Sunday, 28 July 2019

Station Insight - Teesside Airport

If you have ever travelled on the Tees Valley line either in real life or in Train Simulator, there is a fairly good chance you have never stopped at Teesside Airport. In fact, if you did get off there on a scheduled service, you would be in for a shock because the next train to stop there would be a week later in the same direction! Quite the reduction when you consider that the Summer 1986 timetable I have in front of me suggests the majority of all services on the line called there!

142016 slows for a station call at Teesside Airport in the days when there were several services scheduled to stop.

The station at Teesside Airport is a bit of a celebrity in the media, for such a small backwater it receives a great deal of coverage. One reason for this is the lack of services to call there, it recently went from one service in either direction per week to one solitary service on a Sunday. Another reason is the lack of patronage, the station has consistently featured in the bottom 5 stations for usage in the whole country. The location is often also spoken about, the station is located a kilometre from the airport terminal it was designed to serve so anyone alighting there with luggage to catch a flight would find themselves in for quite the shock!

The Tees Valley line was historically well used for diversions, here a Cross Country service passes.

It's another quirk that the airport itself was renamed to Durham Tees Valley Airport in 2004 but the station retained it's old name. At this time the airport was experiencing an upsurge in passenger usage - nearly 1 million passengers in 2006 - but the station didn't receive any service increase to reflect this, it was actually deemed more suitable to run a shuttle bus from Darlington station. Incidentally, the airport itself has recently reverted to it's original name so once again the airport and station identify with each other.

After carrying Prince Charles to a series of engagements around Teesside, 67006 leads the Royal Train.

The future of the station has always been a point of debate but the small token service has remained due to the lengthy and costly process required to formally close the station. The writing seems to now be on the wall with the reduction in service to one train per week and the announcement that both the footbridge and platform 2 are to be removed due to them being deemed unsafe. 

156448 races through the station. Note the scaffolding now in place to help support the decaying footbridge.
The beauty of Train Simulator is that we can still drive the line in a range of time periods, whether that is through the late 1980's when the station had a frequent service or in the present day when you are unlikely to drive a service that calls there. If the station does vanish completely, we can then also drive past what would be a piece of history.

To represent different time periods at Teesside Airport, era-specific signage is distributed with the North East England route and is available for you to use and distribute in your own scenarios, full instructions are provided as part of the current version of the route which can be downloaded by clicking here. Further revisions and expansions of this system will also be introduced in the next version of the route to make stations look even more different, as an example Teesside Airport will feature scaffolding on the bridge but only in more recent times.


  1. I remember going to Teesside Airport back in 2016 as part of a semi-small group (28 people) on a short day out to the station, which the BBC called it a "protest", but it was a fun little day out with members of the Stockton and Darlington Railway Youth Team and members of the Royal Society of St George.

    Here is a link to the small article -

    1. I remember reading about it at the time. I also remember the picture of you all on the platform and wondering how the thing hadn't collapsed, especially following the scaremongering given out about how unsafe it all was when they decided trains couldn't call there for the airshow!