenger and goods) for stations encountered are given there also. Names of stations,
whether open, closed or proposed, are given in UPPER CASE and those open at present to Metro
traffic are shown in bold. Other place names appear conventionally. Distances are not given in the
Route Description as they are shown in TRACKmaps and also the map which accompanies these notes.


The Tyne and Wear Metro has been described as the first modern light rail system in the United
Kingdom. It has 77.5 km (48.2 miles) of route and 60 stations, nine of which are underground. The
initial network opened between 1980 and 1984, using converted former BR lines, linked with new
tunnel infrastructure. Extensions to the original network were opened in 1991 to the airport and in
2002 to Sunderland and South Hylton. The extension to South Hylton involved the adaptation of the
line between Pelaw and Sunderland to allow a shared service between the Metro and conventional rail
services, becoming the first UK system to implement a form of the “Karlsruhe” model. This model,
named after the German city of Karlsruhe, where it was first used, involves a tram–train system
consisting of tram/light rail trains and commuter/regional rail trains running on the same tracks,
generally outside urban areas.


The system is owned and operated by the local transport authority Nexus. Between 2010 and 2017 it
was operated under contract by DB Regio Tyne & Wear Limited, a subsidiary of Arriva UK Trains. On 1
April 2017 this contract was terminated by Nexus, which took over direct operation of the system.

The Metro consists of two lines: the ‘Green Line’, which runs between the Airport and South Hylton via
Newcastle city centre, Gateshead and Sunderland, and the ‘Yellow Line’, which runs between St James
and South Shields via North Shields, Tynemouth and Whitley Bay, then looping back on itself and going
south via the city centre, Gateshead and Jarrow. Originally the ‘Green Line’ ran between Newcastle
Airport and South Shields. There was a ‘Red Line’ between Benton and Heworth (later Pelaw) and a
‘Blue Line’ between St James and North Shields. Instead, short workings now operate at peak times
between Pelaw and Regent Centre as part of the 'Green Line' and between Pelaw and either
Monkseaton or Benton (via South Gosforth) as part of the ' Yellow Line'.

Current collection is by pantograph from overhead wire at 1500 V d.c. – the one time British Railways
(BR) standard, the last example of which was between Manchester Piccadilly and Hadfield until
abolition in 1984. The loading gauge is somewhat lower than on Network Rail (NR), to avoid the
expense of rebuilding many overbridges for electrification – except of course on the line now shared
with NR to Sunderland and South Hylton and that formerly shared with BR between Benton and Bank
Foot when used by freight trains to Fawdon and Callerton. On the line to Sunderland two signal
sections are maintained between trains because of the mix of “light” and “heavy” trains – something
done normally only for especially important trains and sometimes referred to as ‘double block
working’, although this is apparently not an official term. This line has been controlled since 2002 by

To Morpeth


The South Gosforth Avoider
Sunday 24 February 2019

Gosforth West Jn

Kingston Park Wansbeck Road Gosforth MD Four Lane Benton N
To Airport Fawdon Regent Centre (Nexus)

Ends Benton

KEY South Gosforth Longbenton
Gosforth East Jn
Planned tour route

Other Metro lines Ilford Road
Network Rail :

Passenger lines

Freight lines West Jesmond
Closed lines

North Tyneside

Steam Rly (NTSR) Heaton TMD
Metro stat ions Simonside Jesmond Jn
Jesmond Chillingham Road
NR stat ions DUNSTON

Not to scale : note that for clarity,

many industrial/colliery/minor

freight lines have been omit ted. Haymarket Byker

St James MANORS Quayside
Monument branch

To Hexham Central Station

NEWCASTLE Riverside lo

River Tyne Gateshead Gateshead Stadium
To Durham


CSD To Tanf ield To Durham

To Bedlington West Monkseaton To Blyth, Bedlington
and Morpeth Shiremoor and Morpeth
Northumberland Park Monkseaton
Whitley Bay


Palmersville N

Stephenson Railway Museum Tynemouth

North Jn

North Tyneside Steam Railway North Shields

Temporary Howdon Metro Percy Main South
depot (to be built) Shields
Meadow Well
Howdon Tyne Commission To
Quay Westoe

Hadrian Road

Wallsend Whitehill Point

River Tyne Chichester

gate Tyne Dock
Jarrow Shell (oil) (coal) (containers)

Pontop Jn Jarrow Tyne Dock Tyne Dock
Hebburn Bot tom Harton Jn
Bowes Rly
(latterly NCB) Bede

oop Green Lane Jn

Pelaw: Fellgate Brockley Whins
North Jn
Metro Jn

Pelaw Note : NR and Metro share Hedworth Lane
tracks between Pelaw Metro To Consett To Sunderland
th Jn and Sunderland South Jn.
To Springwell
To Ferryhill

Tyneside IECC using Alstom Solid State Interlocking. It also controls Sunderland to South Hylton, on
which only T&W Metro trains are allowed.

Other aspects of operation are completely different from NR, but only a few features can be detailed
here. Signs (including shunt limits, speed restrictions etc.) are of the standard road type, although their
interpretation may be slightly different. It was the first railway in the UK to operate using the metric
system; all its speeds and distances are stated in metric units only. The museum at Middle Engine Lane
was built to test the original sets in the 1980s; it had a number of features such as overhead
electrification and a mock tunnel. An original metro cab there was used for testing and familiarisation
prior to the first phase of construction of the sets.


