Witton Park

(originally known as Etherley)

The railway line between Bishop Auckland and Crook opened on 8th November 1843. Its purpose was to make the transportation of coal from the area quicker and easier. The destination was the Port of Stockton on Tees for shipping to other parts of the country.

With the growing desire to move the local populace, stations on the line were built. Etherley station took its name from the village approximately one mile away.

The station was one of the single sided variety i.e. trains travelling in both directions stopped at the same platform. Similar arrangements existed at Crook and Bishop Auckland (No.1 Platform). The date of building and opening is not known although the builders were Robert Thompson & Son.

It was closed to passenger traffic on 8th March 1965 when the service between Bishop Auckland and Crook was withdrawn. A goods facility survived a further eight months.

There were many adjacent lines serving the Vulcan Iron Works site of Bolcow Vaughan and various collieries. A signal box at the west end of the station controlled them. Beyond the station there were double line sections of track to Bishop Auckland West and Wear Valley Junction. The box closed in April 1970.

Following a campaign by the local residents of Witton Park and The Friends of the Heritage Line, the station was re-named and re-opened on 25th August 1991. It served the Summer Sunday passenger service, which ran to Stanhope an extension of the Darlington, Bishop Auckland service. This service operated between 1988 and 1992 and was very popular with people wishing to have a day out in Weardale.

Today, the station is a private residence.

Etherley Station.

Empty cement train crosses Witton Park viaduct, 1989.

'Farewell to Weardale' special leaves Witton Park, 1993.


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