Stockton North Shore Branch

I took these photos of Stockton North Shore Branch in August 1968. North Shore Goods Station had closed in January 1968, having been built as the Stockton & Hartlepool Railway’s station in 1841. Passenger trains were diverted to the present station, which the Leeds Northern Railway opened in 1852, in 1853.

Originally Norton Road was crossed on the level and trains ran into the station on the left of the view of the office block. By 1968 a concrete bridge took the railway across the road. I also include the view from that bridge, looking north, to Clarence Coal Depots, Stockton Gas Works, and the railway to North Shore signal box on the main line. You can see Stockton North Marshalling Yard in the distance. Clarence Coal Depots were on or near the site of the Clarence Railway’s station, which had opened for passengers in 1835, and was replaced by the later stations.

Photographs and details courtesy of Brian Johnson

15 thoughts on “Stockton North Shore Branch

  1. You say that a concrete bridge took the railway across Norton Road. Was that the bridge near Tilery, and also St Mary’s Church and Primary School? I do remember such a bridge, but if someone can confirm this, that would be great.


  2. The picture, which Brian has produced is like he said of the Main Building of the Goods Shed, but was in fact the first actual railway station within the Town of Stockton on Tees. The Town also had an Engine Works, on the same branch line behind Stockton Engine Shed, 51E, which was associated with the Stockton and Darlington Railway, later it became, ‘Hills’ famous for flush doors, but during the Second World War, the same site helped to produce the famous WW2, RAF, fighter bomber the Mosquito, air frames.


  3. Interesting shots of this branch, which explains why the old alignment just north of Stockton was on the straight, i.e. towards the Tees. Around this time when working in the BR Area Engineer’s office I was visiting this same area (the large photo) to do a “chain” (manual) track survey. Cannot recall ever being shown the Stockton “old” station.

    However, early on Saturday 12/11/1966 I traversed part of this short branch with my father – a BR “Out-of-Gauge Loads” inspector – on the footplate of Q6 0-8-0 No. 63407 which I tape-recorded much of the way from West Hartlepool South Works, with a 12-feet wide train of 350 tons of steel carried on “bogie bolster” wagons for The Malleable works. (N.B. The adjoining track had to be blocked by the signalmen en route to all trains, to ensure safe passage.) This trip was actually official – dad had managed to arrange for a footplate pass for me. Driver Burton and his fireman of West Hartlepool loco shed fairly blasted their Q6, (she was actually working “tender-first”), through Billingham. At Norton South signal box a special whistle code had to be sounded to advise the signalman that the North Shore branch was required – rather the main line through Stockton station. I still have these highly atmospheric recordings.

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    • once the signalman at Norton South received the whistle code he rang the routing bell to North Shore 1 beat Malleable/north shore branch, 2 Newport/South 2.1 Goods line, 4 Receptions in North Stockton yard great photos Colin the out of gauge bell signals were opposite line blocked 1 2 6 sent throughout length of journey then actual train signalled as 2 6 3 bell signal 2 6 1 meant that opposite line need not be blocked and two trains similarly signalled could pass each other and 2 6 2 could pass a ordinary running train with out the need for the opposite line to be blocked thanks for jogging my memory Colin


    • I remember Bob Thompson, the Loads Inspector with the big moustache. I was involved in operations on Teesside in 1964-5 and 1968-72. My impression of Hartlepool crews was that they thrashed 37s as much as Q6s. A derailment could have 21T hoppers on top of each other, but the driver’s report would say travelling at walking pace. Dangerous to be on a pavement in Hartlepool! In 1968-9 you might have seen me pushing the level crossing gates at Portrack: the regular chargeman suffered health issues and declined overtime, so, as his boss, I sometimes had to step in.


      • Wow Brian! One of my pop’s less respectful nicknames was “old raggy-tash”. However, he certainly stood no nonsense from ANYONE, even when unofficially taking me around the Northeast with him as a youngster. It was obvious during my early BR career on Teesside (1966-71) that Bob was very well respected. Years after dad retired, I met one of his former managers who asserted “Aye… Bob got us out of trouble on many-an-occasion.” I still have one of dad’s “scrambled-egg” caps (Yardmaster perhaps?) in my collection, as well as his trusty “ACME Thunderer” whistle and carriage-key. (By the way, those Class 37s seemed to derail in Cliff House South sidings two or three times weekly. Certainly more than the Q6s. Any road, the Hartlepool gang reported frequently to our Thornaby office as packing the track afterwards…)


    • The spur to the shed left the branch opposite Railway Street (where the sidings into Hills also began) dropping down the bank quite steeply. The shed was near the site of the first engine shed and Thomas Hackworth’s (Timothy’s brother) engine works which was the progenitor of Blaire’s which became Hill’s.


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