Weardale Railway - Bishop Auckland West and website

Discussion in 'Railtours & Preservation' started by yorkie, 25 Apr 2015.

  1. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I was looking at the heritage website (which based in the very early days of the web) for the heritage railway http://www.weardale-railway.org.uk/

    The timetable (which blind people would not be able to make sense of, as it's an image!) has no mention of Bishop Auckland West.

    Their PDF leaflet says this is a "planned station"

    However I have used that station in, if I recall correctly, 2013!

    Their news page is silent on the matter.

    So, what happened? and why don't they want us to know about it?

    Heritage features of the website include:

    • a hit counter
    • use of frames
    • mention of a "site map", which is "to follow"
    • use of images as titles and other content (with no text alternative)
    • references to screen resolutions
    Some younger members may not remember these as regular features of websites, but will no doubt have been shown examples in ICT lessons ;)

    How nostalgic! :lol:
     
  2. Harpers Tate

    Harpers Tate Member

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    My understanding:

    The track is owned by a big US firm (Iowa Pacific??) as is the Dartmoor Rly. In both locations, there WERE preservation-style services. On Weardale the intent was to operate a daily community railway using a class 141 set and they did indeed do this for a couple of years.

    Iowa Pacific decided that they could make money from "Polar Express" specials, but were losing money on the normal type of service and so these largely volunteer-led operations were forced to cease. Quite unlike true preservation schemes, these routes are supposedly run for profit.

    Thus, BA West is no longer being served.
     
  3. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    According to Wikipedia, it closed at the end of 2012 when regular services ceased. Therefore they don't want you to know about it as it is out of use. The only heritage operation is now between Stanhope and Wolsingham, which is a pity as I recall the journey from Bishop Auckland to Stanhope as being delightfully scenic.
     
  4. itsjamierawr

    itsjamierawr Member

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    Oh god as a Computer Science student that website just brings horrifying flashbacks from yesteryear, it's probably been done using point and click in FrontPage 2003... AND COMIC SANS oh it keeps getting worse
     
  5. Pinza-C55

    Pinza-C55 Member

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    It's a shame that they no longer run to Bishop Auckland but the only important thing is that the line is still open and Sustrans have been done out of a cycle path.
     
  6. STEVIEBOY1

    STEVIEBOY1 Established Member

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    I maybe travelling in the Weardale area later this year, July/Aug 2017 and was wondering too about Bishop Auckland West, according to the website the trains operate between Stanhope & Whitton Le Wear, but not B.A. West, although it is mentioned elsewhere, it seems a shame that the trains may not go there as it would be an easier connection to National Rail. Do freight trains and the odd special charter service still run through?
     
  7. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    I do not think Bishop Auckland West is in use . I think it was last used in 2012/13. if you are in the car Witton le Wear is an easy journey form Bishop Auckland. You might be best served driving up to Stanhope.
     
    Last edited: 24 Jul 2017
  8. EvanDMU

    EvanDMU Member

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    The definitive answer is that in 2017 a 'bubble car' DMU works the 11 miles between Stanhope and the new station at Witton-le-Wear on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Bishop Auckland West is currently mothballed but the line to the national network there is complete and is often used by trains bringing stock on and off the main line and up to Wolsingham depot. The only other timetabled public trains are the 'Polar Express' seasonal services which run in November and December between Stanhope and the site of Harperley station and are usually 11mk2s plus top and tail diesel locos.
    Bishop Auckland West was served by a commercial 'commuter' service for a couple of years but this could not compete with the bus and any future operations calling there will likely be aimed at tourists/walkers/cyclists.
     
  9. fireftrm

    fireftrm Member

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    The 'real' definitve answer is that the line between Witton le Wear and Bishop Auckland West is out of use, due to a serious landslip near Broken Bank. There have been very slow speed empty stock movements over the last couple of years, but the line is not safe for passenger carrying stock. There is no indication that DCR are intending a repair
     
  10. RichmondCommu

    RichmondCommu Established Member

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    When did the coal traffic along the line cease?
     
  11. EvanDMU

    EvanDMU Member

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    No Mr fire ftrm the definitive answer is the one I gave. Broken Banks first slipped in 1842 and has required regular attention ever since. Last time I drove a train over it there was a small army of chaps packing it up, which is done regularly. There has been a speed limit there for many years. BTW this operation would have nothing to do with DCR which is a freight operating company based in the Midlands. Weardale Railway is operated by Weardale Railway Community Interest Company. Recent movements on this so called disused section of line have included light locomotives, rail grinding trains, units and coaching stock.
    To answer the other enquiry the coal operation finished in 2012 if I remember correctly.
     
  12. fireftrm

    fireftrm Member

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    No Evan the dmu - the landslip is there and the reason for the section being disused for passenger traffic. As I clearly said very slow speed stock transfers have taken place, but nothing else and no freight, or through passenger traffic could occur. Also yes you are right Weardale Railway CIC is the legal owner, as an umbrella company with BARS and Durham CC as the owner/operators. Weardale Railways CIC state on their own website states
    "Our aims are to rectify the issues at Broken Banks near Bishop Auckland so that we can once again run through to this station, where our track connects to Network Rail infrastructure."
    I apologise for using DCR and should have saoid BARS and the CIC. For tour information DCR is based in Stanhope in the same portable style office block as BARS and the CIC.
     
