Friday 1 July 2011

Ryhope’s Two Railway Stations (NZ414527)

Few settlements the size of Ryhope can claim to have had two railway stations – and surely no other place in the country can have had two within a few dozen yards of each other, both operating at the same time!

This curious state of affairs came about because of the number of competing railway companies in the region during the early years of the railways. What was originally known as Ryhope Railway Station was opened in 1854 as part of the Londonderry, Seaham and Sunderland Railway system, built by local notable, Lord Londonderry, to help ship his coal (and a few passengers) to the coast and Sunderland. Within a year, though, a second line and station graced the still modest village as a competing company spread its wings. The two stopping points became known as East and West Stations, respectively, and operated quite independently of one another, yards apart. The course of the two tracks can still be clearly made out on the modern-day map.

The ludicrous state of affairs didn’t last, with the stations’ amalgamation in 1900. The western track (Londonderry’s old line), which once went all the way to Durham City, is now disused (being finally closed to passengers in 1952); whilst the eastern track still carries folk betwixt Sunderland and Middlesbrough – though no one has disembarked at Ryhope since 1960 when the old East Station complex closed.

There’s a neat track plan of Ryhope here, which may explain things a little better.


  1. I think there may be several rivals to Ryhope's two stations. Locally, there were two stations at Tynemouth across the road from each other (Blyth and Tyne and Newcastle and North Shields) and a third one just round the corner.

    Crianlarich in Scotland (probably smaller than Ryhope) had two stations on separate lines for more than 60 years.

  2. Wow - what an interesting, and widespread, waste of resources! Thanks for enlightening me.

  3. Hi there I followed your link from my Flickr track plan and need to mention
    1) The station on the Murton line was opened in 1836 by the Durham & Sunderland Railway and despite what the plan says was only ever known as "RYHOPE" station.
    2) Ryhope East station was the second of the two to open in 1900 and was designed by the Marquis of Londonderry's Estate Clerk Of Works Mr Brewer.
    3) The stations were only ever "amalgamated" in the sense that they came under the same stationmaster.