John Speller's Web Pages Alnwick & Cornhill Branches

John Speller's Web Pages - North Eastern Railway
Alnwick & Cornhill Branches North Eastern Horizontal Menu Untitled
Alnwick Branch

The Newcastle & Berwick Railway Act, which received the Royal Assent on 31 July 1845, included a 2 mile 60 chain branch from Alnmouth to Alnwick. The line opened for traffic on 5 August 1850. A new all-over-roof station was built at Alnwick in 1887, at the time when the Cornhill-on-Tweed to Alnwick branch opened. The Beeching Plan recommended closure of the line, leading to a long battle which culminated in withdrawal of passenger service on 29 January 1969, and goods service on 7 October 1969. The Aln Valley Railway is currently attempting to reopen the line as a Heritage Railway.

Cornhill Branch

The Alnwick to Cornhill branch was authorized by the North Eastern Railway (Additional Powers) Act of 19 May 1882. The 35 mile 40 chain line connected Alnwick with the Kelso to Tweedmouth branch at Cornhill-on-Tweed near Coldstream. The line opened to goods traffic between Cornhill and Wooperton on 2 May 1887, and the whole line opened to goods and passenger traffic on 2 May 1887. Unlike the Alnwick line, passenger traffic on the Cornhill line proved somewhat elusive, and the line was closed to passengers by the LNER as early as 22 September 1930. A serious storm on 12 August 1948 destroyed a bridge between Ilderton and Wooler and, since traffic did not warrant its rebuilding, the line was thereafter worked as two separate lines for goods traffic from Alnwick and Cornhill. Goods traffic on the southern half ceased on 2 March 1953, and on the northern half on 29 March 1965.

The two branches, plus the part of the North Eastern Railway's Kelso branch from Cornhill to Tweedsmouth, provided an additional emergency route between Alnmouth and Tweedsmouth, should the East Coast Main Line ever have been impassable.

Map showing the North Eastern Railway's Alnwick and Cornhill Branches
The fine all-over-roof station at Alnwick at the time of its opening in 1887
Postcard view of Alnmouth station looking south in around 1910. The Alnwick branch used the righthandmost platform face
Edlingham station in around 1905
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