Sunday, 8 September 2019

Private stations

The Newcastle to Berwick Railway opened in 1847, but plans were being prepared from 1839. The proposed route crossed land owned by Earl Grey, who had been Prime Minister but was now retired. He and his son fought to protect their estates from the arrival of the railway.

Parliament was sympathetic to projects that could demonstrate public benefit, so the landowners' efforts did not succeed, and the planned route from Newcastle to Berwick now forms part of today's East Coast Main Line. However, the Howicks ended up with private stations: one at Little Mill to serve Howick Hall, and one to serve Fallodon Hall at Fallodon. Little Mill went on to become a public station by 1861, and was finally closed in 1965. Fallodon remained a private station until it was closed in1934.

There is more detail than most visitors will want on Fallodon <here> and on Little Mill <here>.

Today there is virtually no evidence that there was once a station at either of these locations. Nevertheless, I persuaded myself that "Private Stations between Alnmouth and Berwick" was a decent theme for a ride. I ended up covering 21 miles (which bumps my average ride up a bit). The route was quiet, pretty and within my capabilities. The weather was almost ideal. And as an added bonus some of the villages I passed through had put out coloured bicycles to encourage me along. I suspect they will be leaving them in place for tomorrow's Tour of Britain

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