Thanks are due to Ian Hughes, Phil Logie, Angus McDougall and Rodger Wilkinson for their assistance.
Any errors, inaccuracies or omissions are entirely the responsibility of the compiler. Any suggestions
for improvement or corrections should be sent to [email protected] . Thanks also to
Martyn Brailsford and Dave Cromarty for the maps.

Geoff Blyth
February 2019


We start our tour at SOUTH GOSFORTH (CP 23/1/1978 and RO 11/8/1980), which still retains its
elegant North Eastern Railway (NER) footbridge. The modern building R is the Metro Control Centre,
which carries out all the functions its name implies.
We pass ILFORD ROAD (OP 11/8/1980). This section of BR, although CP 23/1/1978, continued in use
for freight and ECS until 10/4/1978, when it closed for reconstruction. MOOR EDGE, which served the
racecourse, then located on Newcastle Town Moor, was in this area. It closed in 1882 when the
racecourse moved to Gosforth Park. WEST JESMOND is the former BR station (CP 23/1/1978; RO

The Manors Spur, which we shall traverse later, continues straight ahead as we veer R at Jesmond Jn.,
just before we enter the tunnel built new for the Metro. JESMOND lies just inside the tunnel, followed
by HAYMARKET, near the bus station of that name. MONUMENT is named after the 181 year old Earl
Grey monument, which stands at the junction of Grey, Grainger and Blackett Streets in the middle of
the shopping precinct. This is an underground interchange station which may be regarded as the hub
of the system for passenger purposes. It once had a Travel Centre, closed (along with those at Four
Lane Ends and Heworth) on 4/10/2014. In December 2018 plans to transform it into the country’s first
underground station pub were approved. The East–West line which we traverse later is at a higher
level but still underground.

CENTRAL STATION is essentially of the island type although the running lines are in separate tunnels.
There is a direct escalator connection to the NR station above. The line designations are somewhat
perversely the opposite of what one might expect: as far as Pelaw, the ‘In’ Line is the one to Pelaw and
the ‘Out’ Line that into the city. This is caused by their being the continuation of the Tyneside Loop, on
which the inside of the loop is designated as the ‘In Line’ and the outside as the ‘Out Line’.

We emerge briefly from the tunnel at Forth Banks to cross the Tyne by the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge,
opened by her on 7/11/1981. Upstream R are the King Edward Bridge (rail) and Redheugh road bridge.
Downstream L is the combined rail and road High Level Bridge (rail on the top deck) and beyond are
the low level swing bridge and the Tyne Bridge, which is seen to have been a model for the Sydney
Harbour Bridge. Beyond that is the Millennium Bridge – a footbridge of novel design, known locally as
the ‘winking (or blinking) eye’ on account of its shape.

We go underground again on the south bank. GATESHEAD is closer to the town centre than the
previous BR stations – Gateshead East (CP 5/11/1979) and Gateshead West (CP 1/11/1965).

The Metro line surfaces again alongside the NR Sunderland line just before GATESHEAD STADIUM
station, which was originally intended to be named Old Fold. The stadium itself is actually some
distance to the NE. The now closed Tyneside Central Freight Depot, formerly Park Lane Goods, is L. We
run on the former BR alignment from here to Pelaw. The line was quadruple track until 10/1979, at
which time the northern pair (now the NR line) were goods lines and the southern pair (now the Metro
line) passenger lines. The NR tracks are reversibly signalled, under the control of Tyneside IECC, to
compensate in part for this reduction. FELLING replaced the BR station of that name (CP 5/11/1979),
which itself had replaced an earlier station further E on 18/11/1896.

HEWORTH is an important interchange station with both NR (L) and buses (R). There is a large car park
to the N, and the station (built new for BR and the Metro and OP 5/11/1979 for BR traffic) is
deliberately sited close to an important road junction, under which we pass. Further E we cross over
the course of the Pelaw Waggonway.

PELAW is one of two stations (the other being Kingston Park) provided out of funds remaining after
the initial Metro scheme had been completed. It was OP 15/9/1985 and is close to the site of the BR
station CP 5/11/1979. The first station here was CP before 1857 and a second, further E, open for
passengers from then until 18/11/1896. The modern Pelaw SB closed on 12/9/1982 when the BR
signalling in the area was taken over by Gateshead PSB, itself superseded by Tyneside IECC on

We run into Pelaw Sidings, located in between the ‘In’ and ‘Out’ lines, which have been used for
reversing trains since shortly after services to Heworth started. We reverse in Siding 1 and return by
the same route to CENTRAL STATION and HAYMARKET, where we reverse in platform 2 and retrace
our steps to PELAW and Pelaw Sidings, where we reverse in Siding 2.

We return by the same route to CENTRAL STATION and SOUTH GOSFORTH and take the curve R to
Gosforth East Jn., where the lines from South Gosforth Depot and the single line avoiding the depot
(which we shall traverse later) join L at Gosforth East Jn. LONGBENTON is the former London and
North Eastern Railway (LNER) station (CP 23/1/1978; RO 11/8/1980). FOUR LANE ENDS is a new bus–
rail interchange station on the site of the B&TR LONG BENTON station (CP & CA 1/3/1871).

