You should set your screen resolution to 1280x1024 in
order to see these images at their best. Broadband or extreme patience
All images (c) B. Attewell 2005.
The lines formed a simple cross
centred on Pontop Crossing. Each quadrant of the cross was filled by a
loop line. That to the south west from Boldon Colliery Junction to the
Brick Works crossed the river Don on a high timber viaduct and did, for
a brief period, constitute part of the east coast main line. The
construction of the line from Pelaw to Washington and the building of
the new main line through the Team Valley rendered this branch
redundant and it was dismantled in 1940 after the viaduct sustained
bomb damage. I remember there being sidings at this side of Boldon
station, a remnant of better times.
Other than the removal of that one loop, the map describes
situation at Boldon in the 50s and 60s, although I never saw a train
move along the loop to the south east of Pontop Crossing. Today there
is a new shorter connection in the north east corner, while the Tyne
Dock link is still in place to the north west, but the Tyne Dock -
Consett line is long gone.
The line from Gateshead to Monkwearmouth was completed in 1839, and
that line was called the Brandling Junction Railway. One of the
original station buildings still exists at Felling, just to the north
of the current station. Look out for the initials on the small stone
building. The Brandlings were land/coal owners in the area and you can
see their family tomb within St Mary's church at Heworth.
The line from Tyne dock to Stanhope was first opened for business in
1834, the Stanhope and Tyne Railway STR. This railway used locomotives
in the vicinity of Boldon from the beginning, but on the steeper graded
sections to the west there was a series of inclined planes operated by
stationary engines and rope haulage. In due course the steepest
sections were by passed and eventually the line was loco hauled through
to Consett, albeit using assisting or banking locos for a good
proportion of the trip.
Both the Brandling Junction and particularly the STR struggled
financially, and eventually the lines were purchased by the Hudson
empire, (MP for Sunderland and discredited "Railway King"). They
were later absorbed by the North Eastern Railway which later became a
part of the London and North Eastern Railway, followed by British
Railways and then the present mess we find ourselves in!
The station buildings at Boldon Colliery, a shadow of their former
The booking office windows are boarded up, while vandals have attacked
the roof of what was, I think, the toilet. I remember buying tickets
warmed by a coal fire not many years prior to this. The Metro station
which replaced this structure is called Brockley
Whins. When this photo was taken I seem to recall a sign
saying Boldon Colliery
for Brockley Whins, on the Sunderland bound platform. On the original
photo it is possible to make out quite a bit of detail of the man
walking along the track, wearing a traditional cloth cap.
Still very much lived in, the
station master's house, complete with garden and greenhouse. The
old main line used to pass in front of the house, with the Newcastle to
Sunderland line behind. By this time all signs of the old main line had
Boldon Colliery signal box
An ex North Eastern railway T2 0-8-0 locomotive of a type
introduced in 1913 (LNER/BR Q6) hauls a train of empty mineral hopper
Boldon Colliery station headed in the direction of Tyne Dock. A
member of the class survives in working order. Note
group of youthful admirers standing alongside the fence to the right of
Ex LNER K1 2-6-0 locomotive 62007 leaves Boldon pit yard
heading north towards Pontop Crossing. In the background is the winding
gear of Harton Colliery. Note the wooden shunter's pole lying across
the front framing of the loco. The letters SC on the smokebox door
indicates that the loco has been fitted with a Self Cleaning smokebox -
in essence it threw the smaller cinders out through the chimney! There
is an electricity generator to the left of the smokebox door, but, at
this stage of its career, I suspect that it didn't work!
Halina Paulette, llford FP3, 125th f8, 17-6-1967
The same locomotive, number 62007, heads a train of NCB Harton
mineral hoppers through Green Lane heading south towards Boldon. In my
experience it was normal for NCB locomotives to handle this traffic.
Dock loco shed was located off shot to the extreme left of the frame.
Paulette, llford FP3, 125th f8, 17-6-1967
Ex LNER 4-6-2 A3 class 4472 Flying Scotsman heads a special
train towards Newcastle and is about to encounter Pontop Crossing. The
bridge in the foreground carried the Tyne Dock to Consett line
over the river Don.
A few moments later and the train is on the crossing.
Note the spectator standing just in front of the leading driving wheel.
Note also that the windows of the signal box had been largely blocked
off, a sign of the times! At this time Flying Scotsman was equipped
with an additional tender which extended its range by
carrying more water.
One of my favourite shots. A care worn War Department (WD) 2-8-0
locomotive pulls away from Boldon Colliery station in the direction of
Newcastle. This type of loco was designed to be constructed using a
minimum of exotic materials during the 1940-45 war, and was a
simplified version of an LMS standard design. Expected to last the war
and then be retired, they continued to battle on until the mid to late
much to the dismay of the crews who generally detested them! WD class
locomotives served overseas as well as within the UK, and at least one
overseas example survived the scrap yard.
Halina Paulette, Ilford HP4, 125th f11, 28-1-1967
Another WD, No. 90417, heads in the opposite direction towards
Boldon. The only clean part of the machine is the section just below
the cab window where the fireman would rest his arm!
Halina Paulette, Ilford FP3, 125th f8, 4-3-1967
The pit head at Boldon. The lines in the foreground are a part
of the the Tyne Dock to Consett route. My friend's dad was one of the
winding engineers at the pit and we would occasionally visit him in the
immaculately maintained winding room. The pit was sunk in 1869 and was
closed in 1982. It was a lucky pit in that there were no major
incidents during its lifetime, although, inevitably enough, it claimed
the lives of a number of miners.
The kiln at Boldon Brickworks. Note the man climbing the ladder
towards the hopper near to the centre of the picture, while in the
distant background is Reyrolle's switch gear factory at Hebburn. As a
child I spent many a happy hour adjacent to the dangerously deep waters
of Boldon brick ponds, the "Brickies".
