BISHOP AUCKLAND station is today celebrating its 175th anniversary with a little festival from 10am to 3pm of live music, stalls, crafts and vintage bus rides. Here’s a brief timeline of what is being commemorated:

1842, Apr 19

Having dug a way under Shildon, the Stockton & Darlington Railway belatedly arrived at Bishop Auckland, and established a temporary station at South Church. Horsedrawn coaches took passengers into town.

1843, Jan 30

Local builder H Dowson managed to get a bridge over the River Gaunless, and its boggy banks, so that the railway line could run over the river, over the main road (now the A689) which connected South Church and Bishop, and into the station which – 150 years ago perhaps to this very day – S&DR engineer Thomas Storey was building.

1843, Nov 8

It took much of 1843 for the railway authorities to be convinced of the safety of Mr Dowson’s bridge and so the station didn’t open to passengers until the end of the year. There were still issues, though: the level crossing over the main road was prone to being obscured by mist rising from the Gaunless. Blinded engine drivers smashed through the gates and reputedly killed pedestrians, so the road was tunnelled underneath the railway. In 1847, the journey to Darlington took 30 minutes.

1857, Apr 1

The North Eastern Railway connected Bishop Auckland with Durham City via the stunning Newton Cap viaduct, and it temporarily opened its own station in Tenters Street.

1857, Dec

The NER joined forces with the S&DR and rebuilt the Newgate Street station with a large two storey stationmaster’s house. By 1864, the station had evolved into a rare triangular shape with its three platforms despatching trains to all four points of the compass: north to Durham, north-west to Crook and Weardale, south-west to Barnard Castle and Tebay, south-east to Shildon and Darlington, and east to Spennymoor. Bishop was the centre of the railway world.


The station reached its fullest extent: triangular-shaped with four platforms. Platform 1: Crook and Wearhead; Darlington. Platforms 2&3: Barnard Castle and Durham; Platform 4: freight and parcels (including newspapers and racing pigeons).


The Beeching Axe chopped off all of Bishop Auckland's limbs except for its connection to Shildon and Darlington, with cement trains running up to Eastgate, in Weardale.

1986, June 6

The existing single story station opened on the site of the Crook platform on the southern side of the triangle. The remaining sides and the goods yard are now beneath the Morrisons supermarket.