BENTON was O 1/3/1871 to replace the B&TR stations at Forest Hall (further east) and Long Benton. It
CG 14/8/1967, CP 23/1/1978 but RO by the Metro 11/8/1980. There were formerly three connecting
curves between our route and the ECML. All three curves were traversed by the locally organised
“North Tyneside” railtour on 7/1/1978. This was probably the last passenger train over the former
South West curve to what was then named Benton Quarry Jn (now Benton North Jn), which diverged
R. It O 1/5/1903 and was used by ECS workings between Newcastle Central and South Gosforth Depot,
and BR freight traffic on the Ponteland branch. Regular use ceased when Callerton, Prestwick ICI Siding
CA 6/3/1989. The curve was also used for the occasional delivery of ballast and rails to the Metro, as it
was the only physical connection from BR, but it is not known if this continued after 3/1989. It was
severed at the south end on 4/2/1990. The former north curve to Benton North Jn. (a wartime
emergency connection O in 1940 by the LNER) was once used by some Newcastle – Alnmouth
passenger trains but CP 8/1/1978; it may have CA on this date or 23/1/1978. Much of it survived for a
while as sidings for turning back Metro trains, the stop blocks being not far short of the former Benton
North box on the ECML. Our 1985 tour covered these sidings, which CA 22/2/2013 and are now lifted.

After we pass over the ECML, the NR double track former south–east curve from the somewhat
misleadingly named Benton North Jn (formerly Benton Quarry Jn.) comes alongside R. This was O
1/7/1904, carried passenger trains to Newbiggin–by–the–Sea until withdrawal of that service on
2/11/1964, and a few express electric (and later diesel) trains between Newcastle and the Coast until
23/1/1978. It was then CA for reconstruction and RO 28/1/1980. Together with its prolongation

through Backworth and Bedlington, it was at one time used for ECML diversions, also via the Morpeth
North curve. However, these days long distance rail replacement coaches are the preferred solution,
with through services diverted via Carlisle. The two lines separate and assume different vertical
alignments before our line crosses over the NR line, which comes alongside L and becomes single
track. The B&TR station at FOREST HALL (CP 1/3/1871; to be distinguished from the later NER one on
the East Coast Main Line) was somewhere in this area.

Three tracks continue eastwards past the site of BENTON SOUARE (CP 20/9/1915). PALMERSVILLE
metro station OP here 19/3/1986. The former Killingworth Waggonway once made a flat crossing with
our route, controlled by Killingworth Crossing SB, before we pass under the A19 road. The former
Seaton Burn Waggonway crossed overhead before NORTHUMBERLAND PARK (OP 11/12/2005), an
island platform station, built to serve housing estates located on land once owned by the Duke of
Northumberland. A new station is proposed here to provide an interchange with any reinstated
passenger service over the B&TR line. There have been problems with old mine workings in this area,
which have resulted in temporary closures of the Metro. A short distance east is the former
BACKWORTH station (originally Hotspur, renamed 6/1865; CP 13/6/1977), where the Backworth
Colliery Railway crossed overhead. The B&TR line to Bedlington curves away L and we then pass under
the 4 track formation which once carried both the Cramlington Colliery Railway and the B&TR line to
Percy Main. RTC on the B&TR 30/6/1983 and the line was TOU 19/6/1984 and lifted by 2/1985. South
of here, near West Allotment, was the northern end of the former Metro test track (see later).

The new SHIREMOOR station is followed by a tract of open country, although a further station at
MURTON might be built here to serve the proposed Murton Gap housing development. WEST
MONKSEATON is the former LNER station (CP 10/9/1979; RO 11/8/1980).

The history of railways in the Monkseaton and Tynemouth area is quite complicated and only an
outline account can be given here! Approaching Monkseaton there is virtually no trace of the original
(1864) alignment, which continued straight ahead L to serve the earlier Monkseaton station (CP
25/7/1915) further east, on the original B&TR line to Tynemouth (OG 31/10/1860; OP 1/4/1861). We
curve R into the present MONKSEATON station (CG 2/3/1959; CP 10/9/1979; RO 11/8/1980) on the
deviation line O 25/7/1915. The trackbed joining L carried the 1915 connection from the B&TR Hartley
line (which was also known as the Avenue Branch), which CA 2/11/1964 on withdrawal of the
passenger service. South of Monkseaton we veer L. The course of the original B&TR line, which crossed
our route, has been obliterated but a short stub of this line R remained to serve a goods depot at
Hillheads Siding until CG 4/10/1965. We are now on the 1882 NER line, which replaced the original
B&TR line to Tynemouth, further west. WHITLEY BAY and CULLERCOATS (CG 10/2/1964) are the
former BR stations (both CP 10/9/1979 and RO 11/8/1980).

