– Hi, and welcome to another episode of Under Sugarloaf TV. Today, we are talking to John O’Donnell about the Holmesville Railway Station and the associated rail network that went from West Wallsend, Holmesville, Barnsley, Killingworth, right through to Cockle Creek. So, let’s go ahead and talk to John now.
– Yes, this is the old station at Holmesville. That would have been the platform. The brick work’s still there. This area has changed so much as well. That road over there goes to, after the shaft as we call it, which was Seaham number two, that’s the back road to Killy. And the road, actually that’s the Westy road back to Westy, but there was a road over the bridge to Earl Street, that was the service road for people from Holmesville to drive out or walk out to, Seaham number two mine to work. But the place is so overgrown from when I was a kid. On the bend over there, that was the swimming hole, which was a really good swimming hole in the Creek, of course it’s not there now, and the old broken bridge is well and truly gone now. But the area to the right of me over there, there was all, when I was a kid, there was disused garden mounds, and dad told me that that’s where Wally Weymouth used to grow his vegetables to sell in the shop. And further over on the other side of the Creek, there was a mud house. Where me mate Paul Cameron lived, the Chinese built it, way back and they had a Chinese garden over there. I was told to me by my parents a long time ago. But, everything’s changed so much, when I was a kid.
– [Jon] So, John you said the train station here on the side we’re standing on would have been, say, the platform area?
– Well, I’m not sure now because I don’t know whether train was on this side or that side, but that was definitely the platform where, the train would come up this side. And you step out and there’d be a wooden platform there or to be on this side. it was like that, when I was a kid, there was no train line. I think there may have been still steel there really early in the piece but just down around the bend, about 300 meters it takes a turn and the row of the train line from Seaham number two used to come in on it, And they’d join up to go down to Barnsley. This one went back through the West Wallsend, service the town and also the coal mine.
– [Jon] So, where the bend was just up about 300 meters ahead. If you went straight through would go through to Killingworth, is that right?
– No, no, that was a separate line again. This line would come from West Wallsend take the bend around and the Seaham number two line would come parallel with the Rifle Range that had come along and join in. Then the single line would then go down along the Barnsley straight over the bridge they had there and a turn into the left towards Cockle Creek. Then the train line from West Wall, or sorry, Killingworth number one would come in and join in on it That all get on the same line. I remember the Killingworth line running, when I was a kid, dad was the fireman on the train. And Saturdays, when I wasn’t going to school, If he worked I would go out there with him and… ride the train to Cockle Creek.
– [Jon] And you said that along the line, the gate keepers, you know they used to throw them coal.
– Yeah, there was a set of gates where they used to be a big mound on the Rhonda Road. There was a set of gates there, when I was a kid. And I think the people that lived there name was Cherry. I think dad said Mrs. Cherry lived there. Because he used to have big toppers of coal in the fire cab and the cab of the train and it would slow down to go through the gates. And as it slowed down, dad would throw the coal over the fence and she’d be standing there saying, thanks Reg. I can remember it like, it was yesterday. And I was only probably five to six years old. I think West Wall, Killingworth number one shut in about 1958. I think, around that era. Dad was a fireman in there, he’s worked on the trains as a fireman. Also he worked in, the… The boilers because everything ran on steam. He was there with me, uncle George O’Donnell
– [Jon] And John, the purpose of this station?
– Well, it would have only been for people to get on and off the train. There was a domestic service on the train line apparently as well as… Coal haulage.
– [Jon] Very good. Well, thank you for that. John has some more interesting information about the local area that unfortunately is slowly getting lost to the Bush, but for those that are interested yeah, as you call it, the back road,
– The Back road to Killingworth
– [Jon] Then back to Killingworth, is where you will find the location of this old station remnant. Thanks again John.
– Thanks, mate.
– Well, we hope you enjoyed that episode of Under Sugarloaf TV. Remember, if you have any news, any articles any events, or even any charitable organizations that you would like to give some exposure to on the channel, just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can go directly to the website at undersugarloaf.com and in the top right hand corner you will see the contribute tab where you can enter the information you wish to provide to give us the resources to help you with the video. So, that is it for today. This is Jon Byrne signing off for Under Sugarloaf TV.