Thorpe Thewles Railway Viaduct

(Photograph courtesy of Mr. John Hall)

The above photograph shows a very rural harvest scene on Middlefield Farm between the World Wars. Thorpe Thewles once famous 20 arch railway viaduct acting as the back drop. 

Construction work commenced on the viaduct in 1877. The massive 20 arch viaduct was constructed of brick and topped with stone dressed parapets. This massive feet of civil engineering was built to carry the Castle Eden branch of the North East Railway over the Thorpe Beck Valley to the south-east of Thorpe Thewles. The line opened to traffic in 1882. The branch line itself was an important part of the railway network, taking pressure off the heavily used routes around the Stockton area. There was never a great potential for passenger revenue, as the communities served were quite small. Around the turn of the nineteenth century Thorpe Thewles itself only had a population of around 300. Nevertheless, in the 1930's, the branch was provided with 5 trains a day in each direction between Stockton and Wellfield.

 The bulk of traffic was coal, together with materials for the regional industries especially shipbuilding. The line connected Teesside with Sunderland and Tyneside. Hay, livestock and clover were the usual goods cargo handled by the station, and there were coal drops to serve the surrounding community.

 Thorpe Thewles station closed to passengers on 2nd November 1931, and closed for goods traffic on 2nd. April 1951. The line continued to be used for through traffic until 1968. The viaduct was finally demolished in 1979. On the day of its destruction crowds from across the area travelled out to Thorpe Thewles to watch the arches be simultaneously detonated. Much of the valuable dressed stone from its parapets having already been reclaimed before hand. 

(Photograph courtesy of Mrs. P. Weiss)

The above photograph shows one of the embankment ends of Thorpe Viaduct with some of the characteristic dressed stone parapet blocks awaiting reclamation after the demolition of the arches. One of these salvaged blocks was erected by Grindon Parish Council at the eastern entrance to Thorpe Thewles (i.e. Wynyard Road) village in 1986. It now bears the village's name plate together with a small bronze dedication and commemorative plate to the memory of the once famous viaduct. 

(Photograph courtesy of Mr. T.W. Allison)

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