The Eden Valley and Stainmore Railway - History

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The Eden Valley and Stainmore Railway - History

  • Cutting of first sod on Stainmore Section at Kirkby Stephen by Duke of Cleveland - 25th August 1857
  • Cutting of first sod on Eden Valley Railway at Appleby by Lord Brougham - 4th August 1858
  • Stainmore Section opened for Mineral Traffic - 4th July 1861
  • Stainmore Section formal opening - 7th August 1861 - Fully opened to public the next day
  • Eden Valley Railway opened for Mineral Traffic - 8th April 1862
  • Eden Valley Railway opened for Passenger Traffic - 9th June 1862
  • Musgrave Station closes November 1952
  • Kirkby Thore station closed completely 1953
  • Temple Sowerby closed to passengers goods facilities retained - December 1953
  • Cliburn Station closed completly - September 1956
  • Faster Diesel service introduced Penrith to Darlington - February 1958
  • Proposals to withdraw passenger services and close sections of line - December 1959
  • Petitions to keep line open - February 1960
  • Intention to close announced subject to confirmation by Ministry of Transport - July 1961
  • Ernest Marples confirms closure - December 1961
  • Last Train on 20th January 1962 - Line closed apart from the Appleby to Warcop section and the Western end.
  • Quarry Traffic ceases and track removed beyond Flitholme - October 1974

Please help support The Stainmore Railway Company restore the former Kirkby Stephen East Railway Station and to develop the site as a Heritage Centre by becoming a shareholder by Clicking Here

The South Durham & Lancashire Union Railway opened a single line between Barnard Castle and Tebay in 1861. It was taken over by the Stockton & Darlington Railway in 1863 and later the same year was absorbed by the NER. It was built to take coke to the Cumberland & Furness blast furnaces and iron ore back to Cleveland; by 1874 much of the line was doubled. In 1910 five passenger trains were provided by the North Eastern Railway on weekdays, the journey taking 45 minutes and forty years later, under BR, the service was virtually the same. It was also utilised by seasonal and excursion through trains between the NE and the Lancashire resorts of Blackpool and Morecambe. In LNER days it was mainly worked by NER class J21 and J25 0-6-0s, replaced in the 1950s by BR standard class 2-6-0s and 2-6-2Ts. In January 1958 DMUs took over local services although steam was retained on summer through trains. The line closed to all traffic in 1962.

Signalboxes - Barnard Castle West, Tees Valley Junction, Quarry Junction, Hulands Quarry, Bowes, Spital, Stainmore Summit, Barras Summit, Bleath Gill, Barras, Belah, Kirkby Stephen East, Kirkby Stephen West, Musgrave, Warcop, Appleby, Appleby Midland Junction, Kirkby Thore, Cliburn Crossing, Clifton renamed 1927 Clifton Moor, Eden Valley Junction.

Stations - Barnard Castle 2nd (opened 1856, closed 1964), Lartington, Bowes, Barras, Kirkby Stephen renamed 1950 Kirkby Stephen East, Musgrave (closed 1952), Warcop, Appleby East, Kirkby Thore (closed 1953), Temple Sowerby (closed 1953), Cliburn (closed 1956), Clifton NE renamed 1927 Clifton Moor, Clifton LNW renamed 1887 Clifton & Lowther (closed 1938).

Relics of the line today - Stations - Barnard Castle site is now occupied by a car park for the Glaxo Welcome factory but Station Masters house survives; at Lartington the gothic station buildings and goods shed have been superbly restored; at Bowes the station building has fallen into disrepair and a farm shed is built over the line, the signalbox was stored in a barn; Barras is a residence; Kirkby Stephen East Station buildings and the overall roof are partly in position and in 1997 the station and 6.7 acres of land surrounding the former railway were acquired by Stainmore Properties Ltd, a holding company which backs the Eden Valley Railway Trustís aim of reopening the line. More recently volunteers have excavated one of the platform bays and relaid around 300yds of track which was used in March 2000 to steam their 0-6-0ST No. 2084. The group are working towards creating a heritage centre. Railtrack have donated a redundant water column from Wigton.

Musgrave residence; Warcop residence, signalbox being restored; Appleby East still there but used by scrap merchant; Kirkby Thore demolished by A66 road improvements although platform edge survives; Temple Sowerby residence; Cliburn well cared for residence with restored signal box; Clifton Moor Station building now two separate houses with road in between on the trackbed, the station house is in use, signal box survives. When open it had a large waiting room on the up platform for the private use of the Earl of Lonsdale. Although many bridges have gone including the magnificent Belah Viaduct still remaining are Redgategill, Merrygill and Podgill viaducts which are in excellent condition. One of my favourite remains is the Belah Signal Box which although in a very bad state of repair marks this desolate spot were the Belah viaduct used to be and is a reminder of this once great Railway line.

CLICK HERE to see an excellent article that appeared in a The Railway Magazine in the 1950's called the "Forgotten Junction" all about Clifton South Junction which was abandoned in 1874.

Take a trip on one of the first diesels over Stainmore Summit in this article from British Railways magazine in 1958 CLICK HERE


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