The Anonymous Widower

Darlington Station – 28th October 2020

I went to Teesside to have a look round yesterday.

These are my thoughts on Darlington station.

Platform 1 And Platform 4

These pictures show the two main platforms at Darlington station.

Note.

  1. They are affectively a very wide island platform.
  2. Platform 1 handles all trains going South and East to Middlesbrough and Saltburn.
  3. Platform 4 handles all trains going North and West to Bishop Auckland.
  4. The platforms are well over 200 metres long.
  5. Both the main platforms have a second track, between the current track and the walls of the station.
  6. Both main platforms have a large clock.
  7. Platform 1 has some innovative seating.
  8. Uniquely, there is a London Rail Map on the London-bound Platform 1. Every London-bound platform needs a copy of this map, but they are very rare.

They appear to handle all the current services easily.

There is certainly a lot of space to improve the station.

Station Structure

The station stricture is probably best described as grand, stylish and Victorian and it appears to be in good condition.

  • The tracks through the station are enclosed in two large brick walls.
  • A roof of the period, is supported on the walls and a number of perhaps forty cash-iron columns.

These pictures give a flavour of the station.

There must be few better station structures than Darlington in the UK and as it is Listed Grade II*. I would expect this is recognised by English Heritage.

The Southern Bay Platforms

There are two bay platforms at the Southern end of the station.

There were bay platforms at the Northern end, but these have now been removed.

I wonder, if these two bay platforms could be invaluable in the expansion of services both on the Tees Valley Line and generally in the area.

Current plans envisage the following.

  • Four trains per hour (tph) between Saltburn and Darlington.
  • Two tph between Darlington and Bishop Auckland.

One obvious way to achieve this objective would be to do the following.

  • Run two tph between Saltburn and Bishop Auckland. These trains would run as now with Saltburn services using Platform 1 and Bishop Auckland services using Platform 4 at Darlington station.
  • Run two tph between Saltburn and Darlington. These trains would use Platform 2 at Darlington station.

The advantages of this are.

  • To get to Middlesbrough or Saltburn, you would go to the island Platform 1/2, as you do now.
  • To get to Bishop Auckland, you would go to Platform 4, as you do now.
  • If battery trains were to be used the bay platforms would be ideal for a Vivarail Fast Charge system

There would probably need to be some changes to the tracks serving Platform 1 and 2.

Other possibilities might include.

  • Darlington might also be a useful terminal for a service to Whitby via Middlesbrough.
  • Using the station as a Northern terminus for an Express Parcels Service from London.

Lengthened platforms able to take a five-car Class 802 train, could be useful for service recovery.

The Western Pedestrian Entrance To The Station

Darlington Town Centre lies to the West of the station and these pictures show what probably was a very grand entrance to the station connected to it by a subway.

This Google Map shows the size of the entrance.

It is one of those buildings that would be described by a certain breed of estate agent, as having development potential.

  • There are no lifts to the subway.
  • It could be turned into a retail experience.
  • Does the clock tell the right time?
  • Buses were signposted in this direction, but there appeared to be little information.

Surely, it could be turned into an asset to both the railway and the town.

The Southern Approaches To The Station

These pictures show the Southern approach to the station.

The Tees Valley Line to and from Middlesbrough and Saltburn joins to the South of the station and trains going to Bishop Auckland have to cross over the two tracks of the East Coast Main Line.

This Google Map shows the track layout just to the South of the station.

Note.

  1. The Southern ends of the platforms can just be seen at the top of the map.
  2. Platforms are numbered 1 to 4 from West to East.
  3. The two avoiding lines going past the East side of the station.
  4. The yellow train is one of Network Rail’s Mobile Maintenance Trains.

The Mobile Maintenance Train was parked in the same place yesterday, as this picture shows.

The second Google Map shows Darlington South Junction, where the Tees Valley Line from Middlesbrough joins the East Coast Main Line.

These two maps indicate the problem of train operation at Darlington.

A train between Bishop Auckland in the West and Middlesbrough and Saltburn in the East, can sneak down the Southbound East Coast Main Line and take the Tees Valley Line to continue on its way.

But a train going the other way, needs to cross both tracks of the East Coast Main Line on the flat, which means precision working by drivers and signallers, to avoid causing delays to both main line and local trains.

I suspect all the following are true.

  • The number of London and Scotland expresses will increase.
  • London and Scotland expresses will be running faster.
  • The number of freight services on the route will increase.
  • The number of services between Bishop Auckland and Saltburn will increase from the current hourly only service.
  • High Speed Two will eventually start to run services between London and Birmingham, and at least as far North as Newcastle

All will make the need for improvements South, and probably North, of Darlington station increasingly important.

