The Railways- a Memory Shared

Another “memory” shared by the Leadgate Resident please do comment with you own memories or get in touch with your own memories of Leadgate and local area

It’s the late 60s and I’m living in Sherburn Terrace,Consett the terrace of houses opposite the ‘Horse’,at the start of the row was the coal yard with its office and weigh bridge,to the rear of the yard was a gantry where the shunter engine would push the coal Train into and then one of the workers would release a handle and it would shoot down the hopper into a pile below then the digger would move it into a larger stock pile .

On coming out of our house across the back yard and outside netty(the coldest place on earth in the winter)was the back cobbled lane as kids we had to be careful as not to dirty any of the neighbors washing as it was always hungout in the lane apart from when they were blasting at the works as the red dust went everywhere.

We would climb the high wall,sit on it as this was our view of the station yard and all the sidings,as kids it was so exciting watching the Big trains pull in and drop there loads then uncouple and go and pick  up a empty rack of coal wagons and take them to where ever to be refilled.

Then as I said earlier the shunter would take over moving the different stock wagons around the yard.

My dad(rip) worked for British railways based at Consett starting out as a wheel tapper then worked up to become a guard then in later years working in the station building(now a cafe) on a state of the art railway computer system called TOPS,this system controlled the routing of all rail movements in the top and bottom yard all the way to Tyne dock.

I still remember his uniform,black trousers, white shirt ,a BR tie and a cap with a orange BR logo badge on it.

He also had a BR issued lamp which had a dial on the top which you could set to either clear,red or green and a black leather satchel,this was for his paper work and no doubt his bait.

Dad always spoke fondly of the guys he worked with at Consett,afew names I can recall are a Mr Temperly, Mr Rowell,Mr Pat Rooney Snr  and two Leadgate chaps,Mr Jimmy McCabe and Mr Kevin Richardson (Rip to all of them).

Funny how things in life pan out,my granda on my dad’s side worked on the railways at Rowley St  and after his passing we donated a number of his note books and official books to Beamish Museum

Then my dad worked for them and when my brother left school,any guesses where he went ? and No I didn’t join the ‘railways’.

To the other side of the coal yard was a lane going under the bridge to the Washeries,not sure what happened there but I remember the land around it and the heaps always seemed to be on fire or smouldering and if if you went further along the lane there was a rail line does anyone know where it went to ?

This is just a short recollection of my memories of the local railway as a child,I know there’s a few gentlemen still living in Leadgate who worked for BR locally,let’s hope they read this and add their own memories.

An old gentleman once told me,next time your parents or grandparents are reminiscing don’t dismay what they are saying for one day, you’ll wish you’d listened.How true.

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