Monday, 12 July 2021

Station At Sunderland : It Isn't A Wonderland (1)

 Once There Were Three

Fawcett Street station was (roughly) on the site of the present rather swish Park Lane Bus Station and was the terminus of the so-called "Leamside Line" from Durham. Now, there is a gateway and a blue plaque.
Trains from Hartlepool ran into a station near the docks on a line most recently used for freight/
Again, a blue plaque marks the spot (roughly) of a station called, variously, Moor, Town Moor and Hendon.
This was the first line to reach Sunderland.

Coming in from the north, the line from Newcastle and Gateshead had its terminus at Monkwearmouth, north of the river Wear.
Of the three, this lasted the longest, until 1967 in fact. The arrival of the Tyne and Wear Metro led to its replacement by St Peters station a little further south. The former station still sits forlornly and unused!
The grand station building became a railway museum ...
... which is now closed and replaced by a museum dedicated to, of all things, football.
This may be no great loss to railway heritage as the general view on Trip Advisor is summed up by the opinion, "this is the most disappointing railway museum I have every visited".

In 1879 the three separate lines were brought together with a bridge across the river ...
... to a brand new Sunderland Central station.

The rail bridge is still there, but the road bridge behind has been replaced with something a bit bigger,
This little map extract shows the three original station sites and the 1879 new-build at Central
So here, courtesy of Google Earth, is Monkwearmouth station (top, closed), the shiny new St Peters station (Metro only) ...
... and, just off the picture at the bottom, the two bridges.

South of Sunderland Station we see the split of the lines.
Curving round to the west is the former Leamside line, now a Metro route to South Hylton; and running almost due south is the Network Rail Line to Hartlepool and Middlesbrough.

Between the river and the above junction is Sunderland station (formerly "Central").
Station, what station?

We will find out tomorrow!

Three More Railways At Barry - No 1
To the west of Barry Pier station we can see the old lifeboat building and a breakwater with a lighthouse at the end. There is a crane at work near the lighthouse; but how did it get there? Maybe an aerial view today will furnish a clue.
Is that what you think it is running along the breakwater? 
It is, indeed, a railway track, somewhat disused, but with GWR chairs.
"Ah", you may cry, "a siding off the former pier branch."

But no. Look to the left of this map of the station.
The line crosses the station tracks (but how?) and then makes its way along the breakwater. To get there it needed a tunnel under Redbrink Point ...
... the line having curved round from the south side of No 1 Dock, now completely redeveloped.

Vic Mitchell's book ...
... has an intriguing picture of the shunting loco with a goods wagon crossing the pier station tracks with an even more intriguing note. "The rails were laid on top of the pier track "when required".
But when were they required? What was in that truck? Was this odd little siding in place before the pier station was built? What was it used for?

fbb has found no further information. Maybe a blog reader can help? Messaged to:-

 Next Sunderland blog : Tuesday 13th July 


  1. Andrew Kleissner12 July 2021 at 11:35

    Perhaps the "track laid over a track" is a Welsh thing? Here is Port Penrhyn, possibly in the 1950s - though the standard-gauge tracks don't look as if they're really being used: