June 22, 2024 Middleton Plus Development Trust

The Railway

Originally planned to run all the way to Alston, the line from Barnard Castle to Middleton-in-Teesdale opened in 1868, coming over the Tees at Barnard Castle and stopping at Cotherstone, Romaldkirk and Mickleton.  The line included two large viaducts, crossing the River Balder and the River Lune.  It was operated by the North Eastern Railway and gave connections to Darlington, Bishop Auckland and Penrith.

The Lunedale Viaduct

Much of the traffic was stone from the quarries near Middleton and Mickleton. and some ore and livestock carriage.  A narrow-gauge line linked to the quarries own track. A private siding served the London Lead Company timber works, where props were made for the mines.  In 1894 the local co-operative society opened a siding for its coal and warehouse supplies. A 4-mile narrow gauge railway opened in 1914 to carry workers to the Grassholme reservoir.  In 1922 five trains a day ran each way during the week.  It took just 18 minutes to travel from Middleton to Barnard Castle and 53 minutes to Darlington.

Steam trains were replaced by diesel in 1957.  Five years later the line was one of the victims of the government’s cutback.  The last passengers rode the train on 30 November 1964 and freight stopped in 1965.  The remains of the station house are in Dale View Caravan Park, though badly damaged by fire in 2017.  However, the track provides a great walk from Cotherstone to Middleton, in three easy sections.  It is fenced, making it ideal for dog walkers.

Nick Catford’s excellent Disused Stations Website contains a wealth of knowldege about the former Middleton-in-Teesdale Railway line including this remarkable video showing a journey on the line in 1963