Thornaby Station Approach

t15253Although this photograph was probably taken in the mid-eighties, I don’t remember it being very different from when I used to commute to the various Dorman Long sites around South Bank, Cleveland Works and Warrenby, although at that tine Warrenby was run by BISRA (British Iron and Steel Research Association). What was the Embassy Club and was there any special reason for the pedestrian overbridge?

Photograph and details courtesy of Fred Starr.

16 thoughts on “Thornaby Station Approach

  1. Does anyone know why Thornaby train station is so close to Stockton train station?
    Wouldn’t it be better if it was more central to Thornaby?

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    • OP: Does anyone know why Thornaby train station is so close to Stockton train station? Wouldn’t it be better if it was more central to Thornaby?

      To answer this question one would need to know that for centuries Stockton was the principal port and destination point on the River Tees, Thornaby was called Old Stockton and Middlesbrough was a small village with only 35 residents. When it was built in 1882, Thornaby Railway Station was called the South Stockton Railway Station. From 1829 onwards, Thornaby new town was being extended around the Mandale Road, George Street and Five Lamps area from its base point in Trafalgar Street and Pottery Bank. The new 1960 central Thornaby (I’m assuming you mean here the shops and houses built on the RAF Aerodrome land) did not exist. Whats interesting is when in 1846, the Stockton to Thornaby to Middlesbrough railway line commenced trading, the first train on it was Locomotion 1, Robert Stephenson famous 1825 Darlington to Stockton and now Middlesbrough train, which means it went through Thornaby regularly.

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  2. This bridge was very popular in its day, and well used. From Mandale Road, there was three access ways from Mandale Road to the Trafalgar Street, Chapel St, Britannia Street and Hanover Street area, with this bridge being the quickest on foot. It had a small slip-way road leading down from it, to the station booking office and taxi rank. No one’s mentioned that the Trafalgar Street area was known throughout Thornaby as “Over-the-Steps”. The original ‘Steps’, was situated about 100 yards away on the Bridge Road bend, they were narrow, steep and five foot wide, or thereabouts. Further on from the Steps, there was the main road entrance into, and for exiting Trafalgar Street. In practice Thornaby railway station was the main station for Stockton-on-Tees, the O bus stop was near the Town Hall, and just 3 bus stops away was Stockton High Street, or a 750 yards walk? (viz: Thornaby Town Hall, St Johns Crossing, Parliament Street, the High Street).

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  3. I now realise that there was a difference. The brick wall on the left had side of the picture had been taken down and replaced by railings. Whether this was because the wall was in poor condition (maybe it had been damaged by a truck) or some other reason I am not sure.

    The some other reason may have been the installation of “four aspect” coloured light signals, the installation needing access from the ramp. If so when was this done?

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  4. I may be wrong, but I think the Embassy Club was a Public House. The footbridge was there to get workers over the railway, down Brittannia Street to Steel Works & Offices. Also there was quite a community of people, families, houses &streets, pubs.

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  5. Yes the Embassy club was a small working men’s club. The footbridge was for workmen and women to get out of the Head Wrightsons works without going all the way round to the road in near Victoria Bridge

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  6. This footbridge does provide a vital link. It provides a interchange link between the long distance Arriva Max X 12 (Express) Bus services which stops on Station Street (running between Middlesbrough, Stockton, Sedgefield and Durham) and Thornaby station where trains to Manchester airport run from every 30 minutes. Oddly enough its one of the few sensible CLOSE Bus – Car to Train interchanges on Teesside as none exist at Stockton, Middlesbrough, Billingham stations without long walks or very expensive car park charges. Indeed it appears that Thornaby station now provides a vastly superior service and facilities compared to the lamentable Stockton station.

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  7. The pedestrian over bridge gave ready access to the station from both sides of the tracks. I am a little surprised that my birthplace of “down below the railway” has been so readily forgotten. This once thriving community served the needs of industry especially Head Wrightsons and the bridge was not only a way to the station but also the most direct route to the shops on Mandale Road. Some of my earliest memories are of walking from Britannia Street to St Patrick’s school and walking with my parents to catch the train to Whitby for our annual holiday, this bridge featured large as the border to the outside world.

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  8. The footbridge allows access for passengers from the small parking area on Railway Terrace (outside the club) and Station Street in the Teesdale area, without having to walk down to Victoria Bridge.

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  9. In my misguided youth, I never went to the Embassy Club, but having worked for on the east end of Thornaby station (in the British Rail Civil Engineer’s Dept. Area office where the signalbox used to be, before Tees Yard was built) from 1967-71, I can say that this footbridge crossed: the Up Main (platform for the Darlington services) behind the fence, the station access road, then – out of site on the RHS – the Down Main (platform for Middlesbrough/ Saltburn services, then the Up & Down Goods lines.

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  10. The Embassy club was a small ‘workingmens’ club. And was packed or at least very busy on the few times I had been there. I remember the first time I saw Chubby Brown there in the early eighties.
    As for the footbridge I have no idea as it does seem pointless.

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