The present TYNEMOUTH station (OP 3/7/1882) is a listed
building but too large for Metro use, so much of the building is
in retail use. An NER tile map remains on the east side
concourse. There were previously 3 bay platforms at each end
and middle lines not served by platforms. After closure of the
West Monkseaton to Tynemouth section for Metro works,
Newcastle – Tynemouth trains terminated in one of the south
end bays. The original B&TR Tynemouth station, out of sight, R,
was a terminus from the north. It was CP 27/6/1864 when
replaced by a station slightly further E, but remained in use for freight until CA 1/5/1971. This second
station CA 1/4/1865 when the line was extended south east, cutting across our route (which was not
built until 1882), to a station south of the main road which lies ahead of us. A sharp curve (OG
3/7/1882, trackbed visible R) diverged at the former Tynemouth South box to connect with the B&TR
line, replacing the line that cut across our route. This curve maintained access, by means of a reversal,

to the first B&TR station (see above). Our route line now curves R under an overbridge, to join the
route of the Newcastle and Berwick Railway (N&BR) from North Shields. L, immediately after the
overbridge, was the now obliterated line to the N&BR station and the third B&TR station. Both CP
3/7/1882, becoming Tynemouth Old Goods (CG 2/3/1959 but retained for coal traffic until 10/9/1979).

We pass the site of a once proposed station at DOCKWRAY PARK and enter North Shields Tunnel. At
NORTH SHIELDS, which is the BR station (CP 11/8/1980; RO 14/11/1982), we cross to the ‘In’ Line and
enter Bagnall’s Siding, also known as Preston Refuge Siding. We then cross back again to the ‘Out’ Line
and then the bay platform, where terminating ‘Blue Line’ services once reversed. Hylton Street
permanent way depot, L, once the goods depot, CG 8/10/1979. MEADOW WELL is a new station
renamed from SMITH’S PARK 10/10/1994.

We pass over the course of the former Backworth Colliery Railway, which ran to coal staiths at
Whitehill Point, on the Tyne. During construction of the Metro a 1½ mile test track was built on the
formation, between the A1058 Coast Road overbridge north of Percy Main and West Allotment,
Shiremoor. This was in use from 1975 until 1980 (with Society tours on 25/11/1976 and 31/3/1979)
and included a workshop at Middle Engine Lane, mock up stations, a tunnel and a passing loop. It was
closed 28/6/1980 and dismantled 8/1981. The section south of Middle Engine Lane, where the
workshop became the Stephenson Railway Museum, RO 14/7/1991 as far as a new PERCY MAIN
station (R, north of our route) and then became the North Tyneside Steam Railway (NTSR).

The trackbed underneath our route, just before PERCY MAIN (CG 29/4/1968; CP 11/8/1980; RO
14/11/1982) was the Seaton Burn Waggonway to the coal staiths at Northumberland Dock. A sharply
curved connection (CA 12/5/1980) from Percy Main North box once joined R, just before the bridge
over the former B&TR line. The B&TR line once ran to coal staiths at Whitehill Point and, via the Tyne
Improvement Commission (TIC) Railway, to a passenger terminal at Tyne Commission Quay (CP and CA
4/5/1970). Passenger services on the B&TR were withdrawn as early as 27/6/1864, on the opening of
their line into Newcastle. However, boat trains serving the Bergen Line sailings to Bergen and
Stavanger and also the Fred Olsen Line to Kristiansand and Oslo took the curve to Percy Main North,
reversing there en route to Tyne Commission Quay. The line latterly served an Esso oil depot south of
our route but RTC 30/6/1983. It was TOU 19/6/1984 and lifted by 2/1985. The depot itself was blown
up by the IRA in the late 1990s! The NTSR planned at one time to extend further south beyond the
A187 road and then to curve east, ending close to the former BR/TIC boundary. Some work was done
(ballast, some track and a concrete platform) but the work was abandoned and the line now
terminates at Percy Main Village, L, south of our route and just north of the A187.

The trackbed of the Riverside Loop (CA at this end by 31/5/1978 and now obliterated) diverges L
before the A187 overbridge. Beyond this bridge, L, is the former Howdon Landfill Site, which will
become the Howdon 'satellite' Metro depot - an 'outstabling facility' to take 10 Metro trains during the
redevelopment of the main Gosforth Depot. It will also be used for delivery of the new Metro train
fleet. We pass over the northern approach road to the Tyne Tunnel. The bridge L, which once carried
the Riverside Loop over the A19, is now a cycle track giving access to the future depot site. HOWDON
has staggered platforms on each side of Howdon Lane level crossing (the only public crossing on the
loop proper), on the site of BR’s HOWDON–ON–TYNE (CG 7/7/1964; CP 11/8/1980). We cross the
Wallsend Burn by Willington viaduct (rather similar to the Ouseburn Viaduct further west); one of
essentially the same type carrying the Riverside Loop over this valley, L, has now completely

HADRIAN ROAD, a completely new station (OP 14/11/1982), is followed by the private Limekiln Road
crossing. Just after this crossing the lower part of the Killingworth Waggonway, which latterly served
just Rising Sun Colliery, made a flat crossing with our line at the former Church Pit SB. The course of
the former Riverside Loop and its later terminus at Carville are only a short distance away, L, as we
approach WALLSEND, a new station with associated bus interchange, on the site of the former NER

station (CG 11/7/1966; CP 11/8/1980; RO 14/11/1982). The site of the Roman fort of Segedunum is L.
This marks the start (mile zero) of Hadrian’s Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Slightly further
south, at the former Neptune shipyard, archaeologists searching for possible Roman remains
unearthed in 2013 the oldest complete, and best-preserved, section of wooden railway in the world -
now held at the Stephenson Railway Museum. The rare 18th century Willington Waggonway is the
earliest standard gauge (1435 mm) railway yet discovered.

