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REALLY SideTracked - Washington Traditional Geocache

This cache has been archived.

G4Shallow: A local home owner has complained about its location so archiving.

Hidden : 05/05/2015
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1.5 out of 5

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Geocache Description:

This cache is placed on the site of the former Washington railway station

From the coordinates if you walk into the middle of the new footpath and look left, the station would have been in front of you

In February 1863 the route through Washington was still the main line between Newcastle, York and London. The station never enjoyed a frequent train service. Even in 1863 the long gaps in the afternoon service will be noted, as will the absence of morning rush hour Newcastle-bound trains. Only on Saturdays was there a northbound departure before 9.00 am, and this was for passengers travelling to the market in Newcastle. On Sundays in February 1863 there were four up and three down departures from Washington station.

By 1911 the NER estimated that the population served by Washington station had reached 7,297, and in that year 60,760 tickets were booked. A complex network of sidings stretched behind the up platform, and these had branches into the nearby factories. The goods shed backed onto the up platform. In 1904 the RCH Hand-book of railway stations lists no fewer than 18 facilities with sidings at Washington and notes that the station could handle the standard range of goods traffic and that it possessed a one-ton crane. NER records for 1913 show that the principal goods handled were bricks, iron and steel, composition and livestock: composition was a pitch-like substance for cementing ducts, used in electrical work.

By summer 1957 the early morning train to Barnard Castle had ceased to call at Washington, and from September 1960 the Saturday-only northbound departure was discontinued. It came as no surprise that the Reshaping of British Railways ('Beeching') report of March 1963 recommended the closure of the Newcastle - Washington service which, by then, consisted of one Monday-to-Friday morning arrival at 8.56 and an afternoon departure at 5.33. The timetable indicated that staff were in attendance when both of these train called, whilst neighbouring Usworth had ceased to be staffed in 1959. Almost every other line or station closure proposal drew objections, but no-one came to the rescue of Washington which consequently had the distinction of being the first post-Beeching closure on 9 September 1963. Goods services continued until 7 December 1964.

The up platform and its buildings had disappeared by 1968, but the down platform, minus its edge-stones, remained in place with its brick building. The station has now been entirely demolished.

It is ironic that within a year of losing its trains, on 24th July 1964 Washington was designated a New Town. The planned 5,300 acre (2,200 hectare) development now has a population of over 50,000 and is one of the largest towns in the United Kingdom not to be served by rail. Consideration has been given to including it in the Tyne & Wear Metro system, using the former Old Main Line or on a heavy rail reinstatement of the line - which has recently been lifted after over 20 years mothballing. However the problem that the two previous Washington stations had of being inconveniently sited for the town would still apply if a new station is provided on the Old Main Line route: the new town has been built almost entirely to the west of the railway, so the placing of the station would, once again, be peripheral. Only by being developed as a park-and-ride facility could it hope to provide a worthwhile service for the town.

From the coordinates if you walk into the middle of the new footpath and look left, the station would have been in front of you

The text above is taken from the Washington station page over at the Disused Stations site and is used with the permission of Alan Young.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Jurer sraprf zrrg, zntargvp

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)