  13. headshot119

    headshot119 Established Member

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    I'm most amused at you telling the poster above you where DCR is based, (assuming tour should have been your?). He's more than aware, and his answers are much more definitive than yours.
     
  14. Harpers Tate

    Harpers Tate Member

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    It certainly does contain the sentence quoted at http://www.weardale-railway.com/ - whether it's actually the true reason, or not.

    And I would certainly hope to see this connection restored; ditto the Northallerton connection at Wensleydale. And so on.
     
  15. fireftrm

    fireftrm Member

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    Oops yes tour should be your. Why is it amusing to tell someone where DCR is based, that they didn't know and, presumably, assumed that their base is where they mainly work from is hardly amusing. Is it? By the way DCR is based at Stanhope -
    Registered office address
    Stanhope Station, Stanhope, Bishop Auckland, County Durham, DL13 2YS
     
  16. fireftrm

    fireftrm Member

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    It very definitely is the true reason, living nearby and having seen the rather severe dip in the track from a train (which went to about 100m from the closure) I can assure you that it is very, very real. Roller coaster rather than railway would be an appropriate description.
     
  17. EvanDMU

    EvanDMU Member

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    Ah I see, I've obviously been getting my information from the wrong place!
    Mr Fire Ftrm lives nearby, saw Broken Banks once from the train and has looked things up on the internet and has thus become a definitive (if armchair) expert on the subject. He persists in claiming that the line is closed, even in his last post.
    On the other hand I work for the company and I have driven some of these non-existant trains on this section in recent months so I know it isn't closed. Yes, the line goes up and down a bit but that's what a lot of railway lines look like believe me!
    BTW and for your further education DCR works from Washwood Heath in Birmingham and that is where all the locos and offices are. Stanhope is the registered office, not the place where the business is conducted, as it is for all the BARS group companies.
     
  18. fireftrm

    fireftrm Member

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    It IS closed, but only in terms of to PASSENGER traffic and, as I said, there are stock movements over the land slip. BUT NO PASSENGER CARRYING TRAINS. I never once said that the line is closed. Read my posts. Up and down a bit? If the slip is your version of 'a lot of railway lines look like that' god help the railways concerned, unelss they are all freight only and very slow speed. I was quite amazed at the extent of the slip and that any stock movements took place at all, though I am more than aware that they have and do. On the 'where based' the registered office is the legal base of a company, though they may have an operations centre elsewhere, we are talking semantics here and both right in our own ways.
     
  19. EvanDMU

    EvanDMU Member

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    Well, Mr Fire, I can't see why you keep banging on about something you've no first hand knowledge of.
    My purpose in posting was to give definitive information from the actual source but if you want to contradict that from the comfort of your own internet-connected fireside then please carry on.
    I think we've established that the line between Witton and Bishop Auckland isn't closed, but that it is open for regular movements (including for passenger and freight stock).
    It is true that there have been no scheduled passenger trains since the end of the community service, and there won't be for the rest of 2017, as none are planned. I have no details for 2018 but will post them when I have at which point I am sure you will correct me if I have got something wrong!
     
  20. cuccir

    cuccir Established Member

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    This thread would be a lot easier to follow if both EvanDMU and fireftrm would do other people the courtesy of consistently using punctuation and paragraphs! :roll:
     
  21. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    When passenger services resume, I would like to take my bike from Bishop Auckland West to Stanhope, walk up the incline, then enjoy the entirely downhill route along the Waskerley Way. Last time I did this was several years ago now. Let's hope I can do that again in 2018!
     
  22. gimmea50anyday

    gimmea50anyday Established Member

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    Just a thought but if the line was closed how did they get the Intercity liveried mk2s normally used on polar express duties out of Wolsingham and onto the Severn valley for their diesel a9gala where they appeared behind 50031?

    By train of course. From Wolsingham behind 56302 which met 50007 at York to take forward to Kidderminster....
     
  23. fireftrm

    fireftrm Member

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    As said many a time the line is not closed, but is to passenger carrying stock.
     
  24. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    Someone will be pedantic about this, so I might as well be first. I think you mean passenger carrying stock that is carrying passengers. :)
     
  25. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    It is closed to stock carrying passengers not closed.
     
  26. xotGD

    xotGD Member

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    Just to lighten the mood on this thread, best to avoid he Beerex on the Weird-Ale Railway!
     
  27. STEVIEBOY1

    STEVIEBOY1 Established Member

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    I have just returned from my visit to the NorthEast. I was very impressed with the Weardale railway, we traveled on a single carriage DMU, it was in excellent condition, very clean and shiny. The scenery was very pleasant too.

    The staff were really smart too, in what appeared to be matching suits and ties. (Not sure if they had railway pullovers or not). They said that they were hoping to get back into their platform at Bishop Auckland for next year's services once the land slippy thing has been mended. They said that they are also hoping to extend the other end of the line from Stanhope to Eastgate.

    (I did notice at Bishop Auckland Mainline Station, that the connect to the Weardale was intact, but did not look to have been used for a while. I did go over that connection a few years ago on a mainline steam charter special from Newcastle upon Tyne.)

    We also had time to call into the Black Bull at Frosterley which is an excellent pub for food and drink, great staff and atmosphere, although do check website or call first for upto date opening times etc.
     
    Last edited: 9 Aug 2017

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