A station was proposed at STOTTS ROAD, between here and WALKERGATE, a rebuilt version of the BR
Walker Gate station (CG 14/8/1967; CP 11/8/1980), but not progressed. Beyond this are the former
electric car sheds (dating from 1904), which were severely damaged by fire in August 1918, when
thirty four cars were completely destroyed and many others damaged. This incident meant that
services had to be maintained by a mixture of steam and electric trains for some years and also led to
the building of the new car sheds at South Gosforth.

Just before the ECML and Northern Rail’s Heaton Traction Maintenance Depot, R, a connection from
BR, crossed our route by means of crossovers, into the former Parsons (now Siemens) works L.
Unfortunately rail traffic ceased just before this section of the Metro opened to passengers but the
connection remained in place until Heaton Depot was resignalled at the end of the 1980s. After
CHILLINGHAM ROAD, a new station (OP 14/11/1982), we veer sharp L on an entirely new route (the
‘Byker Deviation') built for the Metro. The aim was regeneration of the area but it was controversial at
the time owing to its high cost. BYKER (OP 14/11/1982), beyond the two short tunnels, is also new.
The impressive 18 span, 815m long and 33m high Byker Viaduct, which curves in an S shape, was the
first in the UK to use glued segment concrete cantilever construction. It received the Concrete Society
Award in 1980. During its construction a careful watch was kept for any trace of Hadrian’s Wall but
none was found. We cross above the course of the BR Riverside Loop, once electrified (1904 to 1967)
as part of the North Tyneside d.c. third rail network. On withdrawal of the latterly very meagre peak
hour DMU service on 23/7/1973 it became a freight branch serving various installations (mostly
shipyards) along the river bank, which closed in stages until the last section (at this end) from Riverside
Jn. to St Peters, Shepherd's Siding CA 31/3/1988. We then cross the deep valley of the 0use Burn,
flanked by two other viaducts: L is the 1878 Byker Bridge, which looks very much like a railway viaduct
but in fact carries the A193 road, and R the 1839 Grade II* listed NR Ouseburn viaduct.

We pass Stoddart Street Sidings, R, which lie between our route and the ECML, further R. Our line and
the sidings are on the site of Trafalgar Yard and the access to the Quayside branch L – a steeply graded
freight branch which ran in a semi–circle, through two tunnels, down to the river. This branch was,
from 1905 to 1964, electrified on the overhead system at each end and with a third rail on the middle
section for reasons of clearance in the tunnels. It CA 16/6/1969. A goods station at TRAFALGAR existed
somewhere in this area until CG 2/1/1907. Although not visible, an early waggonway from the Town
Moor to the river ran under our route in the Victoria Tunnel (see BLN 1283.1278).

We enter a tunnel under the ECML and take the facing crossover into platform 1 at the underground
MANORS station. We reverse and run into Stoddart Street Siding 1, then shunt to Siding 2. After
reversal we take the trailing crossover, pass through MANORS again and then through the upper level
of MONUMENT to reach the present terminus at ST JAMES, almost under St James Park football
ground. There are two platforms in a spacious underground vault, with scissors crossover access and
approach controlled signalling. A possible westward extension (which might have had some street
running) would presumably have continued beyond the St James overrun tunnel, where we reverse in
the overrun sidings and return to ST JAMES, where there is a break of one hour.

We continue to MANORS, where we reverse and take the Manors Spur. The PTE considered that the
run from South Gosforth Depot to St James via Tynemouth was too long for ECS workings. It was
therefore decided to keep a link from Jesmond to Manors for this purpose. As Manors Metro station
lies further north than the former BR station, this connection follows roughly the alignment of the

former Manors North – Argyle St north–to–east freight only curve (CA 2/11/1969), but at a lower level.
We climb in a new cutting within the old one on the 1909 NER alignment. L is the site of New Bridge
Street Coal Depots, now obscured by a car park and the central motorway system. The former New
Bridge Street Engineers Depot R, on the site of NEW BRIDGE STREET Goods (CG 4/12/1967), itself on
the site of the original B&TR terminus (CP 1/1/1909), is now the inevitable car park (and nursery!) for
Northumbria University. We are now on the former B&TR alignment. A passing loop marks the site of
the former JESMOND BR station (CP 23.1.1978), where the station building survives L, as the Carriage
Public House. Next to the building is an old carriage and replica signal box, which together form the
Valley Junction 397 restaurant, named after the original Great Northern Railway carriage number –
later LNER 4397 and BR departmental DE320206.

The line from HYLTON and SOUTH SHIELDS converges L at Jesmond Jn. We retrace our steps through
SOUTH GOSFORTH, BENTON and SHIREMOOR to MONKSEATON, where we take the facing crossover
into the loop. After reversing we return to LONGBENTON and Gosforth East Jn., where we diverge R to
take the single line avoiding South Gosforth Depot.

Gosforth (or South Gosforth) Depot was originally built by the NER and LNER in the early 1920s as a
replacement for the fire damaged original sheds at Walker Gate (see above), to house the third rail
electric sets provided for the Tyneside services. Diesel multiple units were also kept here after their
introduction on Tyneside and, after abandonment of third rail electrification in 1967, the depot was
used exclusively for diesel units until 11/8/1980. The current depot is no longer fit for purpose, so a
new depot will be built on the existing site. Whilst this work is taking place there will be a temporary
depot at Howdon (see above) that will be able to accommodate 10 train sets.

