OUR thoughts are never far from secret tunnels.

“Have you heard of this short one before?” asks Roy Lambeth, chairman of the splendid Durham Mining Museum which regularly yields nuggets of information for the pages of Weekend Memories in The Northern Echo.

“From the cellar of the stationmaster’s bungalow at Sedgefield station, a tunnel runs under the road to the booking office in the station, built so the station master could access the station without having to cross the main road and to protect him in poor weather,” says Roy.

This is extraordinary. In our picture above - courtesy in these lockdown times of Google StreetView - the stationmaster’s house is on the right and the tunnel ran beneath the road to the station, now painted magnolia, on the left.

Sedgefield station was about three miles west of the town on a line which opened in 1833 connecting Stockton with Ferryhill Station where it joined the East Coast Main Line. This line still operates, freight only.

Sedgefield station is next to the 1833 bridge which took the main road from Bishop Auckland over the railway line. It looks as if bridge, station, stationmaster’s house and tunnel were all built as one project.

The station opened to goods on January 16, 1834, but it didn’t accommodate passengers until July 11, 1935. It closed completely in 1952, and now a transport company occupies its goods yard. The main road, the A689, has been straightened away from the station which now sits in a forgotten meander. The tunnel was long ago bricked up at both ends unfortunately.