Staindrop is a small village in County Durham that has lived in the shadow of Raby Castle since the 1390s. The population remained fairly constant throughout the 20th century. There wasn’t much in the way of industry, as the two quarries to the east were much too elevated to make a railway viable. It was flanked by railways – the Stainmore Route to the south and the Barnard Castle-West Auckland line to the north.
On paper, Staindrop didn’t offer much to the railway promoter, and that’s why it was never connected to the railway network. But that hasn’t stopped Chris Robertson from imagining what it might have looked like if the Stockton & Darlington Railway, or its successors, had decided to build a line there.
“I was brought up in County Durham and could hear trains on the route of the Stockton & Darlington Railway from my house,” Chris recalls, “so my interest has always been focused on the North East region.
“Initially, I looked at the branch termini at Wearhead and Middleton‑in‑Teesdale, but these both had extensive track layouts so a significant amount of compromise would have been necessary.
“It occurred to me to build a ‘what might have been’ layout, based on Staindrop. It would be the conclusion of an imagined branch splitting from the main line at Shildon on the route of the original S&DR, and because there isn’t a prototype I could build it however I liked.”
You can read the full article in Model Rail 263 - Out Thursday July 11th!