We are now on the former NER Ponteland branch, O in 1905, having been built under a Light Railway
Order and originally intended to be electrified as part of the Tyneside scheme when traffic developed.
However, this never occurred and the line CP 17/6/1929. It retained freight traffic to the NCB (later ICI)
explosives depot at Callerton and a Rowntrees chocolate factory at Fawdon. These trains ran via the S
to W curve off the ECML at Benton and the Gosforth East Jn – Gosforth West Jn (South Gosforth East &
West Jns in BR days) line which, unlike our route, ran on the south side of the depot. After that line CA
14/6/1965 they ran via Jesmond. South Gosforth to Gosforth West Jn CA 10/4/1978 for Tyne and Wear
PTE electrification work but access to the branch was maintained by the opening on this date of the
new link (the route we are now taking) from Gosforth East Jn to Gosforth West line but on the north
side of the depot. On 4/7/1983 it was equipped with an overhead wire for Metro use. Because of the
use of the line from Benton to Bank Foot by BR freight trains, the overhead wire was higher than
normal. The link OP 26/2/1996 when a weekday 05.36 Tynemouth – Airport train was introduced.
Unfortunately it did not last long as it was withdrawn in the timetable effective 29/12/1997, the last
train being on 24/12/1997 owing to Christmas holidays. There were Sunday diversions this way on 14,
21 and 28/2/2010 and finally on 7/3/2010. Unfortunately the line speed was so low it was not possible
to run a proper service. A special from Airport to Percy Main on 31 May 2015, advertised only locally
and organised by Nexus to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the arrival of the first Metro cars, is
thought to have been the last passenger working over the line. After this it was little used and was not
in a fit state for us to use last year, but fortunately we are able to do so this time.

At Gosforth West Jn we cross to the Out line and pass REGENT CENTRE (OP 10/5/1981), just beyond
the bridge under Great North Road, which is a bus–rail interchange station and the terminus of some
peak hour short workings from/to Pelaw. The NER WEST GOSFORTH station (CP 17/6/1929; CA
14/8/1967) was in the vicinity. WANSBECK ROAD is a new station (OP 10/5/1981) but FAWDON, which
has staggered platforms on either side of a level crossing, is on the site of COXLODGE (CP 17/6/1929;
CG 29/11/1965). The Nestlé (formerly Rowntrees) chocolate factory is L beyond the station, just
before the bridge over the A1 Newcastle Western Bypass. It CG 28/7/1988 with the demise of BR
Speedlink services. KINGSTON PARK station (OP 15/9/1985) also has staggered platforms - on either
side of Brunton Lane level crossing. We reverse in platform 2, just before the crossing. This crossing

and the one at Fawdon were the first on the Metro involving public roads and, although now
unattended and without gates or barriers, were initially provided with attendants until users became
accustomed to them.

We return to REGENT CENTRE and bear R at Gosforth West Jn, passing through SOUTH GOSFORTH
(where our route is now designated the ‘In’ Shields line), MONUMENT, CENTRAL STATION and
HEWORTH to PELAW, where our route now switches to being the ‘Out’ Shields line!

We continue E, rising to pass over the former Leamside line to Washington and Ferryhill. This carried a
very sparse local service – (i) a weekday train to Washington in the morning and back in the evening
(withdrawn 9/9/1963 and achieving the unenviable distinction of being the very first withdrawal under
the Beeching plan as there were no objections!) and (ii) a very early morning train to Barnard Castle
(west of Darlington) via Fencehouses, Durham and Bishop Auckland, later (by 09/1961) cut back to
Durham and withdrawn, along with the Sunderland - Durham service, on 4/5/1964. The line was used
extensively for main line diversions after that date. The remains of the line are visible R but now
heavily overgrown. The last known train ran in autumn 2001 and this end, to Wardley Opencast Site,
was TOU 3/3/2007. The track is still in situ as far as Wardley but lifted south of there.

We pass over the NR Sunderland line, at which point the Down Pelaw Chord diverges R at Pelaw North
Jn to join the Up Sunderland NR line! The extension of services to South Hylton on 31/3/2002 required
not only the construction of the two chords, but also the electrification at 1500 V d.c. of the NR
Sunderland line and the reopening and electrification of the closed branch to South Hylton, on which
the Metro is on a different alignment in places to the original NER line. We come alongside the NR
Jarrow branch, L, formerly the South Shields line. The Metro ‘Shields’ lines become single track at Bill
Quay Jn to provide room on the double track formation for the NR branch. Double track resumes at
Reyrolle, named after the electrical switchgear company whose former factory was R, shortly before
South Drive footpath crossing. HEBBURN station has staggered platforms either side of an overbridge,
owing to its constricted site. The BR station CP 1/6/1981 and CG 4/10/1965. Single track resumes as far
as Jarrow.

A branch from the Hebburn shipyard once joined L, shortly before Pontop Jn, where the BR freight
connection to the Bowes Railway diverged R before being cut in 10/1979 to avoid the complications of
working traffic across the Metro line. We cross over the course of the Bowes Railway (OG 17/1/1826,
CA either 16 or 20/12/1985) to Jarrow Staiths (L, on the river), which is now the Monkton Cycleway. A
branch from Palmer’s shipyard and iron works once joined L. It was the closure of this yard and the
resulting local unemployment rate of 68% that led to the famous Jarrow March to London in 1936 to
petition Parliament. The BR line was shifted north to make room for JARROW Metro station, where
there is a passing loop, roughly on the site of the BR passenger station (CP 1/6/1981). Further on the
NR branch to Jarrow Oil Terminal goes off L. This saw its last train (from Lindsey Oil Refinery) on
17/2/2015 but RO 9/5/2016, when the traffic was recaptured from coastal shipping. The branch
crosses the approach road to the Tyne Tunnel on a curving viaduct, having been slued somewhat to
the SE to avoid some slip roads. Double track resumes at this point.

Nexus had an aspiration to investigate the feasibility of using the NR track to (re)double the South
Shields line. The single line sections here limit the service that can be offered, hamper recovery when
disruption occurs and limit growth; for example, new stations cannot be built on the single track
section without extending running times too much to maintain the timetable. However, the reopening
of the oil terminal will presumably prevent this doubling unless some means can be found, as on the
Sunderland line, of sharing the track with NR.

BEDE station, named after the Venerable Bede (“the Father of English History", the 7/8th century monk
at the nearby monastery at Jarrow), is at the site of the former St Bede’s Jn. The connection here (L) to
the former Simonside Wagon Works O 1885 and CA 10/1/1971, the works then being accessed from
Tyne Dock Bottom. It was RO-26.11.1984 to maintain access to Simonside and Tyne Dock Bottom, but

CA again probably 14/2/1988, after which the section between Jarrow and St Bedes was taken over by
the Metro as a second track. BR use east of St Bedes ceased 28/3/1982 to enable conversion to Metro.

Just before the tunnel under the line from Boldon East and West Jns to Tyne Dock (OG 6/1/1859 from
Green Lane Jn.) was an earlier connection, L, to Tyne Dock Bottom OG 1/3/1872 and presumably CA
1885 on the OG of the curve from St Bede’s Jn. The Tyne Dock line once carried the iron ore trains to
Consett steel works, famous for requiring two class 9F 2-10-0 locos on the western half of the journey,
parts of which were as steep as 1 in 35. The line CA at this end 28/3/1982 for rebuilding as access to
the new coal terminal established on reclaimed marshland at Jarrow Slake, to the west of Tyne Dock
itself. Most of the original dock has been filled in and this and the earlier coal staiths are now an
industrial estate.

Beyond the tunnel the course of the line from Green Lane Jn (once the S&TR and later the Pontop &
South Shields Railway) is alongside R. This was latterly just the link between the NCB Westoe system
and BR and also to its stacking ground at the former Boldon Colliery site. The last train ran in 4/1993
but the date of formal closure is not known. South of Boldon Colliery (Hedworth Lane) the line was CA
7/8/1967, although through the iron ore trains to Consett had been diverted via Gateshead from
19/11/1966. The course of the direct line from Sunderland (CA 14/6/1965 on withdrawal of the South
Shields – Sunderland passenger service) comes in R. All three lines once joined at Harton Jn, where the
box – one of the few NER boxes carrying the word ‘Junction’ on its nameboard – was destroyed by fire
after closure on 30/3/1982. Landscaping has left little trace of the former passenger line (the BJR line
via High Shields, CA 1/6/1981 on withdrawal of the passenger service), which diverged L. The present
Metro TYNE DOCK is slightly to the E of the former BR one on the BJR line (CP 1/6/1981 and CG about
1960). The Metro now follows the original S&TR route north of Whitburn Jn, where an NCB connection
from Harton Colliery (last train 25/7/1969) came alongside R, before the road underbridge. There was
a third track, R, used by NCB traffic until 4/1993 when the Westoe system closed (colliery finally closed
5/1993). The NCB Dean Road (“Deans”) Sidings were R here, the start of the former overhead
electrification on the line to Westoe.

The course of the S&TR line straight ahead onwards (CA 1933) has been obliterated where we veer R
on the former Whitburn Colliery Railway (later NCB) formation before CHICHESTER station,
pronounced Chaichester rather than in the Sussex style. Trains are unable to call here at P2 at present
owing to signalling constraints: passengers to Newcastle have to travel from P1 via South Shields and
back, whereas those from South Shields must travel to Tyne Dock and back. The course of the former
NCB line to Westoe Colliery diverges R as we veer L to rejoin the S&TR route, albeit slightly offset from
the original alignment. The Metro line is carried on the 233m Crossgate viaduct under which a curving
footpath marks the course of the former NCB ‘main line’ between Westoe Colliery and Harton Low
Staiths (last train 19/7/1989) via Hilda Sidings, L, whose site is now occupied by a retail park. Beyond
this the 1879 NER route (now completely vanished) once joined L at Garden Lane box.

Construction started a year ago of new a new SOUTH SHIELDS Metro station, R, located south of
Keppel St and with a new bus interchange. This is due to open this year. The current SOUTH SHIELDS
station, a little further on, has a single platform. The line continued over King Street to sidings on the
site of the former BR station (R, OP 2/6/1879 and CP 1/6/1981). However, these have been lifted to
enable construction of a Metro Maintenance & Renewals Skills Centre. A new stabling point will be
provided here and it is thought that Nexus now plan to base 10 trains here. The original S&TR station
(CP 19/8/1844) was further on right at the end of the line, where the BR line once terminated in a
turntable on a bank above the river. The railway once continued even further north as a street
tramway; rails can still be seen in the road at the far end of Wapping St.

