The rise and fall of a vanished train station in Newcastle’s West End

There was a station at Scotswood in the West End of Newcastle for almost 130 years.

Opened in 1839 as a stop on the new Newcastle and Carlisle Railway, one of its first newspaper mentions came two years later in a rather bizarre Newcastle Journal short story.

The story simply read: “A cauliflower was recently taken out of the garden at Scotswood Station, measuring 13 feet two inches in circumference and weighing 211 pounds 10 ounces.”

READ MORE: Newcastle in 1977 – 10 photographs

In 1845, meanwhile, in more serious news, the Newcastle Courant reported how John Blagburn was found guilty of assault at the station on George Pattison and fined one shilling, plus 13 shillings and 10d of costs.

And in 1879, the station was hit by a serious fire. “The flames spread rapidly,” it was reported, “and the entire structure was destroyed in a short time.” Fortunately, the station was rebuilt and operational again within a year.

Scotswood station was just south of the junction of Whitfield Road and Roberts Street.

Although it had platforms serving different lines, it was considered a single station. The southern platform served the Newcastle-Carlisle line. The north platform was on the North Wylam road.

During its first decades, the station was occupied by passengers, many of whom were employed in the area’s shipyards and factories. In 1895, for example, just under 150,000 banknotes were issued.

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But, entering the 20th century, trains here – as elsewhere – lost passengers to buses over time. In 1951 just over 17,000 tickets were sold and services gradually became less frequent on both routes.

Then, in 1963, the Beeching Report aimed to radically reorganize the national railways which were losing £140 million a year.

Derelict land at the old Scotswood station, Newcastle West End, 1969
Derelict land at the old Scotswood station, Newcastle West End, 1969

Over the next 10 years, a third of the country’s 7,000 train stations were closed and 8,000 miles of track were ripped out.

The report recommended the closure of 13 stations between Newcastle and Carlisle, including Scotswood.

The station was closed in May 1967 and the station buildings had been demolished by the early 1970s.

Since then, the subject of new rail or tube services through Newcastle’s West End has come up from time to time.

In 2019, for example, ChronicleLive reported on plans “which could include a tram-style system operating at street level along West Road or a rail service from Newcastle Central Station adjacent to Scotswood Road”.

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