A very grainy depiction of an Ex NER P3 0-6-0 locomotive
its way towards Newcastle through Boldon station. Like their 0-8-0 NER
cousins, these simple but reliable and effective locos lasted
throughout the NER, LNER and BR steam eras (LNER/BR class J27). The
crews were paid a bonus
depending upon the amount of coal moved, so they were generally seen
and heard pounding along! One member of the class survives in
preservation. Note the NER slotted post lower quadrant signal that
remained at Boldon until all of the semaphore signals were replaced by
colour light signals.
The same location but a while later. The section of the Tyne Dock to
Consett line from Pontop Crossing to Washington was the first part of
the route to be closed. At that time the steel works at Consett
remained in production and the operation of the iron ore trains was
diverted through Boldon and Pelaw. I never did get a decent shot
of one of the magnificent 9F 2-10-0 steam locos in charge of one of
those trains, although I saw them many times, but they had been
replaced by these ugly Sulzer diesels by the time the working was
Another grimy WD 2-8-0 heads south past Boldon station while in the
background a diesel coupled to a "brake tender" slopes off towards
Newcastle. I seem to recall seeing South Shields Corporation trolley
buses parked over the bridge at Brockley Whins. Hearing the approach of
a locomotive, I once ran to the lineside at this point and was rewarded
by the sight of the beautiful ex LNER A3 pacific "Spearmint".
One of the most successful of the early mainline diesels was the
English Electric class 4, a handful of which are still creeping about
as I write this note as diesel class 40 (November 2005). Taken in the
same location as the WD
above, an EE4 heads a passenger train, possibly bound for Liverpool, in
the direction of Sunderland. I am told that the sign bearing the number
95 is a milepost, indicating the distance from an obscure location near
Ex NER 0-8-0 63436 trundles a mineral train south approaching Tile Shed
en route to Sunderland. The handrail is bent, the cylinder cover is
missing, but, 50+ years old the Q6 is still up to the job. My
grandfather once persuaded the signal man at Tile Shed to let us both
come up into his cabin, and I had a go at winding the crossing gates
open and operating signals. I remember that the levers were very stiff
for a young lad to move, and assistance was required.
Halina Paulette, Ilford FP3, 125th at f8, 14-1-1967
Another of my favourite images, WD 2-8-0 90348 approaching Tile Shed. A
gloomy picture that suits the subject, in my view. Note that this train
is longer than that hauled by the Q6 above. The Q6s were rated at power
classification 6 and the WDs as power class 8. Once, while still at
junior school, I had a footplate
ride on a WD, along the tracks adjacent to Tyne Dock loco shed - I
remember being in awe of the fire. I was also promised a
footplate ride up to Consett on a 9F, but, sadly, it never came to
Halina Paulette, Ilford FP3, 125th at f8, 31-12-1966
A unique photograph for me in the sense that it is in colour ( I could
not normally afford colour film in those days!) and because of the
location on the line between South Shields and Sunderland, approaching
Cleadon Lane Junction. By this time the passenger service had long gone
and not long after the photograph was taken the track was lifted. The
route is now a useful cycle track.
Halina Paulette, Kodachrome II, 19-6-1967
Taken not long before the end, the sun
sets behind the colliery!
While on the subject of coloured images, fellow "Boldon Lad" Graeme
Holland has taken a couple of my photos and hand (or I presume
Photoshop or similar) coloured them. I do like the result. Incredibly
enough I had not noticed the second figure walking down the road
Graeme has also set some of these photos
against a backing track of his own composition, you will find it here
If you interested in the history of
the North Eastern Railway you might want to download a free copy of Tomlinson's
Boldon appears briefly in the very interesting and well illustrated
"Consett to South Shields Via Beamish" by Roger R Darsley ISBN 978 1
906008 57 4 published by Middleton Press in 2009.
Boldon (indexed as Brockley Whins) also gets a mention within
"Forgotten Railways North East England" by K. Hoole ISBN 0 71535894 4
published by David and Charles 1973.
I learned the rudiments of photography when I went to senior school in
the age of 12 in 1962. One of the teachers ran a photographic society
and we had access to a dark room. Saving all of my pocket money enabled
me to buy my first proper camera which was a 35mm
Paulette (1966). Later, working part time as a barman at the British
Hebburn while still at school, I was able to trade
the Halina for an EXA 500 single lens reflex with a Zeiss Tessar lens
I think that all of the photographs seen here were taken with these
cameras, except for those of Boldon Pit and Brickworks which were taken
with a very secondhand (£25) Rolleicord. If only I had had the
Rollei just a few years earlier, the results from it were stunning in
comparison! My normal film stock was Ilford FP3 developed in ID11, and
later FP4 using dilute Microphen.
Since that time I have got through a couple of Pentax SLRs and more
recently a Fuji and a Canon digicam. My current pride and joy is a
Canon 5D DSLR.
Steam trains no longer run through
Boldon, but they do on the North Yorkshire Moors Line as is seen here
with K1 2-6-0 62005 at Moorgates. This is the same type of locomotive
as no. 62007 seen on earlier shots.
All images (c) Bryan Attewell. Feel free
download these photographs for personal, not for profit, use.
resolution images of these, and many other, photographs are available
for sale. To purchase photographs or publication rights, or to
discuss the affairs
of Boldon Railways, please contact Bryan Attewell
If you are interested in trains you might want to check out my other railway web sites.
Edit - I came across my old photographer's record book while rummaging
in the attic, and have now been able to provide details of the camera,
film and date for a number of these shots. 23-1-2011
A few paras on the history of the lines added 2-2-2012.