We reverse and return by the same route through JARROW to Bill Quay Jn, where we take the ‘In’
Shields line and then cross the Down Pelaw Chord on the flat. The Up Pelaw Chord, connecting out of
the Down Sunderland NR line, trails in L at Pelaw South Jn. Here we diverge R on to the Pelaw Refuge

Siding, which runs parallel to the ‘In’ Shields line. We wait here a few minutes and then continue
through PELAW and CENTRAL STATION to SOUTH GOSFORTH. Here we take the curve L to Gosforth
West Jn and REGENT CENTRE, where we take the facing crossover into Regent Centre Siding, R. After
reversing we return to SOUTH GOSFORTH, where the tour terminates.



South Gosforth – New Bridge Street B&TR OM 1/5/1863
OP 27/6/1864
Jesmond Jn. – Haymarket Metro OP 11/8/1980
Haymarket – Central Station – Heworth Metro OP 15/11/1981
Gateshead – Heworth – Pelaw BJR OM 30/8/1839
OP 5/9/1839
South Gosforth – Monkseaton B&TR O 27/6/1864
Deviation at Monkseaton NER O 25/7/1915
Monkseaton – Tynemouth NER O 3/7/1882
Tynemouth (old station) – North Shields N&BR O 31/3/1847
North Shields – Heaton N&NSR O 2/6/1839
Chillingham Road – St. James Metro O 14/11/1982
Manors – New Bridge Street NER O 1/1/1909
Manors – New Bridge Street Metro O 14/11/1982?
Gosforth East Jn. – Ponteland NER OG 1/3/1905
OP 1/6/1905
Gosforth West Jn. – Gosforth South Jn. NER O 1/6/1905
Pelaw – Jarrow – Tyne Dock NER O 1/3/1872
Tyne Dock – South Shields S&TR OM 10/9/1834
OP 16/4/1835

ELECTRIFICATION (Third rail 600V d.c.) 27/9/1903

Trials: Carville – Percy Main (Riverside loop) 29/3/1904
Regular Operation:
New Bridge Street – Benton By end of 1904
Benton – Monkseaton – Tynemouth – Wallsend – Newcastle
Central 1909
Byker – Carville (Riverside loop) 17/6/1967
Heaton – Benton & Benton East 14/3/1938
Manors – New Bridge Street 7/1/1963
* Third rail operation discontinued on the above lines*
Newcastle Central – South Shields
* Third rail operation discontinued on the South Shields line*

Newcastle Central – South Gosforth – Ponteland 23/1/1978
Newcastle Central – Walker – Tynemouth (Riverside loop) 23/1/1978
Newcastle Central – South Gosforth –West Monkseaton 23/1/1978
Newcastle Central – South Gosforth – Alnmouth 10/9/1979
Newcastle Central – Heaton – West Monkseaton 11/8/1980
Tynemouth – West Monkseaton
Newcastle Central – Wallsend – Tynemouth


Haymarket – Benton – Monkseaton – Tynemouth 11/8/1980
South Gosforth – Bank Foot 10/5/1981
Haymarket – Newcastle Central – Heworth 15/11/1981
St. James – Heaton – Tynemouth 14/11/1982
Heworth – South Shields 24/3/1984
Bank Foot – Airport 17/11/1991
Pelaw – Sunderland – South Hylton 31/3/2002


B&TR Blyth and Tyne Railway NER North Eastern Railway
BJR Brandling Junction Railway NR Network Rail
BR British Rail(ways) O Opened
CA Closed to all traffic OG Opened to (general) goods traffic
CG Closed to goods traffic OM Opened to mineral traffic
CP Closed to passenger traffic OP Opened to passenger traffic
d.c. Direct current PSB Power Signal Box
E East PTE Passenger Transport Executive
ECML East Coast Main Line R Right, (in the direction of travel)
ECS Empty coaching stock RO Reopened
ICI Imperial Chemical Industries RTC Regular traffic ceased
IECC Integrated Electronic Control Centre S South
km Kilometres SB Signal Box
L Left, (in the direction of travel) S&TR Stanhope and Tyne Railway
LNER London and North Eastern Railway TIC Tyne Improvement Commission
N North TOU Taken out of use
N&BR Newcastle and Berwick Railway V Volts
NCB National Coal Board W West
NE North East
N&NSR Newcastle and North Shields Railway


Guide to the Tyneside Explorer, Branch Line Society, 1985 (AO McDougall)
Guide to the Tyne & Wear Metro Tour, Branch Line Society, 2018 (GWR Blyth)
Clinker’s Register of Closed Passenger Stations, Clinker CR, Avon Anglia Publications 1978
British Railways North Eastern Region Sectional Appendix, Northern Section 1960
British Railways Eastern Region Sectional Appendix, Northern Section 1969
British Railways Eastern Region Sectional Appendix, Northern Area 1979
British Railways Pre-Grouping Atlas and Gazetteer, Fifth Edition, Ian Allan, 1967, Reprinted 2002
North Eastern Railway Historical Maps, Cook, RA and Hoole, K, Railway and Canal Historical Society
Railway Track Diagrams – Eastern, TRACKmaps 2016 - Google Maps and Street View - OpenStreetMap

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