Could it be that the simplest solution would be to create a dive-under?

  • It would only need to be single-track.
  • It could probably be built without affecting current services, as was the Acton dive-under.
  • There would appear to be plenty of space.

It would only need to allow trains from the Eastern branch of the Tees Valley Line to access Platform 4 at Darlington station.

High Speed Two Is Coming

High Speed Two is coming to Darlington and I wrote about that in £100m Station Revamp Could Double Local Train Services.

This was my conclusion about what will happen to services at Darlington in that post.

I think that this will happen.

  • The Tees Valley Line trains will be greatly improved by this project.
  • Trains will generally run at up to 140 mph on the East Coast Main Line, under full digital control, like a slower High Speed Two.
  • There will be two high speed platforms to the East of the current station, where most if not all of the High Speed Two, LNER and other fast services will stop.
  • There could be up to 15 tph on the high speed lines.

With full step-free access between the high speed and the local platforms in the current station, this will be a great improvement.

So what will the step-free access be like?

The young assistant in WH Smith told me that a hole will be made in the wall on the East side of the current Platform 1.

It does seem that a new bridge could reach over all the platforms with an entrance for the Town Centre in a refurbished Western entrance.

Passengers would arrive by high speed train every few minutes from the South, Newcastle or Scotland.

  • Those for the Town Centre would walk across the bridge and exit the station in a refurbished Western entrance.
  • Those needing onward local train travel would descend into the current station to catch another frequent train.
  • Hopefully, there would be space somewhere for a bus station.

It would be a real gateway station for Darlington.

 

 

October 29, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

A Map, An M & S, But No Clock At Manchester Victoria Station

Manchester Victoria station has improved recently, with a map and an M & S Simply Food.

But it doesn’t have a proper clock.

June 3, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

New Lifts At Newbury Park Station

Newbury Park station now has lifts.

It also looks like the station has had a bit of upsprucing, as well!

The two clocks looked superb, alongside what is a top quality lift installation.

Two mothers with babies in prams were especially pleased, as neither knew that the station now had lifts, as they didn’t live in the area.

Transport for London are putting in several step-free installations at the outer reaches of the Central Line and like a thousand American lawyers at the bottom of the sea, it’s a good start!

December 8, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Exploring The Historic Centre Of Las Palmas

I took a 30 bus from the port to the bus station at San Telmo and walked to the cathedral and back.

There is a lot to see as the pictures show.

November 7, 2016 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Krakow – A City Of Maps, Clocks, Trams And Gluten Free Food

Krakow is well-known for its buildings, but I found some other things equally fascinating in a delightful city.

All of the maps, clocks, trams and excellent gluten-free food, made the city a real joy to explore and I would recommend the city to anybody.

To see all the posts for my Home Run From Krakow click here.

 

June 26, 2015 Posted by | Food, News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clocks In Stereo

I took this picture early one morning.

Clocks In Stereo

Clocks In Stereo

They do seem pretty much in agreement!

April 13, 2015 Posted by | World | | Leave a comment

Should Every Train Have A Clock?

Every London bus shows a clock on the stop display and because of this, I rarely wear a watch these days.

Some trains now show a clock on their destination displays too!

I hope this is going to be universal.

January 16, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

A Heritage Station With Four Clocks

After writing my piece about the Northern Line Extension, I went to have a look at Kennington station.

It is a Grade II Listed building, but to me one of its best features is the four clocks.

The layout is unusual in that the two Southbound platforms are underneath the two Northbound ones. But both pairs of platforms have level access between the platforms. So if you came up from Morden and wanted to go to say Tottenham Court Road, you’d just walk across to the Charing Cross branch, if you were on a train going via Bank.

When the Northern Line Extension opens, this will probably mean that there is cross-platform access from the extension to the Bank branch.

It would certainly seem that when the station was substantially rebuilt in 1926, that whoever redesigned the station had the foresight (luck?) to design a station that could be easily linked to a branch to Battersea and Clapham Junction.

November 16, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Which Idiot Obscured The Clock?

I was in St. Pancras recently and someone has put pointless stained glass in front of the clock.

Which Idiot Obscured The Clock?

Which Idiot Obscured The Clock?

I suppose it’s art, but for those of us who don’t wear watches it’s a big annoyance.

July 24, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Some More Self Winding Clocks

I first found two of these at Tooting Bec some years ago.

Golders Green station has a pair, which appear to be in good condition.

I wonder how many are still installed and in full working order. According to this section in the Wikipedia article on the Self Winding Clock Company, there were originally 600 and installation started in the 1900s.

Long may they continue to give passengers the time!

June 11, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments