Information supplied by Keith Simpson, Chairperson of SLUG 5th July 2011
Extract from the forthcoming “Line Guide” for the Saltburn Branch from Northern Rail
Dinsdale station serves the now mainly residential
community of Middleton St George. Nearby is Middleton One Row, a picturesque
village overlooking the River Tees. There is a regular bus connection from the
station overbridge to Durham Tees Valley International Airport.Shortly after leaving Dinsdale, the line rejoins the
original 1825 route of the Stockton and Darlington Railway (S&DR), which it
follows until the approach to Thornaby.
Allens West station was built during World War II to
serve an adjacent military depot. Today the site provides warehousing and small
industrial uses. Much of the area around has been developed for housing. The
historic market town of Yarm is just over a mile away.
Eaglescliffe station is just a short walk from
Preston Hall Museum whose collections focus on domestic and working life over
the last 200 years. Centrepiece of the museum is a reconstructed Victorian
street and there are also several period rooms on display. Surrounding the
museum is Preston Park with open spaces, adventure playgrounds and walks down
to the River Tees.
Thornaby At the approach to Thornaby, the line leaves the original route of the
S&DR and crosses from the north to the south bank of the River Tees. The
station serves a former industrial area which has seen vast regeneration in
recent years. Nearby is the Teesside campus of Durham University and a
developed water sports area on the river just upstream from the Tees Barrage.
At the barrage is a white water canoe course that is being upgraded to serve as
a training area for the 2012 Olympic Games. Adjacent to the station is the
Victoria Bridge, built in 1887, which connects Thornaby to Stockton whilst
nearby is the newest bridge over the river, the “Infinity Bridge”, a footbridge
so named because; with its reflection in the water, it resembles the
mathematical symbol for infinity. The original Stockton terminus of the
S&DR was just to the north of the Victoria Bridge and it was near here that
coal was transferred to ships for coastal and export transport.
Middlesbrough station has seen much refurbishment in
recent years and now has new lifts, a refreshment room and new information
systems. It is well placed for the town centre, with its good range of shops
while the iconic Transporter Bridge, carrying cars and foot passengers over the
river in a suspended cradle, is nearby and can be seen from parts of the
station platforms. The town centre has a
number of Victorian buildings, most notably the Town Hall, while nearby is the
impressively modern Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA), opened in
January 2007. MIMA hosts temporary exhibitions of fine art and craft from 1900
to the present featuring work by internationally acclaimed artists and has
recently become a partner in Plus Tate, a major new national initiative for the
visual arts involving Tate and 18 of the UK’s most dynamic arts institutions.
Admission is free. Middlesbrough prides itself as “The gateway to Captain Cook
country”. The Captain Cook Birthplace Museum is in Stewart Park on the south
side of the town.
Redcar marks the point where the Saltburn line changes from following the River Tees to following the coast eastwards to
Saltburn. There is a fine beach that extends for around 7 miles from the mouth
of the river to Saltburn and the town centre is near to the mid point of this.
Redcar town centre, accessed from Redcar Central station, has a range of
shops and a selection of “Seaside amenities”. Redcar East station serves
a mainly residential area of the town, but nevertheless, still gives convenient
access to a less developed area of the beach that is backed by “The Stray”, an
area of grassland stretching all the way to Marske.
Longbeck and Marske stations both serve different
areas of Marske, a community with history dating back to the Doomsday Book.
Marske Hall, today a Leonard Cheshire home, dates from 1625 and was owned by
Sir James Pennyman who was defeated by the forces of Oliver Cromwell on Marske
beach in 1643. “Winkie’s Castle” is a small museum in a 17th century
cruck house on the High Street and the old churchyard of St Germain’s on the
cliff tops overlooking the North Sea contains the remains of Captain James
Cook’s father. It is a pleasant walk from here to Saltburn, either along the
cliffs or the beach.
Saltburn The purpose built seaside resort of Saltburn-by-the-Sea owes its existence to the
expanding railway system in the mid 1800′s, before the arrival of the
railway in 1861, Saltburn consisted of the few cottages that can be seen on the
sea shore near the Ship Inn near the cliffs at the eastern end of the town. Henry Pease a member of the family involved
in the Stockton to Darlington Railway Company formed the Saltburn Improvement
Company to provide the infrastructure for a new town, selling plots of land to
developers within the plan drawn up by the Improvement Company. Among the
stipulations made were that buildings were to be faced with Pease white
firebricks from a brickworks in County Durham. A recession in the late 1870′s
saw the demise of the Improvement Company, who were succeeded by the owner of
the Middlesbrough Estate who relaxed the requirements of the white brick
facings. A pier and vertical hoist were built to add to the natural assets of the
locality. The vertical hoist was replaced by a water balanced cliff railway
still operating and the oldest working system in the country. The original pier
1500ft long has been reduced to 680ft, refurbished in 2000 it the last existing
pier on the Yorkshire Coast. The modern town is still well served by the railway, is very attractive with many floral
displays during the summer months, many small shops and a large variety of food
catering establishments serve the needs of the local community and visitors. For
walkers, the Cleveland Way long distance footpath passes through Saltburn where
its nature changes – from the moorland and rural route it has followed from its
starting point at Helmsley, to a coastal route as it goes on to Whitby, Scarborough & Filey.