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  Barnard Castle Old Station

Barnard Castle's first railway station survives as an elegant private dwelling. Opened in July 1856, it was the terminus of a railway from Darlington engineered by Thomas Bouch, later to achieve both fame and notoriety as the designer of the ill-fated Tay Bridge at Dundee. The designs for the railway's buildings were supplied by Bouch but prepared by his resident engineer William Bryson, born in London about 1827, who 'happened to be bred an architect.'

The terminus was fronted by an elegant neo-classical office range, well-built in the fine local sandstone. Beyond the tracks was a goods shed, similar in appearance to those at wayside stations such as Winston, while a trainshed roof spanned the gap between the two buildings. The extension of the line to Kirkby Stephen and Tebay branched off a little way short of the terminus. It opened to mineral traffic in March 1861 and passengers in August, whereupon through trains began using a new Barnard Castle station. However, terminating services from Darlington continued to use the old station until April 1862.

After this the old station was given over to the goods department, the trainshed roof being removed and the front range split into a goods office and a cottage for the rent collector. One part of the ensemble was dismantled and re-erected as a feature in the Valley Gardens at Saltburn. This is the station portico, whose paired columns and bold pediment don't quite look right for the front of the office range, suggesting that perhaps it stood at the head of the trainshed instead.

The first Barnard Castle station, seen in about 1970. It is a satisfyingly robust design with the windows framed by these bold aedicules resting on chunky cills borne by shapely console brackets.


left: the portico in its present home at Saltburn    right: the goods shed as it appeared in the late nineteen-sixties, having been extended by the NER to form this rather picturesque affair. It was demolished around 1972-3.





© W. Fawcett, 2011