Benton and Forest Hall Railway Stations

One winter’s day the travellers were so cosy in the waiting room that they were unaware of the train having stopped, and then moved on!

At Benton the stationmaster lived in the Station House and he was also the local coal merchant.  There was a ticket office and there was always a porter on duty.  There were extra trains at peak times.  The pedestrian bridge was much easier to climb than it is today.  (A new bridge was built, perhaps higher, for the Metro trains with trolley wires.)  There was a 20 minute service, very regular, and we wheeled our prams across the track on a crossing at the end of the platforms.

In winter there was a fire in the waiting room, all very cosy, and it was reported in the Evening Chronicle that one winter’s day the travellers were so cosy in the waiting room, conversing etc, that they were unaware of the train having stopped, and then moved on.  (Perhaps the porter was in the waiting room too.)

Some Blyth trains stopped at Benton.  They were old-fashioned steam trains, wonderful for small boys.  There was also a train for Morpeth, which stopped at Benton.

Forest Hall station was quite busy.  I remember a Sunday School trip from the Methodist Church joining the train there, and returning after tea time.  Many people came home from work for lunch on the train.  There was no flexi time just 1 hour off and sometimes 1½ hours.  There were season tickets, which meant travel cost these people nothing extra.  Of course, wives were at home making the lunches.

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